16 October 2007

Send in your Halloween hacks!

277432493 0775C1Db4D MT-minus 15 days and counting! Halloween's on its way. You've got the costumes made, the candy purchased, the decorations up...

PSHAW!

But of course you don't! Halloween is the ideal occasion for Parenthackers. Improvise costumes! Buy candy at the last minute! Carve a couple pumpkins and call your house decorated! I'm not sure when Halloween became the official start of the it-must-be-perfect holiday season, but I'm having none of it. Halloween is about kids dressing up, trick-or-treating, and having fun. What could be simpler than that?

In that spirit, let's swap some good Halloween hacks. Costume ideas? Cheap, quick decor? Pumpkin carving tricks? Trick-or-treating tips? Methods for getting rid of the candy? Send your tips to hacks@parenthacks.com and I'll post them as we approach the big night.

As inspiration, here are some excellent Halloween hacks from the archives:

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I'm a big fan of the improvised costume. our kids mostly have dress-up stuff for imaginative play already, right? Why not use that plus some clothes for Hallowe'en? Her first real year, she wore a pink shirt and pants with a tutu from dress-up (it's too chilly here for just tights), plus pink shoes to be a ballerina. Last year was a builder in jeans, a fleece vest, and her hard hat and tool belt from dress-up. This year, a longer dress, party shoes, and a princess hat from dress-up will make her a princess, with the judicial adding of some pink bows. Costumes don't have to be over-the-top to be pretty effective. Plus, it's way cheaper this way!

As to trick-or-treating, for these younger years, we are having her help with the shelling out and just taking her to a few houses of people we know on the block. That way she gets a little flavour of Hallowe'en, but it's not overwhelming, it's not so scary, and she doesn't get mountains of candy.

On the "buy your kids' candy" front, I have a necessary hack for parents of allergic kids. We have severe nut allergies in our family, so the boys know they are not allowed to eat ANY candy on Halloween without my knowledge. I make sure to buy a bag of candy ahead of time and hide it.

As soon as we get home from Trick-Or-Treating, they go into the kitchen with my husband and I hide in our bedroom, sorting all the candy.

Anything unwrapped or creepy gets tossed out; anything with nuts or peanut butter is hidden in a bag to distribute at work. Then, I very sneakily sort the candy so that each boy gets the same things. (They're 7 and 5, and haven't wised up yet.) So if there are two Kit Kats and four pieces of bubblegum, each kid gets a Kit Kat and two pieces of gum, etc. If the nut content was particularly high, I supplement their bags with the stuff I'd bought in advance.

The boys are allowed to each select, say, three items to eat on Halloween night. After that, their bags are put out of reach, and every night they're going to have dessert, they can choose something from their bags. Since they each end up having almost the exact same contents, I have much less jealousy over the treats!

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