Make Your Home a Hit on Halloween
Looking for easy ways to make your house a neighborhood hit this Halloween night? If you’re tired of sitting by the door with a candy bowl, mix it up this year and impress children from around the block with these fun ways to hand out Halloween treats.
Make It Fun:
Too often trick-or-treating is repetitive and sometimes boring for school-age children. Make the middle and elementary school kids feel as if they have earned their goodies by requesting that they do something in order to pick their candy. For example, as a tradition at my house we make children dance. Yeah, that’s right, dance. Stay with me here for a second and it will make sense. The neighborhood where my family lived had quite a few children who were very young, so instead of decorating our house with cobwebs and spiders, my parents instead set up a disco ball, strobe light and a stereo that blared music hits from the ’70s. Our annual disco Halloween has become a huge hit among parents and trick-or-treaters alike who love to boogie for candy. Of course, even those who refuse to dance are welcome to the treats, but performing a task as simple as dancing, telling a joke, or doing a few jumping jacks in order to earn that Reese’s is much more satisfying than simply ringing the doorbell and reciting “trick or treat” for the 25th time.
Hanging a piñata from your porch or a tree branch in your yard is another fun way to interact with trick-or-treaters that is easy and sure to make your house a hit. Load the piñata with candy and other small goodies. When trick-or-treaters come to your house, invite them to try to break the piñata using a broom handle, whiffle ball bat or stick. You can decide whether or not to blindfold them, but either way, give each child one chance to break the piñata and then allow them to pick a treat from a candy bowl. As the night progresses, the piñata will continue to become more damaged. When it is finally broken open, allow all of the children at your house at the time to split the treats inside of it. Warning: this may cause repeat trick-or-treaters.
Make It Scary:
If you are looking for something a little scarier this Halloween, try this next idea to make a low-maintenance candy bowl on the front porch more fun. Put the bowl on a side table next to a mannequin or other spooky figure. Place the fake ghoul’s arm into the bowl but, instead of putting the fake hand into it as well, use your own hand. Hide behind the figure and when trick-or-treaters come to pick out their treats, grab their hands for a good trick. This is perfect for giving older school-age children a little scare.
Use the element of surprise in another way to frighten older kids. Advance disclaimer: this is best for more mature trick-or-treaters who are less likely to become too frightened from the surprise. Make your yard and house look as spooky as possible. There are numerous ways to have fun with this. Drape cobwebs around the porch and on bushes; play a spooky soundtrack behind a mist machine; add other creepy figures and decorations to set the mood. Then, find an accomplice to help you execute the scare. If you have older children who feel they are too old to trick-or-treat, they are perfect for this role. Have them hide near the walkway to the front door while remaining out of sight. Trick-or-treaters will already be cautious walking through the scary yard, so help to calm their nerves while letting them pick their candy. As they turn to leave or while they are at the door, have your partner in crime jump out to scare them.
Make It Easy:
Finally, if you would prefer to have a more low-maintenance Halloween while still ensuring the children have fun, create a “trunk or treat.” Leave your car in an accessible, central place in your driveway or yard with its trunk open. Fill the trunk with goodies. Use poster board to create teeth or fangs that will hang from the top of the trunk. Make a large tongue from a red plastic tablecloth and place it so it hangs out from the bottom of the truck. This will transform your trunk into a huge open mouth that children must reach into to grab their treats. Get creative with the mouth to make it look like a vampire or monster for a fun and very easy way to distribute candy.
Make Halloween fun this year for trick-or-treaters and your family by changing up the way you hand out candy. Try one of these suggestions or create your own! Who knows, you might just begin a new Halloween tradition this year. HLM
Sources: manhattandentalcare.org and the experience of the author.