What comes to mind when you think about Halloween? Perhaps you imagine piles of candy, clusters of kids dressed up in costumes, a creepy haunted house, big round pumpkins, or screechy witches.
Kids often have two things on their mind: costumes and candy.
Kids love this day, and some adults hate this particular holiday. Whichever side of the fence you fall on, make the most of Halloween this year!
Try out one of these ideas to be the best house on the block on Halloween night! It doesn’t take much money or effort, but a little time will go a long way.
- Your kids will love how popular your house is.
- Your neighbors will appreciate your neighborly efforts.
- Your friends will remember that your house is the house…and will definitely return next year.
- Your family will make special memories together!
The history of Halloween
First, let’s reminisce about the origin of this black-and-orange holiday. Believe it or not, Halloween historically dates back to liturgical Christian calendars as a way to remember the dead or pray for souls in purgatory. Some also credit Halloween to Celtic harvest festivals with pagan roots.
The word Halloween actually means holy evening. While it’s no longer celebrated for those purposes, it is still a large event in our modern culture.
How to be the best house on the block on Halloween night!
Host the pre-party
Every Mama has trouble encouraging her kids to eat a full (and semi-healthy) dinner before it’s time to get dressed for trick-or-treating. Why not gather all of your neighbors together for a pre-party?
A basic potluck or pizza party are excellent options. Just remember, it needs to be kid-friendly food, because they will have two things on their mind: costumes and candy.
Don’t forget to keep it simple: paper plates, disposable water bottles, and quick food that kids can gobble down before the sun dips below the horizon.
Turn your lights on and keep your door open
“Duh” you’re probably thinking. But sometimes the obvious things must be stated.
It’s commonly known that if your porchlight is on, you’re home and ready for trick-or-treaters to come knocking on your door.
Keep your porch light on. Better yet, replace the bulb with a blacklight for a spooky feel!
Weather permitting, keep your door open or be looking out the window for the candy-crazy kids.
Give away the good treats
Everyone can buy the basic package of mini Dum Dums or Tootsie Rolls. But children have a keen memory when it comes to revisiting the houses who gave out the most memorable treats. Which means they are more likely to show up on your doorstep if you have a special treat. Try one of these unique ideas:
- Give away bags of chips (especially Ranch Doritos or Cheetos).
- Pass out popcorn or pretzels.
- Be the people who give out full-sized candy bars. (Too expensive? Give a full-sized candy bar to one kid in each group, and mini candies to the rest. They will still remember you next year!)
- Offer hot chocolate, apple cider, or coffee to the parents.
- Better yet, share healthy food with the parents (like Kind Bars or Lara Bars).
- Make sure to offer allergy-free options. Have baskets with gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free treats as well.
- Hit up the Dollar Store for small toys. Little toddlers may prefer toys to treats. Consider princess jewelry, balls, and anything that glows in the dark.
- As a matter of fact, older kids and teenagers also love things glow in the dark. Pick up a jumbo pack of glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces. (Hint: Try the Dollar Store.)
- Note: Purchase individual packages. Many parents do not let their children eat homemade treats for fear of poison.
Give your neighbors a reason to stick around
On Halloween, your neighbors come say hello for five seconds, ask for candy, and then leave. That sounds like terrible hospitality! Give them a reason to stick around!
- Place fun music. Bonus for Halloween-themed soundtracks!
- Get a campfire going. People will linger here if the night is cool.
- Offer free s’mores.
- Rent an inflatable, or multiple inflatables (one for little kids, one for big kids, and one for adults). This is a great idea for each house on a cul-de-sac or street to chip in!
- Have a free hot chocolate, apple cider, or coffee station.
- Put a sign on your front porch that says “Bathroom available.” You know parents of little ones will take advantage of this, and it gives you an opportunity to meet your neighbors!
Have a pumpkin carving or decorating contest
This idea is perfect for your family, extended family, neighbors, friends, or co workers. Pumpkins are quintessentially associated with Halloween, so host a pumpkin carving contest! Depending on the crowd, you could also transform this into a pumpkin painting party.
Start the clock and let everyone know how long they have to carve their pumpkin. After the time is up, give everyone a slip of paper to vote for their favorite pumpkin. Award the winner a pumpkin-themed award (pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice latte, etc.).
Whether you host a pre-trick-or-treat dinner for your neighbors, give away extra special treats, set-up a hot cocoa bar, or run a pumpkin carving contest, enjoy your Halloween! Dress up with your kids, savor the magic of trick-or-treating, and don’t eat too much candy.