My top tips for planning costumes and decor, handing out candy or small toys, keeping kids safe while trick-or-treating, and saving you time afterwards. Updated October 2023
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. It’s full of fun, I get to dress up in a costume, and can we just talk about that candy bowl that sits on the counter the whole month of October? (Not the candy I hand out to neighbors, but the candy I hand out to myself every afternoon) But with all that fun, there’s a lot of stress that comes along with it. Here are my best tips for planning, prepping, shopping, and pulling off your most Organized-ish Halloween ever.
Tips For Shopping And Prepping
Skip Online Costume Shopping
I know, it’s so tempting to just buy costumes online and avoid the crowd at the store. But costumes are made differently than regular clothes, and they almost never fit the same as the clothes your kiddos have in their closets.
It sucks to have to put on real pants, fight your way through the costume aisle, and wait in line for a fitting room, but I promise you it’s worth not having a meltdown on October 30 when your delivery is late or the costume doesn’t fit. Save yourself the last-minute stress explosion and buy it in-person at the store.
Check Thrift Stores For Costumes, Decor, and Party Supplies
These stores are gold mines for Halloween stuff, but get there early because seasonal stuff sells out fast. You can find great costumes that are in perfect condition (because they’ve only been worn once) plus super cheap clothing and accessories for DIY costumes.
You can also score home and party decor for a fourth of what you would pay in a store. I went to a party once that took the creepy factor to the max by decorating with old dolls. The host bought a huge trash bag full of them for $2 at a thrift store, and that was the best scary decor I’ve ever seen.
Buy A Sunday Paper For Bulk Candy Coupons
Even if you don’t subscribe to the local newspaper, it’s worth hitting up the convenience store next time you get gas this month. All throughout October, candy companies are cranking out dollar-discount and BOGO coupons to push through their fun-sized stock, and those coupons fill the coupon books every Sunday. Pair the dollar-discount coupons with the BOGO store sales for double the savings! Sometimes you even get all the candy for FREE using that stacking method!
Tips For Handing Out Candy At Home
Skip The Cellophane Bags
Some people go over the top with individual gift bags tied up in strings. This is fine if you live in a neighborhood of ten kids or less, but for larger areas, save yourself the time and effort and go OG with a bowl of individually wrapped candies. Halloween isn’t the time to prove that you’re a great gift-giver.
Join The Teal Pumpkin Project
Nothing is worse to a kid with food allergies than Trick Or Treating. They watch all their friends gather up bags full of loot while they’re stuck on the sidelines because a peanut bar may slide out of it’s wrapper and ruin their whole night with a trip to the ER.
Pick up some cheap toys from the Dollar Tree for kids who aren’t able to receive food items, and display a teal pumpkin in an area where parents can see it. The kids and parents will be so grateful that you considered their needs. My favorite non-food item to give out is these fun Make-A-Face sticker sheets. I’d almost trade a Snickers for one myself!
The Porch Light Signal Is Still In Effect
If you have candy to give, turn on your porch light and sit outside. Make it extra fun by bringing your Alexa device out with you and have her play a Halloween music channel.
If you run out of candy, or aren’t handing out any at all, make sure your porch light is off. This is still the universal sign to parents that their kids should not approach this home.
Tips For Taking Kids Trick-Or-Treating
Never approach homes of people you don’t know. Stick with your own neighborhood, the local mall, or local events within your community. And stay with your kids, no matter how old they are. Make sure they have flashlights and stay in well-lit areas.
Bring Along First-Aid And Costume Repair Supplies
Kids go wild for trick-or-treating, and when you throw in masks and awkward costumes, they’re bound to get hurt. Bring along your first aid kit to treat scraped knees and minor cuts, plus antihistamine in case they get stung and have a slight allergic reaction.
It’s also wise to bring some clear packing tape for costume tears, plus a change of clothes for your kiddos in case their costume is damaged beyond repair.
Plan Your Trip
Take time to plan out exactly where you will go, how long you will be there, and give this information to a family member (who isn’t going with you) as a safety measure. Halloween is hectic, so having a plan will help you feel a little less out-of-control when the madness begins.
Tips For Post-Halloween
Store Candy Wisely
Aside from the fact that hidden candy in bedroom closets equals a never-ending trail of ants, it’s a good idea to have some kind of candy storage system to keep things tidy and fresh.
Don’t store chocolate candies with fruity hard candies because chocolate can absorb the other flavors making it taste really gross. (Don’t ask how I know…) Keep chocolates in a separate container, in a cool area away from windows. And make sure all candy storage containers have a lid to prevent sneaky pets from getting into potentially toxic foods.
Be Realistic About Keeping Costumes
I guarantee, 100%, your kid will not wear that costume again next year. Unless your kiddos love playing dress-up and you’re sure they’ll wear them around the house until they grow out of them, don’t waste your time packing them up and storing them. Costumes are usually made from very cheap materials so they barely last more than a few wears anyway, so if the costume is in good condition, go ahead and put it in your donation bin on November 1st.
Evaluate Your Decor
Just like Christmas decor, you can end up with way more than you actually use. As you’re taking down decorations after Halloween is over, take note of anything you didn’t use that’s still in the storage bins. Decide if they should be kept or donated.
And also give the decor you did use a quick quality-control check. Make sure they aren’t damaged, and wipe them down to remove dust and dirt so they’ll be nice and clean for next year.
Pack them up carefully with bubble wrap and kraft paper so they don’t get damaged during storage. This post is actually about storing Christmas decor, but it can totally be used for any holiday decor, so it’s worth checking out.
The Ultimate Halloween Planner
Loving the planner sheets in this blog post? They are all from the Organized-ish Halloween Planner and it’s now available on organizedish.com in both single sale and as part of the All-Access Membership library. This planner helps you plan every detail of Halloween parties, trick-or-treating, baking, and everything in between. And the best part is, it’s printable so you can reprint every year and use it over and over again. Grab yours here!