October would not be complete without the smell of apple cider, hayrides, and pumpkin spice. Bringing these things, as well as many others, into your home can be an easy and fun way to get into the Fall craze. Try a few of these suggestions or go down the list and do all of them with your kiddos. Chances are you will have just as much fun carving those pumpkins as they will. Here are 13 ideas to get your house ready for Halloween night.
1. Grab your kids and head to your local pumpkin patch. Make a point to take a hayride while you’re there and let your children pick out their own pumpkins from the pumpkin patch. This is also a great time to take a family photo!
2. Once your pumpkins are carved, light up your jack-o’-lanterns with battery-operated tea lights for a fun and glowing-filled night.
3. Take a couple of spice sticks and toss them in a pot of apple cider. Bring to a low boil/slow simmer and let the aroma of everything October waft through your house. Your kids will love coming in from the brisk cold outdoors to a warm and inviting home. When you’re ready to drink the apple cider, take the spice sticks out and pour into special tea cups for your kids to enjoy.
4. Caramel apples aren’t just for enjoying at the fair anymore. These delicious treats are relatively easy to make. Grab a bag of apples from the grocery store and a bag of caramel candies. Heat the candies in a large pot until you can stir with a creamy/syrupy consistency and dunk your apples into the caramel sauce one at a time. For the handle, use a skewer cut in half and poked into the apple. Let your kids decorate their apple with whatever candy they like. A few ideas for toppings include crushed nuts, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, rainbow or chocolate sprinkles, crushed cookies, M&Ms.
5. The Dollar Store has some great decorations for next to nothing. What kid doesn’t like to hang fake cobwebs from their front doorway? Grab a few pumpkin-printed trash bags to hold your leaves, spider webs for the front entryway, and paper mice to tape onto your stairwell and you will have the whole neighborhood clan wanting to come and see your house Halloween night.
6. Pumpkin bread, banana bread, zucchini bread, and spice bread are a few of the season’s favorite treats. It seems that everyone has a famous family recipe. Why not carry on the tradition of making bread for your family like your grandmother used to? This is a great way to get your kids to eat breakfast in the morning and they’re getting a nice portion of fruits and vegetables in their bread (depending on what kind of bread you make). Let your little ones help you buy the ingredients and afterward, have them measure out the flour and whisk the eggs. They will feel really good about themselves and chances are, they will be more likely to help you with future recipes in the kitchen.
7. A bowl of candy corn, peanuts, M&Ms, and popcorn is the perfect Halloween mix for any sweet tooth. If you are prone to putting your hand into the bowl one too many times, put it out of sight where you are less likely to overindulge. If you don’t mind the extra helpings, have at it and put that bowl smack dab on the kitchen counter.
8. Fall décor has a way of accumulating over the years - as does any seasonal decoration. Take inventory of the items you don’t want and donate or sell them to make room for new items. Kids love to help with setting up something special in their home and Halloween is no different. Let them help you get those tubs out from the basement and reminisce over holidays past.
9. Halloween costumes aren’t just for Halloween night. Any parent knows that these pieces of clothing are like gold. Let your kids get out their old costumes and dress up to their hearts’ delight before the big night. Save the costume they will be wearing this year for the big night but let them have fun exploring and using their imaginations from collective pieces in years past.
10. Candles can sometimes feel like a thing of the past with all of these infusers that are out now, but they really do give off a warm feeling in the home, and a nice scent. Get your favorite smelling candle and make a special home for it on your counter in the kitchen or on your dining room table. (Safety first! If you have wee ones, make sure it is up high and somewhere safe where little hands can’t access.) The feeling that a candle gives us usually helps with the task of doing the dishes, folding laundry, or any other household chore.
11. A Welcome Mat can seem like such a simple thing and is often overlooked, but it is the first thing your visitors will see upon entering your home. Head to a home décor store and pick up a cute, whimsical doormat. Not only will it look nice to have something new and in-season outside your home, but it will give your place an inviting feel to all who show up for trick-or-treating.
12. Basic cable usually airs something special for Halloween like It’s the Great Big Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Make it a special occasion and let your kids stay up late to enjoy some of the programs you used to watch when you were a kid.
13. Last but not least, paint the kids’ faces. Who says face painting is only for carnivals, fairs, and festivals? It will be a fun bonding time as you channel your inner makeup artist.
Meagan is a parenting journalist, speaker, and author of her debut book, I See You. On Halloween, she looks forward to hearing what her kids want to dress up as this year and letting them eat more candy than they should. Sign up for her free newsletter at meaganruffing.com and like her on Facebook, facebook.com/writermeaganruffing/.
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