Halloween, whether you love it or hate it, is everywhere.
Each year it gets bigger and more ridiculous.
Would you believe I saw a Halloween Advent Calendar in the supermarket last week? The world has gone mad!
Despite my shock at the items on sale and annoyance at the cost of them, I am usually 100% down for the spooky season. My plans are only ever hindered when my Halloween hating husband steps in. His opinions are firmly rooted in the thought that it is an American holiday, it doesn’t have the same ring in the UK and that trick or treating feels like begging. I can’t say I disagree with everything he says, but to me, it’s a good excuse for a bit of spooky fun with the kids.
Although trick or treating is not something we have ever done (that definitely doesn’t have the same feel where we live), I’ve always found other ways to have Halloween fun. With 2020 going into the books as the year that it all went wrong, we have decided to lean into the spooky season more than ever before.
We have decorated with hanging bats and spiders (which I keep thinking are bloody real!!). We are going to be doing spooky baking, pumpkin carving and face painting. Halloween night (while maintaining our rule of 6) we have invited a little friend of the girls over for a freaky film night.
I honestly feel like this year more than ever, the kids need to have fun at every opportunity. The differing rules in differing areas are keeping us apart from family, we’ve missed birthdays and celebrations. Even school is now different from what they recognise.
So, if you are with me in thinking that the kids need some fun, this post shares a few ideas on how to inject a bit of Spooktacular merriment into your Halloween weekend.
We’ve found loads of small, cheap Halloween decorations in places like Poundland and Aldi. Even some of the bigger named supermarkets have some affordable decorations.
Normally I refuse to spend a fortune on decorations; however, my one splurge this year has been a fall leaf garland. I bought it from Amazon for £12.99. I wanted to give the living room an autumnal vibe, and the 2 pack that I bought were beautiful. I was very impressed with the quality, and I love how they look.
To take the house from an autumnal abode to a haunted home I bought some extremely cheap Halloween additions.
Hanging bats, spiders webs, mini pumpkins and something that was literally labelled as spooky cloth have all been purchased for as little as £1 each. You can go as big or as small as your budget allows. I gave myself £8 for Halloween tat. Watching the kids and their giddy reaction to hanging the decorations and spreading web all over the house suggested that it was probably the best £8 I’ve ever spent.
I have heard so many parents complaining recently about the clean up that comes with pumpkin carving. You are my people. I see you!
Some parents are so on the ball, they collect the seeds of the pumpkin and roast them for healthy snacks or use them for sensory activities. Unfortunately, I am not that mum! To me, the inside of a pumpkin is sticky, slimy and stinky and while I bow down to those who can utilise every bit of the fruit, this is one thing I am happy to sit out on.
Having personally tried pumpkin and trying to feed it to the family on more than one occasion, I can safely say it isn’t to our taste.
So, if like me you are a pumpkin waster, fear not because bin bags and masking tape are the answer.
Before you start with the hollowing and carving of the pumpkins, cover the table you are using with the bin bags taping the edges down so that no surface is left exposed. It’ll look a bit like a scene from Dexter, but it makes it so much easier when it comes to clean up. You can just peel the bags off and your table should be pumpkin free.
Decorating pumpkins is such a good laugh. It is something that everyone can get involved in and I love seeing each of the kids personalities pour into their designs.
Pumpkins can be bought from supermarkets for really reasonable prices. If you are lucky enough to live near a pick your own pumpkin patch, I would imagine that this would make a great day out. Regrettably, it’s something we are yet to experience. Perhaps next year once the world has calmed down a bit, it is something we can finally do. For now, though, it’s little pumpkins from Aldi for us.
Check out this year’s designs.
If in doubt, bake it out. Baking is such a fun pass time for children and Halloween is one of the best times to bust out the baking gear.
Cakes, biscuits, krispies and bark are some of the easiest yet most versatile things you can do. The ingredients are cheap and the recipes simple.
Some of my personal favourites for Halloween are shattered glass cupcakes and mud pit bark.
Recipes for a host of delicious treats can be found in the link below.
There is never a better time of year than Halloween for getting creative with the make-up. Even if you don’t go out, it’s so much fun face painting and turning each other into spooky creatures and creepy characters. Over the years my children have enjoyed being all kinds of twisted things, from a slashed up red-riding hood to a creepy clown. It’s the time of year to let the dark side of your imagination run wild.
So, while we’re talking about ‘fancy dress’ I must ask; does anyone else get frustrated with the cost of the costumes? Or is that just me?
The outfits in the shops are usually priced at £10-£12 EACH! (and that’s the cheaper end)
With three children to include in spooky dress-up fun, the words ‘F that’ are quietly muttered.
To get around this, for the past few years I have made tutus for the girls using a tulle fabric that I purchase for £1.50 per metre and a strip of elasticated ribbon for £1 per metre. The fabrics come in a range of colours so you can match the tutus to most costume ideas.
Simply cut the fabric into strips and tie around the ribbon. So easy, so effective!!
Below are some of the looks we’ve done through the years.
Snuggle Up Spooky Style
Depending on what area you live in, trick or treating this year is a no-go. Every year for us is a trick or treating no-go. It’s not something me or my husband are comfortable with, particularly in our area. Where we live is full of retired or elderly country folk. The last thing we want is to be held responsible for scaring dear old Gladys to death. It’s a small village and blame travels quicker than news. We do, however, always buy sweets for anyone who does decide to brave trick or treating.
Every year instead of trick or treating, we have a themed movie night. It is so much fun sharing our favourite (family-friendly) horror movies with our kids. We go heavy on the snacks with popcorn, crisps and homemade treats (see above links). This year we have been lucky enough to borrow a projector. This has made our spooky viewing bigger and better than ever before.
This year, try busting out the blankets and cuddle up together for a family fright night.
See below for our Top 10 favourite (family-friendly) Halloween movies.
- Hocus Pocus (in my opinion THE greatest Halloween film of all time! – it’s my favourite)
- Wallace and Gromit. The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
- Monster House
- The Adams Family & The Adams Family Values (a fabulous choice for a double feature)
- The Haunted Mansion
- Hotel Transylvania
- The Burbs (better suited for older children)
- The Witches
As a bonus suggestion, you won’t go far wrong with The Harry Potter series (obviously)
So there we have it, some simple and inexpensive suggestions for how to keep it creepy this Halloween. I hope everyone has a spectacularly spooky time while staying safe and following the rules.
Let me know what your Halloween traditions are in the comments and if you try any of the ideas out tell me how it goes.
Until next time..XO