Ideas for a Fun, Cost-Effective Halloween

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Hey Taylor - I’m trying to keep Halloween fun for my kids - 9 and 11 - and feel like I’m running out of ideas. All I can think of is buying an expensive costume and that’s the last thing I want to do for one night of trick or treating. Any ideas for a fun, cost-effective Halloween? - Marsha

Hey Marsha - These holidays can get a little complicated, can’t they? You don’t want to keep setting the bar higher each year and wasting too much money, but you still want each outing to be special. I do have a few ideas learned from past Halloweens. Maybe one of these options will inspire you and also save you a little time and cash.

1. Create a costume. Most years, my kids tell us what they want to be: a vampire, a zebra, a mad scientist, whatever they hear about at school and decide is the costume for them. If you go this route, you usually end up throwing down for whatever you can find on Amazon or at the local costume barn. An alternate approach is to either raid your own closet or go to the thrift store and ask your kiddos to piece together their own outfit. You might end up with some outrageously mismatched attire, but some kids really love having the authority to pick out their own clothes and creating a character. Coming up with a costume based on what’s available teaches kids valuable lessons about being resourceful while still letting them have fun.

2. Host a candy swap. The end of the night can be a real downer, as kids crash from sugar and the passing of such a highly anticipated day. To draw out the festivities, have other kids over a night or two after Halloween to trade candies (and other collectibles if they want). With two things to look forward to instead of just one, it takes a little pressure off October 31st and doesn’t require any extra planning or spending. If the kids want to throw on their costumes a second time, they can have at it.

3. Pumpkins forever. The fun of making a jack-o-lantern lasts well into adulthood, so don’t think your kids are tired of carving pumpkins. If interest wanes, it might just be time to shake things up a little and carve something new. You can get four pumpkins, carve a “B” in one, “O”s in two and an “!” in the fourth, spelling out “BOO!” There’s no shortage of games to play with pumpkins and, aside from the cleanup, it’s not too costly.

If you set some loose guidelines instead of caving to your kids' whimsy, you can have lots of fun and not feel put out. Have fun Marsha and if you find yourself with extra Reese's this year, send them my way :)