Halloween Hangover

How do you avoid the seemingly inevitable Halloween hangover?How do you have good, clean fun this Halloween and still have energy for November and December?


Well, it’s time to start right and take control.  Sit down today and list what each family member wants to be for Halloween, how much time can be spent finishing up the costumes, and what the budget will allow for each costume.


This list will alert you to difficult or expensive costumes and allow you to negotiate to a more practical level. If at all possible, try to encourage simpler costumes that can be saved for re-use year to year by other family members.


Decorate and Carve

Hopefully, Halloween decorations are easy to find and get out.  As you begin to decorate, remember that Christmas is just around the corner and too much time, effort, and money spent now will exhaust your energy and interest for a full-blown decorating session in a few weeks.


One tired woman commented to me that she found it best to keep all decorations in one room, thus confining the holiday focus and relieving her from the pressure to decorate every bathroom and individual children’s bedroom.  I liked her idea.  Keeping Halloween décor simpler would increase future holiday decorating capacity.


As soon as the pumpkins have been purchased, select a mutually agreeable night for carving.  Sharp knives, an inexpensive plastic tablecloth to protect your working surface, and older clothes for all participants make for a fun time together.


Pumpkin seeds can be separated from the mess, washed thoroughly, and then roasted.  Put retrieved seeds in a solution of one quart of water and 1 teaspoon of salt for 24 hours.  Drain completely.  Roast at 200 degrees for one hour on a greased cookie sheet, stirring every 15 minutes.  Eating seeds from the pumpkins you have carved makes the holiday doubly delicious.



Prepare Costumes

Begin immediately to work with each child, starting with the youngest, to complete his or her costume needs.  (If you begin with the oldest, who usually wants a more elaborate design, you will end up having to match that standard with each subsequent costume you purchase or make.)


Keep the costumes as simple and classic as possible, always designing, purchasing or making them with the goal to store them for use again and again.  As each costume is finished, work with another child of your family.  These tasks must become a priority to avoid the last-day, last minute rush.


Choose Classic Costumes

Classical costumes for yourself and your spouse, ones that can be brought out year-to-year without much hassle, add to your annual Halloween ease.


For example, my good friend is a green-faced witch each Halloween, complete with pointed hat, a false chin mole, a flowing black robe, and miniature broomstick hanging from a flashy belt.  Her supplies fit nicely in a sturdy box for storage year to year.  Her spouse is a bearded wizard with funky hat and a star-studded robe that also nicely fits into the same storage box.


No matter what other pressures the day might bring, simple additions of makeup, props, and robes transform them easily and simply into new Halloween creatures.  They can join their children in the fun because they have learned to keep Halloween easy.  Their friends and neighbors look forward with repetitive delight to their uniquely grotesque looks.


Trick or Treats and More


Make similar decisions about the treats for doorbell ringers, the dinner menu, and the overflow of collected candy.

Add “Halloween candy” to this week’s grocery purchases and get that job done. Choose candies that would be suitable for Thanksgiving and December/January holidays (just in case there are some leftovers).  If candy doesn’t suit you, try giving out quarters, small packages of kleenex, a toothbrush, or another child’s tool.


Serve thick, hot soup with freshly baked bread twisted into “bones” from shaped refrigerator bread dough.  Or, added food coloring to scrambled eggs and have “green eggs and ham.”  Whatever the menu, repeat the same meal year to year to establish a treasured Halloween dinner tradition.


Decide together as a family how to handle leftover, collected candy.  One wise mother lets her children eat at will on Halloween night and then safely stows all extras for dessert on subsequent Friday nights.  This keeps the dentist at bay and the candy all in one place during the next twelve months.


When Halloween is over, pack away the costumes as neatly as possible in storage containers on the morning after the big day.


Purchased masks will last many years if kept in their own personal box inside the larger container during storage months.  Putting clothing for each costume together in sealed, labeled two-gallon Ziploc bags makes retrieving the complete costume a cinch.   Label the Halloween decoration and costume container(s) and put them away for another year’s fun next October.


Remember, Halloween hangovers won’t happen if you plan thoroughly now, make preparations early, and clean up completely when the fun is done!



~Marie Ricks .  Photos from scx.hu.  Used with permission.


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