The Ultimate Scary Halloween Guide

Halloween gift guides

Curious about the history of Halloween? Wondering what costume to choose this year? Or maybe you have a party you want to get out of. This ultimate Halloween guide has all the information you are searching for.

Halloween Fun Facts

Halloween gift guides

According to the US Census Department, over 36 million American children (ages 5 to 13) will trick or treat door to door on Halloween night.

Many people in the United States carve pumpkins to light up on Halloween.  Chances are that you will be getting a pumpkin grown in Illinois unless you purchase one grown at a local farmer because Illinois leads in US pumpkin production by a huge margin. Consumers will use up over 1 billion pounds of pumpkin as jack o' lanterns, in pies or other ways just this year alone.

The nearly 2500 costume stores and rental shops across the US make dressing up for Halloween easy in fun. Kids and adults alike frequent these Halloween gift and costume shops to make this holiday one of the most popular in the United States.

The Origins of Halloween Trick or Treating

Halloween gifts

Halloween is my favorite holiday hands down.  One of my favorite things is having all the kids dressed up in their adorable costumes coming to our door saying 'Trick or Treat'.   We almost always go all out decorating our house for Halloween so the kids love venturing up the driveway just to see the decorations including the spiders on the doorbell and skeletons coming up from the ground.  They always know they'll get a good treat at our door too!  In fact, my husband is at Wal-Mart right now stocking up on Halloween candy.  Last year, we had nearly 300 kids stop by our door and I expect even more this year.

Apparently the tradition of dressing up in costumes and going door-to-door to beg for treats goes back to the Middle Ages.  The costumes are said to be a Celtic tradition which placates evil spirits.  The handing out of food originated in Britain and Ireland where poor people would go door-to-door on November 1st. They would be given food in exchange for their prayers for dead souls on November 2nd. This practice was known as 'Souling'.  The practice of trick or treating in America is believed to date back to the early 1900's and it became a more widespread activity in the 1930's.   Whatever the origins, I am glad that this is one tradition that has caught on for the long term.  Happy Halloween and be sure to check out these Halloween safety tips to keep your pets, children and yourself safe this year!

Halloween History

The Real History and Origins of Halloween

Halloween history

Halloween is a holiday that has always been soaked in myths, mystery, magic and urban legends. It's celebrated in several countries, but is most popular in the United States and Canada. And, it is probably one of the most misunderstood holidays that is celebrated today.

Over 2,000 years ago, the Celts lived in what is now Ireland, northern France and the United Kingdom. Their new year began on November 1, the day marked the start of the cold winter ahead which was associated with death. On October 31, they celebrated the new years eve with Samhain, which has evolved into our ghoulish Halloween celebrations over the years.

The Celts And Samhain

The Celts believed that on this night, boundaries separating the worlds of the living and dead became blurred together and ghosts and spirits of the dead roamed the earth. They believed that these manifestations from the other world caused damage and trouble, but that their presence gave the Druids, or priests, more power to predict the future.

To celebrate Samhain, sacred bonfires were built, crops were burned and sacrificed animals to their Gods. They would adorn themselves in costumes generally made from the skins and heads of animals. Hearth fires were extinguished before the celebration and re-lit from the bonfire to provide protection.

Roman Influences On Samhain

The Celtic territory was conquered by the Romans in 43 A.D. and during their 400 year reign, two Roman festivals were combined with Samhain. Feralia was celebrated at the end of October to commemorate their dead.

The second festival was in honor of Pomona, the goddess of trees and fruit. Pomona's symbol was the apple, which probably explains the tradition practiced today of bobbing for gourmet apples.

Christianity Influences Halloween

Christianity had spread to the Celtic territories by the 800's and the day was designated as All Saints' Day, often called All-hallows Day. Samhain was changed to All-hallows Eve and through the years became simply known as Halloween!

A third holiday was added in 1000 A.D. called All Souls Day, celebrated on November the second. These celebrations were honored in much the same way as Samhain, with bonfires, parades and various types of costumes.

 The Ultimate Scary Halloween GuideHalloween Comes To America

Best Halloween Guides

Halloween came to America with European immigrants, although there was very little celebration in colonial times. The holiday became widely popular in the mid 1800's when millions of Irish immigrants came to America. Combining both English and Irish Celtic traditions, Americans began celebrating the holiday and wearing costumes.

The custom of trick or treating, is believed to date back to the parades of All Soul's Day. During the celebration, the poor citizens would beg for food. Many families would hand out pastries, called soul cakes and in return the citizens would promise to pray for their dead relatives. Eventually, children began to visit homes and would often be given food gifts, ale or money!

While the Celts considered the presence of ghosts and spirits on Samhain a good thing, they also didn't want to be recognized. So, when they left their homes at night, they would wear masks in hopes that the spirits would mistake them for spirits or ghosts. And, bowls of food would be placed outside to deter the spirits from entering the house.

The Halloween Jack O Lantern

Best Halloween gift

The Jack O' Lantern evolved from an Irish myth about Stingy Jack. The story goes that Stingy Jack and the Devil had drinks and of course Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for them. He tricked the Devil into changing into a coin to pay for their drinks and being stingy, decided to keep the coin. He placed the coin in his pocket along with a silver cross and the Devil couldn't change back.

Eventually, he decided to free the Devil but made him promise that he would leave him alone for a year and not claim his soul if he died. When the Devil returned the following year, Jack tricked him into climbing a tree to pick some fruit and carved a cross into the tree trapping the Devil once again! He released the Devil on his word that he wouldn't bother Jack for another ten years.

Not long after that, Stingy Jack died and according to the legend, God wouldn't allow him into heaven. The Devil was mad at Jack for the tricks he'd played on him, but he kept his word and wouldn't claim his soul and let him enter into hell. He sent Stingy Jack off into the night with a burning coal. Jack carved out a turnip and placed the coal inside and he became known as Jack of the Lantern.

Throughout Scotland and Ireland, people started carving scary faces on potatoes and turnips, these lanterns would be placed in windows to scare away any evil spirits including Stingy Jack! When these immigrants came to American, they found that pumpkins were plentiful and made much better Halloween Pumpkin Jack O' Lanterns!

Halloween Postcards

I like most all things vintage and I think old antique Halloween postcards are really cool. I suppose it must have been common in the "old days" for people to mail out Halloween postcards. I don't know anyone who does it today, but I am sure there are still those who do. These days people buy greeting cards, which are similar to postcards, but Halloween greeting cards aren't as popular as they are for other special days and Christmas holiday gift celebrations. In fact, I may even send out my first Halloween greeting cards this year!

Halloween Party Invitations

Halloween Party Invitations

Halloween Invitation Introduction

Best Halloween Party Invitations

Halloween invitations let guests know what to expect at your big Halloween bash. They set the party tone and let people know whether they need to go all out and get dressed up, bring some spooky food to share, etc. If you are throwing a costume party, your invitation should convey a costume party theme as well as saying it specifically. If your party is going to feature spooky foods and beverages, a more scary style invitation is appropriate. And obviously, if kids or families are involved, you should use a kid-friendly invitation style.

When it comes to Halloween party invitations, you have numerous options. If you are crafty, creating your own invitations is a must. If you are on a tight budget and all your party guests are computer savvy, then using e-invitations is the way to go. And if you are a traditionalist, you can purchase either regular fill-in invitations at a local party shop or go a step further and buy them at one of the many online holiday gift shops that offer fully personalized invitations. No matter which way you choose to go, I'm sure you'll find or create 'boo'tiful Halloween invites for your big bash!

Custom Halloween Invitations

Fully customized invitations from a professional print shop are the Cadillac of invitations. If you are throwing an upscale party or just want a truly high-quality look, these personalized Halloween invitations are the best choice. Many online print and gift stores offer customized invitations services. Here are just a few that I'd recommend.

  • Halloween - WFU Stationery Shop
    Find over 40 different fully personalized and printed invitations like the one shown to the right. Options for both adult and kids Halloween parties!
  • Creations by Leslie
    Offers a wide selection of Halloween invitation designs from ghosts and goblins to witches and haunted houses. They have options appropriate for both kids and adults.
  • My Expression
    You can purchase Halloween paper and envelopes that you print out yourself or you can have them print the party details on whatever design you choose.

Custom Halloween Invites

Creative Halloween Party Invitations The Ultimate Scary Halloween Guide

DIY Halloween Invitation & Wording Ideas

Here are some great Halloween Invitation Wording Ideas from Holiday-Invitations.com. Just use one of these clever sayings and add the party details such as the event description, date, time, location, and hosts of the Halloween Party. You can purchase card stock or some of the Halloween papers like those shown above to create a truly unique invitation for your party guests.

You can also buy fully customized invitations from Holiday Invitations. They are professionally printed with all of the event details. This company has tons of fun designs such as the one shown to the right.

There is a time to be good

and a time to be bad

but this time...

good times for all will be had!

Join our celebration

at the bewitching hour.

Before we put Halloween to rest...

We'll have plenty of food, wine,

and spirits at our nest!

Please join us for our annual

Halloween Party.

-----------------------------------------------------------

I see a party in your future!

It is written in the stars ...

____ and ________

are having a mystical

All Hallow's Eve gathering.

Consider yourself

summoned!

-----------------------------------------------------------

I vant you to come to my party!

Join us in the Village

for Bloody Marys

on Halloween night.

Mummies rising from the grave...

Now is the time to be brave!

Do you see what's drawing near!

Halloween is almost here!

-----------------------------------------------------------

Attention all zombies:

It's time to loosen your dressings

and party 'til the sun comes up!

The moon is full, the wind is chill...

This Halloween will be quite a thrill!

A howling time awaits you this eve,

but beware for you may not want to leave!

Join us for some spooky shenanigans.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Dragons with scales and witches with hats

It's time to dress up

and avoid black cats

Come to our house

there will be plenty of Halloween treats

for goblins and ghouls who like to eat sweets.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Halloween! Halloween!

Oh what SPOOKY things I've seen!

Bats and mice

and goblins too!

They're all invited,

and so are you!

-----------------------------------------------------------

We're having a Monster Bash!

Goblins and ghouls oh what a sight...

Beware of the witch that flies at night

Scary demons and monsters too

would all like to party with you.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Pumpkins and candles

witches and bats

decorations for handles

and tall pointy hats

Come one come all

to our Halloween ball

Dress up and pretend

We'll party until the end.

For more great Halloween Invitation Wording Ideas, visit VerseIt.com. Here are just a few samples from their website...

Join us if you dare

for a Halloween scare...

EVENT

will be undertaken at TIME

on DATE

at the final resting place of

HOSTS

ADDRESS

CITY, STATE

------------------------------

The bats will be flying high

if you'll join us

on DATE

from TIME until TIME

HOSTS & LOCATION (e.g. The Smith's Haunted House)

ADDRESS

CITY, STATE

------------------------------

You're invited to a

Scare-rific Halloween Party

Wear a costume

and bring your thirst

on DATE

The scary time starts at TIME

ADDRESS

Your Ghoulish Hosts:

HOSTS

------------------------------

You Just Might Lose your Head...

or get Scared out of your Boots!

Join us at our

Halloween Costume Party

LOCATION

DATE

from TIME until the witching hour

ADDRESS

Be creative and win

a prize for best costume

R.S.V.P. PHONE

------------------------------

It might be Scary...

It might be a Fright...

But it's sure to be Fun

on Halloween Night!

You're invited to our

Halloween Party

DATE

at TIME

LOCATION

Bring your own spirits

Your Ghosts:

The HOSTS LAST NAME

Here is a sample of our 2007 Halloween invitation. We just purchased some themed spider web paper from Oriental Trading Company and printed up the invitations ourselves.

A Halloween Party is Brewing!

What will YOU be doing?

You are invited for a Halloween Scare,

so come by for munchies & mayhem if you Dare.

This adult party will be quite a sight

For costumes are a MUST this frightening night*

DATE

TIME

The HOST'S LAST NAME Haunted House

ADDRESS

Please RSVP at PHONE

*Halloween gifts and prizes will be awarded for the best costumes

In past years, we have also used Microsoft Publisher to create quarter fold invitations with things like black cats, brewing Halloween witches, pumpkins and other MS Publisher clip art. The wording was as follows:

DOES AN EVENING OF FRIGHT SOUND ALRIGHT???

THEN JUST DRESS UP & DROP IN FOR A HOWLING GOOD TIME!

or

WE'RE BREWING UP AN

ADULT HALLOWEEN PARTY!!!

SO JUMP ON YOUR BROOMSTICK AND JOIN US FOR A FRIGHTFUL EVENING OF FUN!

EVENT (e.g. 2nd Annual Adult Halloween Party)

DATE

TIME

HOSTS

ADDRESS

Please RSVP By 10/27 to PHONE

Costumes are strongly encouraged.

We will have lots of food, cookies, and desserts plus beer and other drinks. The Ultimate Scary Halloween Guide

Free Printable Halloween Invitation Templates

Here are some great resources for free printable Halloween invites. Just purchase some regular cardstock or printer paper at your local office supply shop and use any of these fun templates to create a one-of-a-kind invitation for your party. You could even dress them up a bit by adding special touches like glitter or fuzzy spiders to the invitations. An affordable and fun invitation project!

  • Family Crafts
    Find quarter fold Halloween Invitation templates.
  • Internet Fun
    Offers several printable templates that you can fill-in with the Halloween party details.
  • Invitation Land
    THE BEST do-it-yourself Halloween invitation site I've seen. You choose a template, add text, change fonts and colors, and make a printable PDF. Awesome!

DIY Halloween Invitation Videos

Save some money by making your own creative Halloween invites!

  • ECards4All.com
    Free online Halloween invitations - large selection with great designs for kids and adults.
  • Halloween at Hi Greetings
    A small selection of customizable online Halloween invitations.
  • 123Greetings.com
    Great selection of free online invitations for your big Halloween party!

Halloween Party Games

Printable Halloween Games

While you are printing out the invitations, don't forget to print out the Halloween Party Games too!

I wind, I wind, my true love to find, The color of his hair, the clothes he will wear, The day he is married to me.

Throw a ball of yam into barn, old house, or cellar, and wind, repeating the above lines, and the true love will appear, and wind with you. To be tried at twelve o'clock on Halloween night, October 31.

An old lady of eighty told me that in her youth this was tested by a girl. Someone knowing she was going to make the test hid himself in the barn, and when the proper time came called out, "Timothy B." - the name of a man very much disliked by the girl, who was in love with her. She, thinking he had really appeared, and believing from the sign or project that she would have to marry him, became very ill, and only began to recover when they assured her he was not really there.

Cut up two alphabets, put them face down in water at night; then those that are turned over in the morning are the initials of the one you will marry. [try at midnight] October 31.

To Foil a Witch

Fun Halloween game

If a witch should be witch you, she will probably appear to you next time as an animal. Shoot the animal with a silver bullet if you desire to injure the witch.

Lumbermen wrap themselves in fresh deerskin to keep off witches.

Any witch or ghost may be destroyed by merely asking them what they want of you.

To frighten witches away, sprinkle salt around the house.

Your milk will be hard to chum if witches are in it. To get rid of them set the chum in a chimney corner and whip the milk with a switch or drop a dime in the chum.

Will-o'-the-wisp

Some people are very much afraid of the will-o'-the-wisp, or ignis fatuus. They believe that on a dark night it leads its victim, who is obliged to follow, either in the river, where they drown, or in bushes of thorns, which tear them to pieces, the jack-o'-lantern exclaiming all the time, "Aïe, aïe, mo gagnin tot" - "Aïe, aïe, I have you."

The old person who was speaking to me of the ignis fatuus told me that he was born with a caul, and that he saw ghosts on All Saints' Day. He also added he often saw a woman without a head, and he had the gift of prophecy.

Halloween Party Games

Kids Halloween Party Games

No kids Halloween party is complete without Halloween games. In this post, I've put together not only some of my favorite printable games, but also some reusable mail order games like the spider ring toss, and some virtually FREE Halloween games like the mummy wrap or stay dry apple bobbing game.

Utilize any of these games and the kids at your Halloween party are sure to have a "Spook"-tacular time!

Printable Halloween Party Games

Printable games are a great choice for kids Halloween parties. And best of all, you just buy, download, and print straight from your computer. No running around looking for fun games and no waiting. They are the perfect solution if you are running short on time... maybe your Halloween party is tomorrow for instance :)

I love the Deluxe Halloween Game Package which comes with over 50 different printable Halloween and harvest-themed games. The package includes a 90-day pass where you can pick and print as many games as you like as many times as you'd like. There are games for both kids and adults. Things like Halloween bingo, harvest word scrambles, costume match games and so much more.

"Stay Dry" Apple Bobbing

Kids Halloween Party Games

I was reading my latest issue of Southern Living magazine and saw this fun idea for a kids Halloween party. Best of all, the kids can bob for apples without all the mess that comes along with a traditional bobbing for apples game. You skip the water and instead suspend the apples from trees in the yard with string.

Simply buy apples with long stems and tie long strings to the stem of each apple. Hang the apples from a swing set or tree being sure to trim and vary the string lengths so that the apples are approximately at the height of the kids' mouths. Remember, no hands allowed! The first child that grabs an apple in their mouth wins the game (if you want to have a winner). Otherwise, you can play until every child gets an apple.

If you want to watch a video with step-by-step instructions for setting up the game, visit Southern Living.

Dress The Mummy Game

Pumpkin Bowling

Kids Halloween Party Games

Who doesn't love bowling? This game has always been a hit at both kid and adult Halloween parties that we've attended over the years. It is best to play this game outside and it is even better when you can have 3 or 4 "lanes" of bowling going on simultaneously. That way, you can break party guests into bowling teams. You'll need small pumpkins and a set of bowling pins for each "lane". If you want, you can create lanes from hay bales like shown in the photo, paint lanes in the grass, or just have pretend lanes.

Likely, you won't have 3 or 4 sets of real plastic bowling pins so you can use 2 liter bottles as a substitution for the pins. You'll need to save up 30 or 40 empty 2 liter bottles for the game so enlist your neighbors, friends, co-workers or family in the saving of soda bottles.

Before the party, paint the empty plastic bottles white or orange and paint or draw (with black sharpies) jack-o-lantern or ghost faces on each of them. To keep the bottles stable during the game, fill the bottles about a 1/4 to 1/3 of the way full with sand or pebbles.

If you are having a smaller party or a party with little kids, you can set up one bowling lane and give each child a chance to roll a pumpkin. If they get a strike, they win a prize and get to go again. Basically, you can make the "rules" whatever you want to make the game fun for the set of people at your party.

The use of pumpkins as bowling balls make this game hilarious - you never know where the pumpkin will end up! This would be a fun game for adults attending a pumpkin patch baby shower too. What a great baby shower theme idea when you are hosting a shower during the fall season.

Kids Halloween Party Games

This video goes through a couple stand-by Halloween games like scary story game or the marshmallow on a string game or the reach in the box game where kids try to figure out what is inside the box.

Halloween Eyeball Bounce

Think back to the days of playing beer-pong in college. This is the kid's version of that game.

You'll need a plastic tablecloth or floor-covering if playing this game inside, a set of plastic orange glasses (or small pumpkins that have been gutted), and plastic ping-pong balls that have been painted to look like eyeballs (or buy a set already painted from Amazon). You can create the eyeballs on the ping pong balls using markers as well. Use black for the pupil and don't forget to add red blood shot veins to the eyes too.

This game really works best on a ping-pong table, but any large table or even hardwood floors will do. On one end of the table set-up 10 pumpkins or a set of orange cups in a pyramid type pattern. Then have the kids stand at the far end of the table. The goal is to bounce the eyeballs (one bounce) into one of the cups or pumpkins.

You can designate each cup a different prize or give prizes for a certain number of balls that land inside cups/pumpkins. The rules and related prizes are really up to you.

Halloween Spider Web Toss

Don't Forget The Game Prizes!

Halloween prize idea

When it comes to prizes for the Halloween games, I like to have a wide variety of choices and values. That said, prizes don't have to break the bank. Any sort of homemade baked treat like cut-out Halloween cookies or bat-shaped brownies (cut with a cookie cutter) are a great choice.

I also love hitting the local dollar store to pick up little things like Halloween tattoos, monster stickers, Halloween treat gift bags to fill with candy, little plastic bugs, and other cheap Halloween themed items. By having a bunch of cheap items, virtually everyone can be a winner.

In addition to the games, it is a good idea to have a Halloween costume contest for the kids. You'll be surprised at just how creative the children (and their parents) can be. For the costume contest, I usually give out a ribbon along with a larger prize such as a kids Halloween gift basket or a pumpkin filled with fun-size candy bars.

 An "Un"Scary Halloween Party

Halloween party ideas

When I think of Halloween, images of ghosts and goblins immediately come to mind.  Although my 7-year-old son loves the goulish side of Halloween, my soon-to-be 3-year-old gets spooked pretty easily.  So this year our Halloween decorations focus more on non-scary images, and I thought I would share some tips for an un-scary Halloween Party - perfect for younger crowds.

  1. Celebrate the Season:  Take advantage of the fall harvest and have partygoers bob for apples.  Make sure to have plenty of towels on hand!
  2. Have a Pumpkin Toss:  Choose some small pumpkins and mark off a place in the yard where it's OK to make a mess.  Have participants choose their pumpkin, mark it with their name and see how far they can throw it from the starting line.  I recommend separate pumpkins for each guest just in case they go "splat!"
  3. Decorate in Black and Orange:  Hang crepe paper in the doorway, light the path to your house with friendly jack-o-lanterns, and utilize balloons for decorations.  If you don't have helium balloons, hang some balloons down from the ceiling and let others float around on the floor.
  4. Create a "Friendly" Witch's Brew:  Using a large black cauldron, flavored drink mixes and dry ice (if available), give each child an ingredient to pour into the brew while you stir it together using a large ladle.
  5. Don't Forget the Candy:  Have a large bowl of candy or a Halloween Treat Basket on your table for the kids to nibble on.  Bake sugar cookies in advance, and have colored frosting on hand.  Give each child a cookie, some frosting and a bunch of candies (red hots, candy corn, M&M's, etc) so they can come up with a unique Halloween cookiecreation!

With this simple tips, you can host a fun Halloween party with no need for scary parts!

10 Funny Excuses to Stay Home From Halloween Parties

Halloween party

1) Odd Costumes, Loud Music, Crazy People - No Thanks?

It's not unusual to not want to go to that Halloween bash (again) this year. Sure, last year you managed to drag yourself to the party but this year you're just not feeling it. It happens, more often than you'd think. Really.

So what should you tell the host (and the guests) when they ask you why you won't be attending? Here are a few ideas that you can use this year. Next year though, you're on your own.

2) You have to babysit. All night.

This excuse works if they're asking you weeks ahead of time, why you won't be attending. This excuse is especially believable if you have younger brothers and sisters, or nieces and nephews.

If you use this one, you're sure to win a few sympathy points. Plus, it's completely admirable that your caring and compassionate self would selflessly take on such a daunting task that night.

Caution: It might not be a bad idea to actually hang out with the little rugrats this night, just in case. But that's going to be your call.

3) You're scared of Halloween. Deathly afraid, actually.

It's okay to have your phobias, everyone does. So who is to say that you aren't scared of Halloween? It seems perfectly reasonable to have a fear of a night where goblins, ghosts, and skeletons come to life and waltz the streets nearby.

Your fear is completely rational and if you're lucky, they'll stop inviting you next year too.

Dear Steve,

I know it sounds goofy but I'll come out and say it. Remember how I used to be afraid of the vacuum in college? It's a lot like that. I'm afraid of Halloween and I want to stop hiding it from you. I'm sorry if this ruins your party.

Hope it's fun,

John

4) Your mom told you that you can't go.

This one worked in middle school and it certainly never loses it's touch. Since your mother ultimately rules your life from now and forevermore, of course you're going to obey her when she tells you that you can't go out on Halloween night - even if you are 27 years old.

Caution: Just make sure that they don't actually know your mother.

5) You're allergic to costumes.

Have you seen the costumes out there nowadays? Who knows what those things are made of, I mean there is some weird stuff they use now. All those man-made materials are sure to trigger an allergic reaction to those, er, allergies that you have.

And if you come near anyone even wearing anything of the sort, well, you don't even want to think about what would happen.

Dear Jennifer,

I just got back from the doctor today. Remember last week when we went into the costume shop and I got all red and poofy? Well maybe you didn't notice it, but I definitely did. Well it turns out that I'm allergic to Halloween costumes! I guess I won't be going to anymore Halloween parties. Sorry.

6) You're not feeling well.

This excuse is best used on the night of the party. It's the old, "I don't feel good" excuse that you used for school back in the day. Who are they to object, they don't know how you're feeling. For all they know, you probably ate too many Halloween treats and now you're paying for it.

Note: This excuse works for almost anything. Just make sure you practice your 'sick voice' beforehand. Bonus points for texting.

7) You didn't get the invite.

So they call you up and ask why they haven't heard from you - didn't you get the Halloween party invite? Well, no actually you didn't. You did think it was a little odd that they didn't invite you this year though. Seeing as you brought all the good Halloween cookies last year and all...

If the party is still coming up, well then you already made other plans since you didn't hear from them. If the party has passed, then you're really sorry that it didn't work out and that you aren't that mad anymore about it.

8) It's your cousin's birthday.

Man, wasn't it so unfortunate that cousin Ricky was born on Halloween? That was so nice of him to let you out of his birthday party early last year (and missed opening birthday gifts!) so that you could attend your friend's Halloween party instead.

Well, this year you weren't as lucky. In fact, you felt bad that you'd be skipping it two years in a row so you wanted to make sure you made it to his birthday this year - seeing as he is family and all.

9) You only celebrate Halloween every other year.

It's a rule that you made up long ago that you would only celebrate Halloween every other year, and since you went last year then this is your year that you stay home. Your reasoning behind the rule is personal, however, so you'd rather not share. That should keep them from asking you why for a while, and maybe even scare them off a little bit.

Caution: That gives you an excuse for this year, but next year, just so you know - you're stuck going.

Dear Tim,

I got your Halloween invitation. Sorry I can't make it this year - because I celebrated Halloween last year.

Hope it's fun anyway,

Tyler

10) Your horoscope said you shouldn't.

You know that fortune teller that you may or may not have mentioned a while ago? Well she told you that you should listen to your horoscope when it strongly suggests things. And your horoscope says for Halloween night that you should stay home. You'd feel really uncomfortable if you brought bad luck to the party and even worse if something bad happened to you there.

You wouldn't want everyone to witness it and everything, you know? Plus, you can still always send Halloween treats over.

The truth: You don't feel like going out.

Honesty is the best policy

These excuses are pretty lame - and that's the best that you've got to work with! So when they call up or when you talk to them, just tell them that you think you'll just stay home and relax this year. Not that the party wasn't fun last year, because it definitely was (cough, cough), but you're getting old and all - so maybe you'll just take it easy and pass out candy.

Then next year, maybe you'll have it at your house. Hey, you never know.

Easy DIY Halloween Home Decorations

Halloween decorations

Halloween is always so much fun. The costumes, the candy, and of course the decorations! But buying Halloween decor at the store can get spendy for things that you could just make yourself at home for cheap!

You could even choose to give some of these stylish homemade decorations as Halloween gifts if you want! The options are endless!

Beyond the Grave

Bring Your Cemetary to Life

Creative Halloween decoration

Odds are that you've seen these mock-graves in yards before. They stick into the ground and look like aged tombstones. If you buy them in the stores, they run around $20 and up. Save yourself the money. Just take piece of cardboard and a can of gray or silver spray paint and coat both sides of the cardboard. You can even apply hot glue to the cardboard before you paint if you want to make edges or any raised parts of the headstone.

After the paint has dried, take acrylic paint or just a black sharpie and write a name, message or just RIP on it. To make it stick in the ground, simply tape any type of skinny (yet semi-strong) wire you have laying around like those little flags they use to mark your gas lines or sprinkler systems.

DIY Cemetery Ideas

Image by Tammra McCauley on Flickr

Boo-kyard Fun

Simple ghosts are easy to bring to your yard this year. All it takes is a few pieces of scrap wood and some white fabric.

First, make a simple cross with two pieces of wood. Angle the bottom of the cross so that you will be able to pound the wood into the ground a little bit. From here, you can just drape your white fabric over the wood cross you've formed. For an extra effect, use a Sharpie to draw faces on your ghosts.

On the night of Halloween, you can even place flashlights in front of the ghosts to light them up and make ghost shadows on your house.

DIY Hanging Ghosts!!

Spooky Eyes

Minimal supplies needed here, you might just have to save up for a little while. All you will need here are empty toilet paper rolls and little glow sticks.

Cut out eyes of all different sizes and shapes in your toilet paper rolls. Then place a glow sticks in the roll. From there, you'll need to use duct tape to tape off the ends to keep the light in.

Put these in your windows facing the trick-or-treaters for a wonderful little surprise.

Flying Bats

When bats take over, things go crazy! Add a little fun to your trees this year when you plant some spooky bats in them. You'll need black construction paper or cardstock, fishing line, and old black socks. First, you'll cut out the bat wings from the construction paper or cardstock. Make the middle of the wings about 2 inches wide. From here, you'll roll up your black sock and place it in the middle of the wings.

Use a hole punch to make two holes, one on each side of the rolled sock (or bat body) - you'll string your fishing line through these holes to hold your bat from the trees. Tie it tight to the branches and wait for a little breeze to move your bats and wait for the screams to begin!

Budget Haunted House - This man paid less than $100 for this!

Treat Your Guests

After all this spooky decor, make sure that you are prepared with lots of Halloween candy to make up for all the scary stuff your trick-or-treaters had to pass to get to your door! They'll deserve a little treat for that.

If your decor is for your Halloween party, then consider putting out some yummy Halloween cookies for everyone to enjoy.

Halloween Decorations for the Yard

Halloween has become the second most popular yard decoration season of the year (behind the Christmas holiday). So make your house the scariest or most inviting house in the neighborhood this holiday season with these fun yard decoration tips. The kids will love stopping by your fun or scary home on Halloween night for some tricks, treats or littleHalloween gifts. So go all out no matter what theme you choose!

Fake tombstones. Turn your front yard or flower bed into an eerie graveyard with tombstones. If you don't have a flower bed, it is a good idea to mound up a pile of dirt in the yard if you have enough room. You can either ‘buy' fake tombstones constructed from wood or vinyl online or at a local party supply shop or if you are creative, make your own. Just buy some plywood or styrofoam, cut it in the shape of classic or fancy cross tombstones, add a stake to the bottom (so they can be pushed in the ground) and paint them with gray paint. You can add scary names like Rob DeGrave or Miss N. Cranium using black paint or make up some funny epitaphs for each tombstone.

Half-buried monsters. When you want to give the kids a bit of a scare, put some half-buried monsters along the edge of the driveway or walkway. You can buy creatures like skeletons or Frankenstein at party shops. Usually they come as a set with a head (that can sometimes be lit with batteries), 2 hands and 2 feet. Each body part has a stake to hold it in the ground so just put them in place and then use some of those fallen tree leaves to cover around the edges of the body parts. This will hide the stakes and create a scary feel as though the monsters are rising from the ground.

Fog machine. Adding fog can create the eerie and scary feeling that goes right along with Halloween. Just buy one of these machines online, but remember you'll need access to electricity wherever you are planning to create a layer of fog. Most machines come with the glycol ‘fog fluid'. What a great addition to your front porch or graveyard.

Motion activated decorations. Decorations such as ghosts, witches and monsters can be innocently sitting or hanging around your porch and yard, but an electronic eye or sound activated technology make them come ‘alive' as people approach or talk. Many of these decorations will light up, shake or even shriek when activated. What a great way to give the neighborhood kids a little scare!

Lighting. When you just want to dress up your house for Halloween without all the scary antics, you can use some festive holiday lights to give your house a beautiful glow. From strings of pumpkins or skeletons to orange rope lighting, the possibilities for Halloween lighting are endless. You can also buy ‘can' lights at your local Home Improvement store to uplight hanging ghosts, fake cobwebs or spiders that you have strategically placed on your porch.

Halloween Candy & Dessert Recipes

Halloween recipe

Could there be a day that is better than Halloween? Not only do you get to dress up as anything from a pirate to a princess, you get candy – and lots of it!  It’s fun when you’re eight, but you know what? Adults secretly like it, too. If you are missing the days of romping around the neighborhood and collecting treats, then you and your friends are in dire need of Halloween candy gifts.  Here are some ideas to celebrate the spooktastic day in style.

When you’re a child, part of the fun is going from house to house, seeing who gives the best candy.  Chocolate, gummy bears, Smarties, peanut butter cups, Tootsie rolls, hard candy; it was like a roulette wheel of sugar.  This year, Halloween grows up. Here are some awesome recipes that you could give as adult Halloween gifts this year, or serve at your Halloween party.

Halloween Candy Bark (recipe courtesy of BakedBree)

Image by elana's pantry on Flickr

This is a great Halloween treat – or an excellent way to use leftover candy.

You’ll need:

  • 1 package white chocolate chips
  • 1 package milk or semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 snack size bag pretzels
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Orange sprinkles
  • 2 cups Reese’s Pieces
  • Candy corn

To make:

  1. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Crush up pretzels.
  3. Melt the milk or semisweet chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
  4. Spread the chocolate thinly and evenly over the lined baking sheet.
  5. Cover the chocolate with the crushed pretzels.
  6. Put the cookie sheet in the fridge to chill.
  7. When it has chilled, melt the white chocolate and spread it over the pretzels thinly and evenly.
  8. While the white chocolate is still wet, cover it with sprinkles, candy corn, and Reese’s Pieces.
  9. Chill thoroughly and break into pieces.

Candy Apple

Image by Anders Ruff Custom Designs on Flickr

Candy apples are a traditional treat, and you can dress it up in any number of ways.  Look for a basic caramel recipe, dip your apple, and then cover with:

  • Crushed gourmet nuts.
  • Sprinkles.
  • Toffee chips.
  • Shredded coconut.
  • Powdered sugar.
  • Unsweetened cocoa.
  • Drizzled white, dark, semi-sweet, or milk chocolate. (Wait until caramel has set completely before drizzling).
  • Whatever you have handy and think will taste good!

If you want to try something completely different, try this fabulous recipe for Cinnamon Cider Candied Apples, courtesy of MyRecipes.

You’ll need:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 ¾ cups apple cider
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 2/3 cups cinnamon-flavored candies, like Red Hots
  • 1 ¾ cups sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 12 craft sticks
  • 12 small Granny Smith apples, washed and dried
  • Candy thermometer

To make:

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and coat with cooking spray.
  2. Combine cider and brandy in saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook until the mixture is reduced to ¾ cup, about 14 minutes.
  3. Add candies to the pan, stirring constantly until melted.
  4. Add sugar and salt, stirring just until sugar dissolves.
  5. Cook without stirring until candy thermometer reads 310?, about 8 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool until 201?, about 15 minutes.
  7. Insert craft sticks into apples.
  8. Dip apples in hot syrup and place on baking sheet.
  9. Let cool until set.

Candy Cocktails

Image by MetaGrrrl on FlickrCandy corn martini, anyone?  Lemonhead Drop, perhaps?  How about a Reese’s Peanut-tini?  This recipe from FashionablyBombed is a decadent way to cap a Halloween party.

You’ll need (for 1 drink)

  • ¼ cup peanut butter (with salt)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ ounce vodka
  • 1 ounce Crème de Cacao
  • Ice

Garnish:

  • Chocolate wafer cookies
  • Mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

To make:

  • Stop eating the peanut butter cups!
  • Add peanut butter, milk, vodka, and Crème de Cacao to blender and blend.
  • Pour the mixture into a cocktail strainer with ice and shake.
  • Crush cookie crumbs and dip a martini glass to coat the rim.
  • Pour the drink into the glass and garnish with a wooden skewer full of peanut butter cups.

If you want to make it a frozen drink, add ice to the blender and whip it up into a milk-shaky dessert.

These “candy” treats will be hits at your next party.  Adults want to have fun, too, you know!

 10 Most Popular Halloween Costumes for Boys

Best Halloween costume for boys

Halloween is coming!  Depending on the age of your son, he may want to dress up as something cute or scary this Halloween. Here are some of the most popular Halloween costumes for boys this year.

  1. The Puppy Dog. This classic costume never goes out of style. Whether he’s dressing as Clifford the Big Red Dog or just as a mutt, this is a fun costume. You can either buy some fabulous one-piece dog suits or make your own. Think floppy ears and spots made with felt. A collar made out of reflective material will not only look great, but will help him be seen by cars.
  2. The Pirate. The action-adventurer will want to go as his favorite swashbuckler this year. Pull out an old bandanna, make an eye patch and tear up some jeans. An old vest completes the look. A stuffed parrot on the shoulder is a nice touch.
  3. Superman. Your little guy can emulate the Man of Steel very easily. Make him a cape out of a pillowcase. Have him dress in all one color. You can find leggings appropriate for boys and add a big "S" on his chest and you’re up, up and away!
  4. Star Wars Figures. The Star Wars movies are as popular now as they ever were. You may have to purchase a mask for this costume, but you can dress a Darth Vader all in black or a Luke Skywalker in all brown. Get creative. Add a light stick from the dollar store for a Light Saber.
  5. The Cowboy. The movie Toy Story 3 has caused a resurgence in the love of the cowboy. Dress your little Woody in a cowboy hat, bandanna, funky vest and cowboy boots.
  6. Super Mario. The Super Mario Brothers games for Wii and Nintendo have sparked a love of dressing as the Mario character. You may have to purchase this one. Or get a red hat, red shirt, blue overalls with oversize buttons and a big black oversize mustache and do it yourself.
  7. Crayola Crayon. Every year you find at least one adorable child dressed as a crayon. What fun this is! And if you have siblings, why not dress them as several colors from the box? You can do it yourself with felt. Make sure you include the Crayola stripe and the color name (remember burnt sienna?).
  8. Clown. If you’ve got a real kidder in your family, turn him into a clown for the night. This one’s fun to do on your own or you can go ready-made. The key is a wacky wig and a big red nose. An oversized tie and shoes work well too.
  9. Penguin. Break out the black and white felt for an easy penguin getup. Make flippers out of long pieces of the black with a white circle for the tummy. A black hood with a beak becomes the penguin head. Cover shoes with orange felt cut to look like webbed feet.
  10. The Ghost. There is no Halloween costume more basic or more fun than the ghost. If your son likes to scare people, he’ll love this time-honored sheet with holes. He’ll love the fact that no one recognizes him. And you get off easy on the sewing skills.

No matter what he dresses up as, he's sure to bring in a bounty of Halloween Treats!

How to Make a Chocolate Chip Cookie Costume for Halloween

DIY Halloween Costume

Are you one of those parents who can instantly whip up a creative, professional-looking costume every Halloween without fail? Are you full of good ideas and crafty know-how? Or are you like the rest of us, who may be short on time, sewing skills, or the capacity to make this year’s must-have costume? Don’t worry; you can make an adorable chocolate chipcookie costume for your child that will make you want to just eat him up.  We absolutely adore this costume from Make-Baby-Stuff.com so go there for all the detailed instructions.

For this costume, you need minimal sewing skills and a few craft supplies. Gather:

  • Light brown or tan felt
  • Dark brown felt
  • Fabric glue or Elmer’s all-purpose glue
  • Some cotton batting or pillow stuffing

Cut out four large circles from the light brown or tan felt. This will become the base of your cookie. You can trace a circle with a five-gallon bucket, a large mixing bowl, or a round trash can or simply free draw a circle, trying to make it symmetrical. Don’t worry too much about this – chocolate chip cookies are delicious whether they are symmetrical or not.

Cut small circles from the dark brown felt. These will be your chocolate chips. The next step is to glue the chocolate chips onto the cookie. Fabric glue is great, but you can also get by with Elmer’s if you make sure to let it dry thoroughly. You should now have a front and a back for two cookies (the chips only need to be on the front). Turn the wrong sides out on one of the cookie sets and sew it together. Leave a hole for the stuffing, and turn the big cookie right side out. Stuff your cookie, and then sew the hole. Do this for the second cookie.

Next, you’ll need to make straps. These will keep the cookie costume on your child and are very much like backpack strips. Cut strips from your light brown or tan felt. Enlist your child’s help: hold the cookies to her body and mark where you will place the straps. They should fit over the shoulders and then under the arms. You can then sew the straps in place or pierce the cookie felt and thread the straps through. The latter is easier and a more effective means of keeping the straps in place.

That’s it: your kid cookie is all ready for Halloween. The best part of this costume, though, is that it can be used again. You can take the straps off and use it for a floor or bed pillow or a chair cushion.

If you are pressed for time, you can choose a piece of light brown or tan fleece. Have your child lie down on it and draw a circle around them. Use dark brown fleece or felt for the chips, and then sew the two pieces together. Leave an opening for the neck and for the legs, and cut arm holes out. Even more pressed for time? Find a light brown sweatsuit and pick up some dark brown felt. Glue the “chocolate chips” scattered throughout the sweat suit and call it a day. You can also just do a few quick stitches to put the chips on, which can later be removed so your child can wear the sweat suit for playtime or bed.

If your child is a cookie monster, she’ll love this homemade costume.

And if you're looking for a few cute gifts to send out see these halloween gift baskets and boxes:

Halloween Candy Bouquets

Top 10 Most Popular Halloween Costumes for Babies

Halloween costume for babies

What's cuter than a baby dressed up for Halloween? This year if you're stumped for ideas, take inspiration from the 10 most popular baby Halloween costumes.

These winners have stood the test of time and have helped many a frantic mom make a costume at the last minute.

Cuter Than Cute - Babies Look Cute in Anything

Top 10 Most Popular Halloween Costumes for Babies

The Princess

Every little lady wants to be a princess at some point in their lives. A baby dressed in a ballerina costume complete with a tutu and tiara is one of the most popular ways to go. Add a dime store magic wand with other little items you might use as fairy tale favors and you've got yourself a fairy princess.

Have a particular princess in mind? Go for it! There are tons of Disney Princess costumes out there and you will never run out of princess-related items to add to the costume.

Popular Princesses:

Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, Jasmine (Aladdin), Belle (Beauty & the Beast), Fiona (Shrek)

Cute Baby Halloween Costume Ideas

The M&M

The popular "melts in your mouth, not in your hand" costume is adorable! Every year you can find baby M&Ms being wheeled or carried around for Halloween treats. And it's no wonder - it's such a cute idea! You can either buy a pre-made M&M costume, or make it yourself by dressing baby in all one color and placing an M on her with felt.

This is one of the easiest costumes to make (or find), and you really don't need too much to throw it together. If you want to make a cute alteration to the costume, try using glow-in-the-dark fabric paint for the "M" for nighttime trick-or-treating.

The Puppy

Everyone loves a dog and when it's a baby dog, it's even cuter! To make a puppy costume, take a hoodie and add floppy ears to it.

You can also add spots and a tail all made in felt. It's up to you if you'll do the eyebrow pencil brown nose or not, as face paint doesn't really go over well with fussy babies.

Other optional details might include a puppy tail, a ball, or place a clean puppy bed in their stroller for a bonus accessory and a place to put Halloween treats!

The Cat

Hand in hand with the puppy costume is the kitty costume. You can turn any outfit that's fuzzy into a kitty outfit. Put pointy felt ears on a headband and you've got yourself a cat.

There are also some charming kitty costumes for baby that you can purchase ready-made.

Other items you might include are: a tail, a ball of yarn, and/or lasagna (if you want to go the Garfield theme).

There are numerous famous cats that you might be able to mock-up as well. Put your thinking cap on and see what you can come up with!

Superhero

Superhero Halloween costume

What adult wouldn't love to look back at pictures of them at Halloween dressed as mini-Superheroes? They just look so cute! Super Baby is a popular choice for baby Halloween costumes.

It's easily accomplished with a red onesie and a felt cape and a yellow "S". Babies look so adorable in this costume, and it's not uncomfortable for them to wear.

Other options include Flash, Spiderman, Batman (or woman), and other popular heroes.

The Pumpkin

(Not just your little pumpkin)

Your little pumpkin needs a costume, and is it that easy? Yes! And a baby dressed in a pumpkin costume is a guaranteed photo opportunity.

The store bought costumes look best as they bulge out at all the right places to create a plump little pumpkin. Add some green tights for the legs and baby is pinchably cute!

Too late to get to the store? Borrow an older child's orange shirt and stuff it with kleenex or some other soft/plush filling. As long as it's not irritating to the baby for the night, it will be a great option for the little one!

Don't forget to bring a matching snack-o-lantern pumpkin to carry the goodies.

The Cowboy

Lasso up the kids, and round up the babies. This inspired costume goes way back to the olden days. If you have older children, this is another chance to pull together the whole theme. Dress them up as old-age town citizens and let your imagination run!

Have a dog? Dress him up too and bring him along for the fun. Put together a horse and buggy contraption or just dress the dog as a horse and most people will get the point.

The little man in the family will be so charming in a rodeo getup! Pint-sized chaps, a red bandana and cowboy hat make this an easy costume to do. Optional items might involve a cowboy hat, a beard/mustache, a toy gun, a lasso, or even a flannel article of baby clothing. Include a stuffed pony and you've got a real winner! The Ultimate Scary Halloween Guide

Cute as a Bug

Variations of the bug include the red and black ladybug and the yellow and black bee. Crafty moms have been creating these insect costumes forever.

It's easy to do yourself with a plain yellow or red onesie and some black felt. Figure in antennae with black pipe cleaners and dyed cotton balls on a headband.

Or if you'd rather go to the store you can find darling versions and save yourself the work.

The Pea Pod

Green is the color of the day, so why not dress baby in the color head to toe? A pea costume is easily accomplished with an all green outfit with some felt circles glued on, but the store bought version of this costume is out of this world adorable.

Got twins? The options are endless. Dress the stroller as a pod and your babies as peas for the legendary 'two peas in a pod'! Another idea is to dress them both in light green and a dark green hat for each.

The Lion

A mop head and some food coloring will easily create the mane for a baby lion. An alternative to this might be brown yarn, which might be more accessible depending on the household.

A set of feet pajamas in tan or brown will make a cute body. If you'd like to add ears, you can attach felt or pipe cleaners to a headband, you can also temporarily stitch them onto a hood. You can also easily make a tail with felt or fabric.

But when it comes down to it, the baby lion costumes in the store are even cuter and don't cost much for such a darling effect.

Halloween Jack-O-Lantern Carving Tips

Pumpkin carving tip

Jack-O-Lantern carving has become an art in recent years. The artistry and innovation people are coming up with is amazing. There are new tools, stencils, and designs coming out every year for pumpkin carving enthusiasts. But if you’re not an artist, don’t despair.  You can still carve your pumpkins the old fashioned way simply and with beautiful results. Here’s how:

  • Choose a pumpkin that is firm and regularly shaped. Avoid any with damage or a flat side. Your Jack-O-Lantern won’t look as good if you start off with a lopsided pumpkin. However, if you want to do a cute variation of the standard pumpkin, then you might want to go with oddly shaped or colored specimens.
  • Don’t carry your pumpkins by the stem as the stem could break off. If it does break off, you can always carve it from the bottom and still have a lovely finished product. But if you have your heart set on the traditional pumpkin, be gentle with the stem.
  • Decide what you want your pumpkin’s face to look like. Are you going for the triangle eyes and wide, toothy grin? Are you aiming for a more serene or sweet looking end result? Plan it out on paper first. You can then either draw freehand on the face with a permanent marker (water-based markers will wipe off the pumpkin’s skin) or you can cut out the individual pieces from your paper and trace around them.
  • You’ll need a sharp knife. More injuries happen with dull knives than sharp ones. With a duller knife, you’ll have to press harder and may slip. Don’t let children do this part of the carving unless they are closely supervised. Kid-safe tools are now available that allow them to punch and scoop out the pumpkin’s design, and there are no sharp edges to worry about. These tools usually come in kits that can be found in grocery and discount stores during the Halloween gift season.
  • To carve your pumpkin, start by cutting out a circle around the stem of the pumpkin. Lift the top of the pumpkin off. Reach in and scoop out the pulp and seeds. You’ll want to use a heavy metal spoon to scoop down the sides and bottom to really clean it out. If you want, place the seeds in a bowl and wash them off so you can toast them later in the oven for a nutritious snack. Make sure you get out every bit of the pulp as it will make the pumpkin decay faster if you leave it in.
  • Now you’re ready to cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth you drew on. Insert the knife and make shortcuts, doing a little of the design at a time. Don’t make large, broad strokes as this can lead to cutting off more of the pumpkin than you meant to. Pop out the cut material and continue on until the whole design is cut out.
  • Decide on how you will light your Jack-O-Lantern. There are many choices on the market today, some of which were not available in years past. You can buy flame-less flickering votives in white or color that run on batteries. You can also get flashing strobe lights designed especially for pumpkins. Glow sticks also work well. If you want the traditional look, you’ll want to go with votive candles. You will, however, have to keep an eye on them if you have an open flame.

Halloween Safety Tips

Creative Halloween gifts

This Halloween keep yourself, your kids, and children trick or treating at your home safe. Below you will find some helpful tips for picking safe costumes, trick or treating advice, tips to apply costume make-up safely, ideas to keep your pets safe, and advice on how to make sure that the jack o'lantern carving goes well.

Kids (and adults for that matter) look forward to Halloween for months. In fact, I know some kids that wear their costumes for days leading up to trick or treating night. Don't let the holiday be ruined by an avoidable accident. Just use these tips and your own common sense to make this a Happy Halloween full of devilishly delicious Halloween treats for one and all.

Pumpkin Carving Safety Tips

Here are some suggested precautions to take while carving pumpkins with little ones. In our house, creating festive jack o' lanterns was a bit of a competition between us four brothers and sisters, the kids in the neighborhood and our cousins. Mom turned it into a little party which was always great fun.

Best Halloween Safety Tips

Tool Safety - Sharp utensils like miniature saws and knives are a necessary part of the pumpkin carving process. Just be sure to give older children some instruction on how to safely use the tools under strict supervision. To get the smaller kids involved, have them draw the face they want carved out of the pumpkin. Then an adult should do the actual carving. One of the best ways to make the carving process safe is to make sure that the pumpkin is gutted properly. If an adult cuts the pumpkin lid with a knife, the kids can get a thrill out of pulling the guts (seeds and stuff) from the pumpkin. While they are cleaning up all the goop on their hands, you can scrape the walls of the pumpkin down a bit making it an inch or less thick where the pumpkin will be carved. Don't forget to roast the pumpkins seeds for a tasty Happy Halloween treat.

Candle Safety - In our household, we have switched to using battery powered candles and tea lights in our pumpkins. It prevents injuries to pets and trick or treaters who could accidentally run into the pumpkins. If you do decide to go with traditional candles, use a glass votive holder inside the pumpkin to make sure that the candle is stable. Place the votive holder on the bottom of the pumpkin interior that you have made flat. Never leave the candle-lit pumpkins unattended. If you are leaving your house or going to bed, blow the candles out! Be sure that you have enough ventilation for the heat (generated by the candle flame) to escape from the pumpkin. This may mean that you'll have to carve a 'chimney' or hole in the back of the pumpkin or leave the carved out lid askew so that it has a gap.

Awesome Halloween Pumpkins Video - For Inspiration!!!

How To Choose Safe Costumes For Halloween

Have Reflective Costumes - Buy or make Halloween costumes that are brightly colored and easy to see during dusk and evening hours. You can add reflective tape to the trim, back, arms or legs of the costume to make sure that cars can easily see the child. Reflective tape is available at sporting good stores and craft shops.

Prevent Tripping & Falling - Make sure your kids have flat sturdy shoes, like tennis shoes, to keep from twisting an ankle or falling. Also, make sure that the costumes aren't too long to prevent entanglement with themselves or others.

Prevent Visual Impairment - In cold climates, we all know that hats and scarves are sometimes a necessity on Halloween night, so be sure that the hats and scarves fit properly. You do not want to have them slipping into their eyes. If you choose a costume that has a mask, make sure it fits properly and has large enough eye holes to be sure that vision is not obscured.

Use Light Sources - Glow sticks, flash-lights and reflector necklaces are great items to have your kids carry while trick or treating. Cars and other hazards will be able to see them much more easily.

Use Flame Resistant Material - Whether you make or purchase a costume, be sure that the materials used for the costume and accessories like beards or wigs are flame retardant. Obviously, flames should still be avoided as flame retardant materials can catch fire. Consider avoiding big flowing skirts and puffy sleeves to cut down the risk as well.

Avoid Novelty Contact Lenses - Although these lenses may look cool, the Halloween contact lenses that can be purchased with costumes or at party supply stores can cause 'permanent eye injury and may potentially lead to blindness' according to the FDA. The only contacts you should be putting in your eyes or your kids eyes are ones that come from eye care professionals.

Use Flexible Props - Many of the scary costumes as well as Halloween skeletons and pirate costumes come with knives, swords, scythes, etc. Just make sure that these items are flexible and dull so that the child can't hurt themselves

Halloween Trick or Treating & Candy Tips

Unique Hallowen Gifts

Accompany Small Children - Small children should always be accompanied by an older sibling, parent or other adult. For older kids, give them strict guidelines about where they can and cannot go and agree to a time when they will be home. Be sure to mention that they shouldn't stray off the beaten path.

Choose Appropriate Houses - Trick or treat on Halloween where you know the homeowners. If there are no porch lights on, they likely aren't interested in trick-or-treaters. Make it clear to children that they should not enter ANY home or apartment without you or the chaperoning adult.

Do NOT Snack Enroute - Make it clear to the kids that they should not start eating any of the Halloween treats they receive until you have inspected it. That means no snackin' on the Halloween candy grams along the way.

Inspect The Booty - Parents should go through all of the items collected disposing of anything that is homemade (e.g. Halloween cookies) and not well-wrapped. Inspect the Halloween candy to make sure that there are no suspicious holes or signs of re-wrapping. Anything suspicious should be discarded immediately. Also throw out any small toys or hard candies that can be choking hazards to any small children in the home.

Halloween Make-up Safety

Halloween makeup tip

Wearing masks can make the wearer hot and sweaty and impair their vision if the eye holes aren't properly cut. So many people opt for face makeup to create scary witch, ghost and Halloween monster faces instead of masks these days. Here are some simple tips to make sure that you or the child doesn't end up looking like a swelled up mess or an itchy rash.

Look for the FDA label - All theatrical make-up (like that for most Halloween costumes) contains color additives that must be FDA approved so look for that stamp of approval before purchase any face make-up. Also choose make-up that is labeled non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

Use Make-Up On The Intended Area - If the make-up says not to use it near your eyes - DON'T. It could leave you with burning eyes, swollen eyelids or worse so follow the directions on the packaging to a tee. The vice versa is true too. Sometimes eye make-up can irritate the rest of your skin so just use common sense and use make-up where it was intended to be used.

Do a Test Patch - Like with hair color, you should always to a test patch on your inner arm 48 hours prior to using the make-up on your face. Just rub some on the inside of your elbow and leave it there for 48 hours (before Halloween night). If you don't see any rash or irritation, you should be all set. This is a MUST if you tend to have allergies or sensitive skin.

Remove Make-up Before Bed - Read the label on how to remove the make-up so that you don't irritate your skin during the removal process. Don't sleep in your make-up because not only can it make a mess, but it can also lead to skin irritation and puffiness if it accidentally flakes into the eyes.

Recommended Halloween Safety Websites

  • Halloween Safety
    Site dedicated to Halloween Safety advice and tips.

Halloween Safety Tips For Pets

Halloween tips for pet

Pets & Candles Don't Mix - Do not leave lit candles out and about in your home during Halloween as large dogs love to wag their large tails. Before you know it, you could have quite a fire on your hands if the tail hits a lit candle. This includes pumpkins lit by candles - consider using those battery powered fall leaf candles that they sell in party stores.

Don't Feed Chocolate To Pets - Chocolate is deadly to pets so clearly explain to children that they should not feed any of their yummy Halloween brownies or cookies or candy to the family cat or dog. Also, make sure that they don't leave foil wrappers lying around as they can easily choke a pet.

Keep pets indoors on Halloween night - Unfortunately, there are pranksters and others who think it is acceptable to tease, injure, torture and even steal pets. And if you happen to have a black cat, consider keeping it indoors for the week or so leading up to Halloween, as these cats are particularly susceptible to cruelty incidents during the Halloween season.

Put pets in a safe location during trick or treating or parties - Pets can get scared by the noise, too many people and weird costumes that are present when kids are ringing the bell to trick or treat or when you have a Halloween party. Just put them in a bedroom, basement or kennel where they are safe from all the excitement. This way you won't have to worry about your pet darting out the door when you are handing out Halloween candy bar gifts to the trick or treaters as well.

A word about costumes... - We people love to dress up in fun costumes, but pets may not love it so much. So before you try to dress Fido up in a cute pet or dog tuxedo on Halloween night, you should try it on them a few days prior to make sure that they like it. You can even practice by letting them wear it for several evenings prior to the big night. Don't force them to wear it if they are uncomfortable. Be sure that the costume fits properly and that the animal has an unobstructed view of his surrounds (especially if a mask or hat is involved).

 The Best Halloween Candy to Give Out

Best Halloween candies

It may have been a while since you yourself have gone trick-or-treating. If this is the case, you may be out of the loop when it comes to the types of candy that kids love to receive nowadays. So in case you're lost on what to stock up on this year, read these ideas and maybe you might have some new friends in your neighborhood this year.

Snickers

The Best Halloween Candy to Give Out

Snickers is one of the most popular pieces of Halloween treats every year. Right next to the Tootsie Roll, naturally. Then of course for Snickers there are the mini-bites and the bite-size. You can go with the regular size, but usually it's a bit overwhelming when you can't exactly just grab a handful of large candy bars.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

The Best Halloween Candy to Give Out

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups are some of the most delicious Halloween candy to find in your stash, at least they're the big hit at our house! These involve peanut butter covered in chocolate and are so very addicting.

Kids love eating them almost as much as adults do, so of course if you end up with a few extra - trust me, it won't be a bad thing.

Worst Halloween Candy

Blow Pops

The Best Halloween Candy to Give Out

Or Tootsie Pops

Suckers are great for any age group, and naturally these candies last the longest so they are typically savored. Not to mention, Blow Pops have the gum inside so it's like two treats in one package.

Another great thing about giving out suckers is that they can't melt like gourmet chocolate can, so parents might be more thankful when they find that a sucker got stuck in their car seat, next summer.

Air Heads or Laffy Taffy

Some of the candy that kids really love are ones that parents also love: chewy ones. Laffy Taffy and Air Heads typically take kids a while to eat, and because of this, it keeps them quiet and busy for a few extra minutes.

Not to mention that these things taste like sugar heaven and naturally kids love that kind of stuff.

Jaw Breakers

Jaw Breakers are excellent candies that are tasty and very easy. A few in each bag and you are set per trick-or-treater. The best part about Jaw Breakers is that they take the longest time to eat, so you can get by with just giving each kid a few.

Were the kids extra-rowdy this year? Opt for the atomic fireballs, they taste like red hots and make for a nice surprise.

Popular Choices

M&M's

The Best Halloween Candy to Give Out

These delicious Halloween treats are so good to make it look like you're giving out a lot of candy at your front door. The tasty bites make for addicting little snacks, but since they get a whole bag of them, it's a nice gesture.

It might be good to just go with plain M&M's because you never know who has peanut allergies and you don't want to be responsible for an allergic reaction.

Just Remember

You don't have to pick just one candy. Mix in a variety of candy and give each child a handful. Oh, and don't give them the option to choose because it will take all night.

Hershey Bars

The Best Halloween Candy to Give Out

Hershey bars are one of the best candies to throw in Halloween gift baskets, and most simple Halloween candy to give. They make them in so many different sizes, that you can really tailor it to your budget and what you're willing to give away. When I was young, and we didn't have many neighbors, my elderly neighbor would give us the jumbo-Hershey bars. We thought it was awesome - and it lasted forever!

Of course, there are tiny mini ones too, if you've got a crowd to keep.

Runner-Ups

I can't end this post leaving you thinking that these are the only popular candies that children like to get while trick-or-treating. So of course, I had to provide you with a list of runner-ups that kids also love to receive. Of course, every child is different, so there is a wide variety of candy that you can pick and still have success!

Some of these other favorite contenders include: Milky Way, Dots, Fun Dip, Gum, 3 Muskateers, and Jaw Breakers.

Top 10 Halloween Crafts For Kids

Halloween is a great time to try your hand at some new decorative crafts. Whether you're a seasoned crafter looking for some new ideas or a first time crafter, you'll find these quick and easy ideas will help liven up the Halloween decor at your house or at a school party. Involve the kids in these easy crafts for lots of family fun time.

#1) Styrofoam Pumpkin Garland

Pick up some Styrofoam balls in different sizes. You can find them at the craft store. Paint them orange. Once dry, you can add black triangle eyes and a spooky mouth. A splash of green paint on top will make a stem. When all the pumpkins have been decorated, hot glue a loop on top of each one for hanging. You can make it with wire, string or felt. String the pumpkins on a length of black yarn. Hang them in the hallway or weave them around a chandelier for a festive touch. These will also look fun if you just fill a bowl on the table with them.

If you want them to look a bit more elegant, you can buy silk leaves and decorate them like the ones shown in the photo that is courtesy of All Free Crafts.

I love this craft idea for decorations at a pumpkin baby shower. If you are hosting a shower in the fall, this theme is a great way to welcome Mom's little pumpkin to the world.

#2) Kids Handprint Ghosts

Use black construction paper and white prints to make ghosts. Dip the child's hand in white paint and have them place it down with fingers together on the black paper. Cut around the handprint to make a ghost shape. Add eyes and a mouth and you've got an easy ghost to hang on the fridge.

You can get detailed step-by-step instructions and see the final product at The Crafting Chicks blog.

Pillowcase Trick or Treat Bags

#3) Pillowcase Trick or Treat Bags

This is a fun craft to do with smaller children as well as older ones. Take some white pillowcases and some Halloween rubber stamps. Using fabric paint, stamp on designs.

You can stencil each child's name on their bag or write it with glitter glue. Use rhinestones and other decorative embellishments to make each bag unique. Children will love using their very own handmade bags when they Trick or Treat.

For the more upscale looking option, you can always make the Martha Stewart version of the trick or treat candy bags like the ones shown to the right.

#4) Painted Halloween Pumpkin Contest

Painted Halloween Pumpkin Contest

Since most children are not able to carve their own pumpkins (and it's no fun just watching the adults do it), have a Pumpkin Decorating night. Instead of carving with sharp knives, children can use all kinds of supplies to decorate the most fantastic pumpkin ever.

Use paint, stamps, googley eyes, felt, pom poms and any other embellishments you have around. Children can get creative and you can relax knowing they won't get hurt. If you have several children or want to invite neighborhood friends, you can award Halloween gifts or prizes for the best pumpkins.

#5) PlayDoh or Foam Cookie Cutter Creatures

Set up a table with an array of Halloween or Fall themed discount cookie cutters. Let children roll out and cut "cookies" from PlayDoh or lightweight craft modeling foam. Poke holes in the top and run a string through each one. Hang them as Halloween decorations on a Halloween tree. You can make one from branches from the yard that you place in agalvanized bucket. Start a new tradition with the decorating of the Halloween tree. (Make sure you designate any rolling pins or cookie cutters that you use on clay as craft only and don't reuse on food.)

To make the Halloween cookie salt dough creatures shown in the photo, go to All Free Crafts to get the recipe and step-by-step instructions.


#6) Black Pom Pom Cats or Spiders

Black Pom Pom Cats or Spiders

With a bunch of black pom poms young kids will love making black cats or spiders. Get glue dots at a craft store (small dots of glue that come on a roll). They're easy for little hands to use and don't drip.

To make a cat, glue one pom pom on to a larger one for a head and body. Add tiny pom poms for feet. You can make tails out of black felt. Google eyes complete the Halloween kitties.

To make the spider shown in the photo to the right, visit Inna's Creations for instructions.

#7) Black Halloween Bats

Pick up the following supplies at a craft supply shop:

  • Black construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Clothespins
  • Googly Eyes

Print out the template and follow the instructions on the video to make these fun bats that you can hang all over the house for Halloween!

#8) Mummy Candy Holder Craft

A fun idea from Parents.com

An inexpensive and easy craft that all kids can do this Halloween. You'll need some supplies that you likely have lying around the house such as disposable plastic drinking cups, plastic water bottles, plastic milk jugs, or whatever kind of plastic container you want to mummify.

Then you just use some cotton balls and googly eyes to create the face and use long pieces of cheesecloth to get the mummy effect.

Don't forget you can get step-by-step instructions and photos at Parents.com!

#9) Spooky Spider Craft

I love this idea because we always decorate the front porch of our house for Halloween (as well as the interior). You likely have many of the objects you need to create this giant spider on hand.

The body is formed using a milk jug that you either paint black or cover in black electrical tape.

The legs you can make from pool noodles or black pipe insulation tubes and the yellow eyes are made from those plastic Easter eggs that you probably hide on your lawn for the annual Easter egg hunt. You can get step-by-step instructions with photos atFamilyFun.com.

#10) Any Pumpkin/Jack o' Lantern Craft - Presented by Lifestyle Editor from Parents Magazine

This fantastic video shows how to create pumpkin decorations out of just about anything. Classic plastic ornaments are filled with orange things like crinkle paper or pom poms and then a Sharpie is used to create a jack o-lantern face on the ornament. Throw pillows are covered in orange fabric and then decorated with black buttons to make a jack o'lantern. Little photo frames that you may have or can buy at the dollar store are made using orange craft paper, orange ribbon and glitter. Check out the video for all kinds of inspiration!

Best Scary Movies For Halloween

Best Scary Movies For Halloween

Spooky and Scary Entertainment for Halloween Night

Scary Halloween movies

If you're a little older and you are over the whole "trick-or-treating" stage, then odds are you might be staying home to celebrate in other festive ways. If you've decided to skip the whole Halloween party scene, then Halloween movies are likely on your mind, and why wouldn't they be? They're the best way to get into the spirit of the holiday without ever having to leave your couch.

Keep in mind, these are not children's movies, so if there are small eyes and ears around, you may want to opt for the Disney Channel or something safe. So gather your friends, get the soda, popcorn and goodie baskets and prepare to be scared!

Scream (I, II, III)

If you've never seen these movies, then you might be missing out.

One of the most popular movies out there, it has been turned into a series so if you have a long night ahead of you, why not stock up on all three of them and make an evening of it?

Kick back and enjoy an early evening in with friends or family. Stock up on popcorn or other Halloween treats for extra bonus points.

Rated: R

Run Time: Varies

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Those planning on watching the movie with you may want to bring earplugs or some sort of protection for their ears. Not only for the chainsaw sounds but merely for any screams you might let out.

The plot is said to have been based off a true story, however I think it's just been proven to have been loosely based.

Rated: R

Run Time: 98 Minutes The Ultimate Scary Halloween Guide

Psycho

Made in 1960

One of the oldest scary movies around, it still gets watched and rated in this category to this day (50 years later). This movie is inspired by the same killer that Texas Chainsaw Massacre was inspired by, Ed Gein.

If you're expecting intense graphics and clear picture, this movie might be one that you skip over. But if you can appreciate the fine arts from back-in-the-day, then it's a movie worth seeing.

Rated: R

Run Time: 109 Minutes The Ultimate Scary Halloween Guide

Poltergeist

Made in 1982

Another old movie but a good movie, this film was made back in 1982 and has been seen on reruns ever since. One of the most popular and haunting ghost stories out there, Tobe Hooper and Steven Spielberg makes a scary movie that might just give you nightmares.

Rated: PG (Can you believe it?)

Run Time: 114 Minutes

Other Scary Movie Picks

More honorable mentions that you didn't find above include:

  • "IT" By Steven King
  • The Amityville Horror
  • Shutter
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • An American Haunting
  • The Ring
  • Grudge
  • Blair Witch Project
  • SAW (1, 2, 3)
  • Thirteen Ghosts
  • Friday the 13th
  • Cabin Fever
  • Dawn of the Dead
  • Hostel
  • Urban Legend
  • The Hills Have Eyes
  • Paranormal Activity

If you have a loved one who really enjoys scary movies, surprise them with a Halloween movie gift basket. They'll enjoy it that night and for years to come.

Flying with Witches Story

Scary Halloween Gift Ideas

Since it's the time of Halloween candy and scares, we wanted to share a little story with you. Read on, if you dare...

While living in one of their various log cabin residences along the Pennsylvania-West Virginia border, the Bayles family discovered that certain hardships which they were experiencing were due to the witchcraft of a neighbor. She troubled them at first by causing their rest to be disturbed by a bucket of cats, who would suddenly appear in the room, frolic over the beds, and then disappear just as mysteriously as they had come, since the house was shut up for the night and there was no opening through which animals of their size could enter or leave. Following this, the Bayleses were visited by a sudden shaking of the whole house, which was repeated night after night, sometimes throwing them out of their beds. To his wife's questions about these doings, Bayles would make no reply except that "the Devil was about; but he knew who was doing it; he'd fix them." His opportunity apparently came when the witch paid them a visit, during which Bayles kept a close watch on her, and finally thought he had detected her in an effort to burn the house down by inserting a live coal between the log wall and the inner board wall of the cabin. He immediately accused her. She, of course, appeared shocked by the charge, but he persisted in it; told her that he knew of her evil doings: that she had come at first "with cats," then "with trying to shake the house down"; and finally, heaping invectives on her, he ordered her to go and never return. She fled hastily, and they neither saw her nor were troubled by her magic again.

At one time Bayles was called to Bellaire, Ohio (about forty miles away from where he was then living), to help a girl who had fallen into a witch's power and was wasting away, no local practitioner being able to free her from the enchantment. Upon arriving at the victim's home, he straightway set about his spells, and took up his quarters in another house near at hand-apparently in order to practice his magic in greater seclusion. However, he gave the girl certain explicit directions: not to give anything to the witch or to any outsider; not to admit the witch, or any other person outside the family, into the house; and if she saw the witch coming, to close and fasten the doors and windows, and try to find a place in the house where she could not be seen. But if the witch spoke to her, then she should reply by cursing the intruder and ordering her away.

The girl promised to fulfill her instructions, of course; but three times after that she let the sorceress enter the house, and each time excused herself to Bayles by saying that she had been deceived: she had thought the visitor was her sweetheart. On the last of these occasions, Bayles himself met the witch as he was approaching the house and she was leaving it. She stopped and looked steadfastly at him, and he suddenly realized that a strange feeling was coming over him. If he "hadn't thought what he was about," she would have cast a spell over him also. But he stopped in his tracks and "throwed the spell away from off’n him"; whereupon the witch departed, and he went on to the house. This time he told the girl that if she did not follow his orders in every detail, he could do nothing for her-he was wasting his time, and might better go home. This threat frightened her into strict obedience, and the next time her enemy came, every door and window was fastened and the girl was nowhere in sight. Round the house went the witch, trying each door and window; and finally, looking through a small aperture, she spied her victim. Immediately she called to the girl, asking why she was shut out, and if this were the way to treat a friend.

The girl answered that the witch was no friend of hers, but had done her much harm, and would do more if she could. Then, cursing her enemy, the girl commanded her to depart. When the witch heard this, she took to Hight, screaming "so that you could have heard her a mile away," and shortly afterward died.

Mrs. Rogers, who believes as firmly as Mrs. Sayre in the efficacy of flying, told me this anecdote: As she was going by the house of an old woman who was reputed a witch (and whose dwelling she never passed without muttering a few precautionary curses), the woman suddenly ran out of doors and came straight toward her, crying "Chicken guts, chicken feathers, chicken guts, chicken feathers!" This scared Mrs. Rogers so badly that she: Fled at full speed, screaming out oaths and invectives as she ran. She attributed her safety then and afterward to the curses she had leveled at the old woman; for she was sure that the above words carried a malign spell. And on her way out the door she dropped her witch boot.

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About Sarah 195 Articles
Sarah is a gift-giving and party planning expert that will be sharing her favorite recipes, gift ideas, and affordable tips for throwing great parties.

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