Halloween is around the corner – that wonderful holiday where little princesses, monsters, rock stars and superheroes roam the neighborhood in search of their favorite treats. When compared to the cooking of Thanksgiving and the shopping of Christmas, Halloween might seem like a relatively “low effort” holiday, but between the school parties, candy, costumes and trick-or-treating, it’s nice to save a little time (and money) where you can. Here are some simple suggestions to make the most of this ghoulish holiday.
Costumes are the crux of any great Halloween and most children’s biggest decision once fall rolls around. But while just about anything will earn you a piece of candy these days (we’re looking at you teenagers, who ring the doorbell in no costume at all…), all costumes are not created equal. There are a few elements to consider when choosing the perfect costume:
- Practicality. Costumes have come a long way in recent years, from head-to-toe spandex body suits to giant inflatable sumo wrestlers….but if your child is allowed to wear his or her costume to school, bear in mind that he or she must also be able to sit in a desk, see the teacher, and make it to and from the bathroom in a reasonable time frame (this last one is important whether they wear the costume to school or not!) Watch for length too – anything dragging on the ground is a tripping hazard.
- Cost. It’s true there’s not much cuter than an elaborate fairy or princess costume, and we’ve seen some that cost as much as prom dresses. But if you live where the weather is cold, that princess will likely spend 90% of her Halloween wrapped up in a winter coat (and possibly a hat and gloves), which means no one will even see the costume. And take it from us – fairy wings simply won’t work with a winter coat. On the other hand, if your little one loves dress-up and will want to play with the costume for months to come, investing in a higher-quality costume may be worth the spend.
- Creativity. It doesn’t take a domestic diva to create a great homemade Halloween costume. Consider gluing white felt “teeth” and googly eyes onto a grey hooded sweatshirt for an instant shark costume. Have an extra red shirt or dress lying around? Add some black fabric circles and a headband for an adorable lady bug. Get creative and use old clothing and craft items you have around the house.
- Accessorize. We’ve found it’s often the costume accessories that most excite little ones. They seem to care less about the ‘outfit’ they have on, and more about the face paint, hair spray color or body glitter they’re allowed to wear. Save money by skipping the high-end costume and instead allow them to get a little wild with funky hair color and face paint – they will be thrilled!
- Party Appropriate. If you have a child lucky enough to celebrate Halloween in school, keep in mind that most schools now have stringent rules on the type of costumes and treats that may be worn and brought in. Most schools will not allow overly gruesome costumes or weapon props, and many schools don’t allow masks or anything else that covers a child’s face or head. In addition, many school costume parades are held outside, which makes the weather a factor if you live where it’s cold or excessively hot.
If a child’s primary Halloween question is “What am I going to be?”, then a parent’s is “What are we going to do with all this candy??” Here are a few cavity-avoiding suggestions on how best to handle those enormous bags of candy.
- Donate it. There are many great organizations that will collect extra Halloween candy and send it to those fighting overseas.
- “Sell” it. Some pediatric dental offices will buy back Halloween candy to help encourage healthy teeth habits, typically by the pound. Cash might be the one thing kids want more than candy!
- Bake it. Chocolate candy bars make an awesome addition to brownies and cookies. Yes, this strategy doesn’t exactly save the calories or cavities, but baked goods can be shared with friends and neighbors to help spread the load.
- Repurpose it. Pieces of candy make excellent craft supplies. Rolls of hard candies look just like caterpillars, lollipops can be wrapped in tissue to make cute little ghosts, and almost any candy can be saved to decorate a holiday gingerbread house.
From haunted houses and scary movies to jack-o-lanterns and trick-or-treating, Halloween can be fun for all ages. Enjoy all the adorable costumed-kid pictures that are about to take over social media… And have a happy and safe Halloween!
Do you have any Halloween tips, tricks or traditions you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them! Use the comments section of this blog or post your thoughts to the S.O.S® Facebook page. Don’t forget to follow S.O.S® on Pinterest and Instagram, too!