Author: Melissa Feldmeyer
Ah, Halloween…. The gentle introduction into cold weather and the holiday season. I have been a life-long lover of all things Halloween. I don’t even get mad when I see decorations in the store in August the way I do with seeing Christmas decorations in September. I just get butterflies in my stomach, because Halloween….Is….Coming.
I was always a kid who liked to be scared. In that you-are-perfectly-safe-and-your-life-is-not-in-actual-danger kind of way. I’d sneak Stephen King novels at much too young an age and read them by my nightlight after everyone was asleep. Then I wouldn’t be able to sleep because I just read Stephen King novels by my nightlight. But I regretted nothing. A solid ghost story and a competitive game of tether ball were the 2 ways I got my adrenaline rushes back in the day. There was just something fun about the spooky… the unknown…. And that for this one season it was acceptable and expected to be a little on the dark and dramatic side, both of which I was very good at.
And of course one of the best parts of having kids is being able to live your childhood all over again with them and getting to make new family traditions of your own. I’ve shared below my “recipe” to prepare for a memorable family Halloween.
Ingredient 1: Visit the pumpkin patch
I grew up out in the desert, so our only choice for pumpkin picking was going to the grocery store and pointing to the one we wanted. I love living somewhere that my kids can have the full experience. We go to the same place every year- Lindner’s Pumpkin Farm & Corn Maze. It’s low key, a good price and has so many activities for kids. Plus it’s always fun to have the kids pose in front of the same sign every year and seeing how much they’ve grown. But I know there are other amazing places to go like Swan’s and Green Meadows to name a few.
I feel like I always have to restrain myself from going too early- because when you do… come pumpkin carving time, you could have a rotten pumpkin on your hand. Which I’ve learned the messy smelly way. If this happens to you… you might have to up the recipe to 2 visits to the pumpkin patch.
Ingredient 2: A dash of decorations
Decorating is my absolute favorite part of getting ready for Halloween. And it can be so easy! My top tips if you haven’t really done much in the way of decorating before is:
- Dollar Tree- especially early in the season, they have amazing decorations for Halloween and best of all – you don’t have to worry about price tags, because it’s all $1.
- Goodwill- They always have fun holiday décor here, plus many items are new from last year that didn’t sell and are still in original packaging. You can also get creative here and buy some of those Christmas Villages that are in abundance and spray paint them black, put a purple or green Christmas light inside, and suddenly the snow covered bakery becomes… the haunted bakery….. muahaha.
- After Halloween sales- This one is a little annoying I know… because it requires you to think almost a year in advance, but almost all of my higher quality decorations have come from after Halloween clearances. At Walgreens and Target, if you go the day after Halloween, and sometimes even a couple days after if they have inventory left, you can get decorations at a steep STEEP discount. A few years ago I got two 3 foot dancing Frankenstein’s at 90% off- they were like $3 each!!!! (This year my 5 year old has taken a liking to one and claims he’s her husband named Ricky…. but I still feel good about the purchase overall). Even now if you go to places like Michaels they have Halloween decorations at 50% off. Stock up now, then you’ll be all set come next decorating season.
And if all else fails, just don’t dust for like a month and people will think the spider webs are just a part of your Halloween décor….
Ingredient 3: At least Five Halloween movies
Nothing better than a spooky movie to put you in the Halloween spirit. A few of our family favorites, that are almost all on Netflix, are:
#1- Nightmare Before Christmas. Always and Forever #1. Never gets old, and an overall great message about the importance of being true to yourself. Can also double as a Christmas movie.
#2- Hocus Pocus- I saw this in the theater in 2nd grade! Can get a little spooky for the littlest of little ones but overall fun for the kids and nostalgic for us parents.
#3- Curious George- Halloween Boo Fest- The Tale of No Noggin is great for the tiny ones and the song gets stuck in your head… for better OR for worse….
#4- It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! Who doesn’t love the Great Pumpkin! We all need to believe in something…
#5- Room on the Broom. We love the book and the kids freaked out when they learned it was also a movie. Read the book then watch the movie!
Ingredient 4: Halloween Jokes so your kids think you’re cool
I have a neat plastic Halloween advent calendar (that I got from Goodwill BTW) that I bought and then was like- “What am I going to put in these slots?” Candy seemed silly in this candy filled holiday time, so I decided on jokes. Halloween jokes. My kids are looking forward to hearing them every day and I love to make those kids laugh. Feel free to steal these gems:
Q: What kind of pants to ghosts wear?
Q: What song do vampires hate?
A: You are my sunshine.
Q: Which of the witch’s friends was good at baseball?
A: The bat.
Ingredient 5: Weather appropriate costume
My mom was the queen of costumes. She sewed all 3 of our costumes from thin air every year. I don’t know how she did it, and I definitely cannot…. My kids have been a lot of different things: burrito, koala, pumpkin, robot, Ms. Frizzle, ice cream sundae, witch, hot dog. Lots of food costumes in there. Because they are my kids after all. Some I have bought at the store, some I made, some I asked my mom to make. The amount of effort I put into my kid’s costumes seems to be directly correlated with how stressful my life was at that period of time each year (this year= all Amazon Prime here people).
However your costume gets to you- the most important Wisconsin thing to remember is to get a size or two too big so that it fits OVER a puffy jacket. Because winter is coming and it is going to come on the day your kids go trick or treating and it is going to be rough scene if you ask your kid to put a coat over their prized costume.
That’s it! That’s all there is to it. Not too complicated and you didn’t even have to turn pre-heat your oven for this recipe. Do this and you’ll bound to have a good time this Halloween. One might even say spell-bound (haha).
Happy trick or treating!!!