Halloween night brings out the exuberant trick-or-treater in all of us. But like a lot of other celebrations, it takes some effort to pull off well.
There are costumes to make or buy and pumpkins to carve, there is a house to decorate, candy to buy, goody bags to pull together and trick-or-treat schedules to coordinate. Happily, there's no reason to be scared of all the details. With just a few simple tricks, you can ensure your Halloween will be a howling success.
The Haunted House
I don't know about you, but as a child I loved being spooked by the imaginative haunted house tours my parents' friends would host on Halloween. My husband and I love to scare the next generation with a haunted house tour of our own, but we're both so busy it's getting more and more difficult to plan and create a really good one.
If you're like us and want to have your own house of horror but are frightened by the responsibility, team up with a small group of friends and rotate the haunted house year-to-year. Non-hosts support the hosts by pulling together their fair share of the gory details that will have the kids screaming with delight.
Nothing is scarier than waiting until the last minute to pick a costume and getting stuck with the unimaginative and ill-fitting dregs. Don't let a creativity-block get in your way this year. If you or your kids are stuck, have a family brainstorming session.
Grab a big pad of paper, or better yet, a giant Post-it pad and generate ideas as a family around the kitchen table after dinner. To get your creative juices flowing, you might try to come up with costume ideas by category such as “things that make me laugh,” “rock and roll,” “scary” and “pop culture.” And remember, no idea is a bad idea when you're brainstorming - just let your imaginations go and have fun.
The Big Night
Here are a few suggestions to consider while planning your night of tricks and treats.
The More the Scarier
Kids are so darn cute in their costumes that the ultimate horror is not capturing the evening's festivities on film. But even the best intentions may not win out once candy enters the equation. To ensure you properly get those little monsters on film, make an event out of it. Reach out to your friends and commit to starting the trick-or-treating at one person's house. Then before heading out, pretend your kids are on the red carpet and you're the paparazzi.
Better to Give and Receive
Just because you and your little goblins are out collecting treats, doesn't mean you can't give as well as receive. Avoid being that ‘one house' that doesn't give out candy by setting up a treat station by your front door. Instead of putting out loose candy for kids to pick and choose, purchase small paper loot bags, place two or three pieces of candy inside, and tie the bags closed with ribbon. Then place the bags in a bowl or plastic cauldron and cover the top with a few faux cobwebs. Kids will enjoy this trick to get to those treats.
Wind Down the Wild Things
Let's face it; even though nothing tops this night of fun, the combination of sugar, costumes and staying up late on a school night is a recipe for disaster! Help your little monsters wind down by getting them out of their costumes and make-up and into their pajamas as soon as you return home.
And although the kids will want to scarf down all their loot as soon as they can, place a definite limit on what they are allowed to eat.
Once they've had time to digest, dim the lights and end the night with a round of spooky story telling.