Last Minute Halloween Checklist

Scary, isn't it—how Halloween sneaks up on us? To help you celebrate this season of spooky fun, we've got party ideas that include creepy cakes, ghoulish recipes, scary (and not so scary) party activities, boo-tiful loot bag ideas for the little goblins and more.

After all the preparation, it’s still really easy to overlook some obvious (and helpful) last-minute details.

In the ‘spirit’ of this ghostly day, here are our suggestions:

  1. First, start with a ‘be ready to leave’ time—6 pm is good—and work back from there. Start your preparations at about 4:30 pm so you’re not in too much of a rush.
  2. Have your cameras charged and ready to go—you’ll want to record the big event.
  3. Have the front of the house ready to go. Clear the front lawn and walkway so there’s nothing the kids can trip over on the way up to the door (read: toys, hockey sticks, skateboards, rakes, etc).
  4. Make sure the walkway is well lit.
  5. Don’t be a stiff—find something to dress up in yourself. Try one of these last-minute costumes: Black Eyed Peas, Frizz-bee, Smartie Pants, Paper Bag Princess (use a leaf bag as a ‘dress’ over your regular clothing), Cereal Killer (attach a cereal box with a plastic knife sticking out of it onto your chest), Sports Player (use any equipment or team shirts in the house), Cowboy/girl, Pirate (use a bandana and eye patch)…Even a fun hat goes a long way.
  6. Have a stash of extra candles ready—flame-less tea light candles are great for kids, or regular tea light candles work as well.
  7. Fill the candy bowl up and have it ready at the front for any early trick or treaters.
  8. Don’t forget to feed them some dinner first. Have it made and ready by 5:15 pm. Don’t make anything messy (and we recommend the costumes are NOT on during the meal). Choose something you know they will eat even though they are so excited about the treats to come. It’s important to fill up with some real food before they go out. Suggestions: pizza, mac ‘n’ cheese, stuffed pitas, etc. If their stomachs are full, they’ll be less likely to snack on the treats in their bag that the parents haven’t checked first. If you have invited a crowd or relatives over, have something on the stove that others can help themselves to like chili.
  9. Before getting them out the door, make sure they go to the bathroom. This is especially important if they have an elaborate costume that needs to come off with help.
  10. Be sure to keep them warm—it will be about 9 or 10 degrees tonight, so have a few layers on before heading out.
  11. Take a kids’ wagon with you, and have an extra blanket and extra bag in tow. No one wants a broken bag leaking candy, and there’s nothing worse than a tired and cold meltdown on Halloween night—the wagon becomes a perfect (and cozy) ride home.
  12. Bring a flashlight—glow sticks can also be picked up at dollar stores.
  13. Hand out peanut-free treats
  14. Agree to a route plan and rules.

The Candy Plan

There lots of different ways to manage this:

  • Some people keep half the bag and donate the other half to charity (or stash away for themselves…)
  • Some try to stretch it out and hide the candy so the kids only eat a bit each day for about a month. This can work as eventually they will just forget about the huge bag and you can dispose of the candy.
  • Dentists recommend that you let them eat as much as they want tonight, and this week, and make sure they scrub their teeth. Then dispose of the remaining bits.
  • Get inspired—Melt down the chocolate and use for deserts. Use small pieces of candy like Skittles or Smarties as decorations for baking (read: Gingerbread Houses).

Whatever you choose to do, make sure you have a plan and the kids know the rules and guidelines before you leave the house.

Have a Happy (and safe) Halloween!


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