With the spooky season sneaking up, it’s time to get ready for the waves of costumed visitors about to demand candy at your door. Here’s how to make the night even more festive.
Make sure your walkway and porch are well lit. Make sure kids know you’re home and can make it safely to your door by ensuring the path to it isn’t too dark and scary. The porch light and a jack-o’-lantern should be sufficient, but if you want to do it up right, check out our Halloween outdoor lighting guide.
Decorate your yard, porch and/or front door. Fake cobwebs, jack-o’-lanterns, and possibly even an animatronic mummy or two go a long way toward making your house spookily inviting. Replace your front porch light with a colored orange one or hang rubber vampire bats over the door. (Extra points for black lights and fog machines.) Just don’t get too hardcore horror – you’ll be getting trick-or-treaters of all ages, so best to skip the corpse with blood dripping from its eye sockets.
Play spooky sound effects or fun Halloween music. There are plenty of eerie sounds you can play to set a scary mood, from demonic laughter to blowing wind; just do a web search to find free MP3 effects. Or play some fun Halloween classics on repeat. A few suggestions: “Monster Mash,” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt-Kickers; “Thriller,” by Michael Jackson; and “Ghostbusters,” by Ray Parker, Jr.
Dress up, even if it’s just a little. You don’t want to let the kids have all the fun, do you? Dust off that old werewolf costume from the garage, or just put on a witch’s hat or stick in some vampire teeth.
Offer sweet treat options. Chocolate’s the classic, but remember to offer gummies, red licorice, or another sweet treat sans dairy or nuts for kids with allergies. But don’t give away anything unwrapped, whether it’s candy apples or your grandmother’s famous brownies — their parents will probably just make them throw it out anyway. And save the healthy stuff for the rest of the year — kids don’t get excited about coming to your door to get a snack-size package of baby carrots or raisins.
Stock up on candy. Not sure how much to get? A couple of bags’ worth is usually enough, but if your neighborhood has a lot of kids and is especially popular for trick-or-treating, you may need as many as five bags. Just make sure it’s candy you like well enough to eat if you have leftovers, but not so much that you gobble it all down before the trick-or-treaters show up! Parcel out two pieces of candy to each kid so you don’t end up running out; you can always up the per-kid ratio later in the evening if it looks like you’ll have extras. In case you still run out, keep a fresh roll of new quarters (or half-dollars if your bank stocks them and you’re in a big-spender mood) on reserve.
Keep pets in another room. You don’t want to have to worry about Fido or Fluffy fleeing (or freaking) every time a pint-sized princess comes knocking, so keep your four-legged friends confined to another area of the house.