A favorite from my personal Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween photo collection!
I don’t think Halloween is any scarier than when I was a kid, but I know I certainly stress more now that I’m a mom! But now, moreso than when I grew up, there are community alternatives to traditional trick or treat. And even if your neighborhood doesn’t participate in one of the cool alternatives, borrow one of these and make it your own!
Trunk or Treat
These are popping up all over the place in this area! I see quite a few Church groups and community organizations opening up their parking lots to parishioners to come and hand out trick or treats from the trunks of their cars! The theory here is that you are usually with people you know from your church or neighborhood community group, so you know who your kids get candy from. Some folks go all out with car decorations, but others just stand there with a bucket of candy to hand out. It’s great fun – and especially for little ones, who don’t want to walk up and down steps, it’s an easier method of trick or treating.
This seems like a no-brainer, but t
ry convincing kids who have visions of sacks full of Hershey bars and Skittles that they should stay inside for Halloween. The best way to do this is to ask each family that brings a kid to bring a bag of candy. You can set up trick or treat stations around your house and in your yard with a game of some kind at each station. For each game completed, the kids get a piece of candy. Alternatively, set up a night of watching scary movies and games, and while the kids are watching movies, make up treat bags to hand out as they leave using the candy the everyone brought!
Treat the Elderly
Check nursing homes or assisted living facilities in your area – or even senior citizen apartment complexes. For many of these grandmas and grandpas, it’s a huge treat to see the little ones dressed in costumes! Many nursing homes permit trick or treating in common areas, and the residents are happy to hand out candy and comment on how cute the kids are!
Theme Parks – Not Just for Summer Anymore
You don’t have to live in Orlando or be traveling to Walt Disney World for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to check out theme park Halloween festivities. Many theme parks – even those that close when the weather gets cold – have some Halloween festivities. Many have trick or treat stations set up for the kids to gather goodies, plus you may find Halloween themed shows or characters. In my area, there are Halloween events at Six Flags Great Adventure; Hershey Park; Dorney Park; and even down the shore!
You could even organize a street fair for your neighborhood; a party at your kids’ school (complete with Halloween parade); or pitch in with a bunch of family and rent out a community center for a big family Halloween bash. Just remember to have lots of treats, lots of games, and lots of fun!
It’s an excuse for our children to eat all the stuff we warn them not to eat 11 months out of the year. In my house, I’m usually tossing out the Halloween loot at Christmas, when all the Christmas loot comes into the house. No one needs this much candy!
When I was a kid, we had a couple of houses that used to toss pennies in our trick or treat bags. We hated those houses. I mean, as kids, you don’t realize that if every house you went to tossed a few pennies in your bag, you could buy yourself a record (round, black vinyl, made musical sounds, predated CDs and MP3s) or a pair of sneakers (without a basketball player’s name etched into them). We just knew that it wasn’t candy, and because it was usually only a couple of house that threw us the change, we couldn’t even get a decent comic book.
But now, the options are virtually endless if you want to give kids something a little less cavity inducing. And the things you’ll find won’t break the bank – even if you are the most popular house on the block!
1 – Fast Food gift certificates – I hear you already – a groan just went up, and half of you said something nasty about me under your breath. Is she crazy? Let’s worry about our kids’ weight and teeth and not give them candy. Let’s give them fat and calories instead! I’m not crazy. Alright, I am crazy, but hear me out on this one. The gift certificates (which you can get 10 for $1 from places like Wendy’s) are good for a kid sized Frosty or a small pack of french fries, depending where you go. There’s nothing wrong with a small treat now and again, and the fact that your kids will have their own “money” to pay for it with their gift certificates will make them feel important. It’s much better to splurge on a small bag of fries as an afternoon snack than to gorge on choclates and sugar for a month after Halloween.
2 – Mini PlayDoh – My kids love PlayDoh, and the youngest at age 6 can easily get an hour out of a single color in one sitting. You’ll find mini PlayDoh packs at party stores, warehouse club stores, and even at places like Target. No fat, no calories, tons of fun.
3 – Snack size bags of, well, Snacks – Practically every store you go into that has a Halloween display will have some sort of non-candy snack alternative. You’ll find small packages of gold fish crackers, pretzels, fruit rolls, popcorn, and granola bars. I love to get these treats as much as the kids do, because I throw them into lunch boxes in the days after Halloween – like an extension of the day itself! I also don’t mind having this kind of treat left over at the end of Halloween night. These are healthier options that kids love and eat every day anyway – just in fun shapes or cool Halloween packages!
4 – Halloween goodie bags – Who doesn’t love a goodie bag? Yeah, I know, the moms who have to clean up the little toys and wrappers from the goodie bag – but we’re talking kids here! You’ll find loads of tiny treats at the dollar stores or at Target that you can put into a treat bag for just a few cents. There are pencils, Halloween shaped erasers, spider rings, temporary tattoos, stickers, vampire teeth and eye ball super balls. You might even find small Halloween themed note pads, post-its, and the popular vampire teeth. Toss them all into cellophane bags, and you’ll have an awesome treat!
5 – Bubbles! Gotta love bubbles. Have you been to weddings, where in an effort to save the planet the bride and groom give little bottles of bubbles to blow instead of throwing rice? Well, you can find those little bottles of bubbles in Halloween colors! Sure to be the hit of the treat bag, these are usually sold in cartons of about 24 pieces.
6 – Sugar Free Gum – This is about as close to actual candy as you can get without treating with actual candy. There are plenty of options for sugar free bubble gum, which is a sweet treat without the sugar and calories.
Think twice before you give treats that might cause allergies – like those with peanuts in them; and if you are going to do the tiny treats, have something on hand that you can give to your younger trick or treaters. Some of the small things can be a choking hazard.
All of this is stuff that your own kids will use if you have left overs, and you won’t really mind if they do. I’m confident that if your kids bring home a bag of this kind of Halloween treat, you won’t have anything left to throw away at Christmas!
Yep, he managed to get me to drive him to the garden center and pick up a few last minute pumpkins.
And it turned into a shoot out at a bank. He wanted to find little white satchet bags and write giant black $$’s on them, but didn’t find them. And luckily for me, he didn’t find a bolt of white canvas either.
The comments from our trick or treaters? Awesome. They loved them all.
This is our gangster pumpkin. You can tell by the bad skin and bad teeth. Oh, and the weapon might be a clue as well.
Next year, I am either not giving him any pumpkins, or I am spending the months of September and October reading him fairy tales. Maybe next year instead of a massacre, we’ll have a happier, more Disney-fied theme on our front walk.
My friend Amanda posted on her Facebook this morning that she still had to get her son a costume; buy candy; carve pumpkins; and decorate for Halloween. Realizing that I myself would probably still need to do those things if I hadn’t already done them while trying to avoid doing Math homework, I figured there were probably lots of moms like Amanda out there, clinging on to the last shreds of October, hoping to get the whole Halloween ball rolling before Thanksgiving comes crashing down. Here are my last minute, save mom’s sanity, tips for Halloween:
Seriously, do you think Martha Stewart’s house is done up all with scary skeletons, spooky spider webs, and disgusting dismembered corpses all over the front lawn? No, of course not. The woman is the epitome of elegant style. Her house has beautiful mums, uncarved pumpkins, and maybe a couple of cornstalks. And guess what? Don’t plant the mums, and in front of your house, it will only take about 5 minutes to transform the place into something fall and fabulous!
This is an easy one to get out of. Kids love carved pumpkins. Moms hate carved pumpkin messes; promises of toasted pumpkin seeds that never get made, and then you finally discover around Valentine’s Day that the funky kitchen smell you’ve been smelling was the rotting seeds that fell behind the stove; and the seven hour trip to the emergency room when Dad cuts his finger half way off trying to make gnarly eyes. Tell your kids you’re getting them a Halloween treat, and run to Dunkin’ Donuts for Munchkins. On the way home, pick up a pumpkin pie. Tell the kids you tried to surprise them with a wicked awesome carved pumpkin, but your knife got away from you, and this is what you ended up with. Their mouths will be too full of doughnut to cry much, and when you serve the pumpkin pie for dessert, they’ll be too full of Halloween candy to eat it, much less lament the life it could have had as a Jack-o-lantern.
It’s Halloween, and most neighbors will expect you are out trick or treating with your own kids. If you run out now to buy candy, only the icky stuff is left, and the neighborhood kids don’t want that crap anyway. So put out an empty bowl on your front porch, with a sign that says “Take One, Please” attached. Other moms will come by and say, “Awww, she is so thoughtful to leave treats out for the kids, even though she couldn’t be here!” But when the kids see the empty bowl, they’ll immediately start cursing the kid who got there early and dumped all the treats into his own bag and moved on, leaving nothing for the rest of the trick or treaters.
No harm; no foul. Kids don’t need all that candy anyway, it’s not good for their teeth; and if you want to embellish, when another mom mentions how sad they were to see some rotten neighborhood kid emptied the candy bowl, tell them how sorry you were, but how fabulous the treats were! All fresh, homemade, and delicious!
And if you have late arriving kids, just throw out all the non-chocolate items in your own kids’ Halloween candy collection. Blech.
Last Minute Costumes
Have you got a dad? Raid his closet. You can go dressed as a hobo, because you know he’s got those “doing yard work clothes” you can throw on. You can go dressed as an over zealous sports fan, because he’s probably got 12,495 sports tees, baseball hats, and sweats. Or, you can wear a shirt and tie, which Dad probably hasn’t worn since he got married, and go dressed as Dad – only how he never looks.
Happy Stress Free Halloween, Moms!
Yep, eyeball sushi. The traditional Halloween treat from Japan. Could this stuff get any nastier?
She is having a hard time picking up the squishy gooey eyeballs with the chopsticks. I suggested she use her hands. Granuaile says “I’ll just stick the chopsticks inside the eyeballs to eat them. Gross.
Yes, they are as nasty and disgusting as they appear – they were tossed into the trash after this initial taste!
Along with the brain and eyeball “lo mein” noodles Eilis had.
So much for scaring my kids with Halloween treats – apparently, they are more scared of high fructose corn syrup, and refused to eat them!
Yes, another don’t do ___ with my husband post. This time it’s about poor innocent pumpkins and sweet Halloween children. The girls have waited a few days to paint and decorate their pumpkins. Jim helped them yesterday while I went to an appointment to be fingerprinted as a school volunteer.
He calls me on the phone and says “Anna come home right AWAY!”
I think panic, crisis, the end of days, he set the house on fire again (yes, he did it once already this year), or worse. “Whats the matter?”
“The girls won’t let me make scary pumpkins. I need you to go to the store and pick me up 3 pumpkins so I can have a massacre in front of our house.”
I hung up.
What did he do for our 2010 Halloween pumpkin decorations when left alone with the girls?
He helped Granuaile carve out this pretty face she drew. She didn’t want the guts removed because it was too much work.
He made Eilis clean it out herself. Something she wanted to do, and then not want to do after 5 minutes. But he kept her doing all the work and in the end she made a wonderful jack-o-lantern pumpkin. Congrats Eilis!
This is Jim’s pumpkin for me. It’s cute, sits on our steps, and just looks sweet.
Long white bones with the rest all gone
(Have you seen the ghost of John?)
Long white bones with the rest all gone)
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?
Have you seen the ghost of John?
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?)
Long white bones with the rest all gone
Have you seen the ghost of John?)
Long white bones with the rest all gone)
Wouldn’t it be chilly with no skin on?
Don’t forget to hold a flashlight under your chin and turn the lights on, or sing it outside at night on the front steps around your Halloween mums and pumpkins. Your children will remember it for their entire lives.