Halloween was a big part of my childhood. My hometown (if I can call it that, it’s really more of an isolated suburb) took the holiday very seriously and almost every house would participate in trick-or-treating. My siblings and I would plan our costumes months in advance and my amazing Mum would sacrifice her nights sewing into the wee hours of the morning to have them ready for us. She even sewed personalised candy bags to collect our treats and goodies in - I’ve kept mine all these years and it's one of my most prized possessions.
We didn’t have all the themed candy you see nowadays. Instead, neighbours would offer candied apples, homemade iced biscuits, popcorn balls, fruit and lots of Allen's Macintosh toffees. It was a fairly tight knit community and we mostly knew or knew of the families that lived in the homes we visited, so it felt safe and we happily walked around until it was dark out. I absolutely loved it! *My mind has wandered off multiple times while I’ve been writing this, reminiscing on all the fun we had. Like, I would seriously spend the morning of Halloween decorating the front porch with my drawings of witches, pumpkins and bats! Obsessed is an understatement.* It wasn’t until I moved out of home and out of the community that I realised Halloween wasn’t really celebrated anywhere else in the city - or the country for that matter (though I’ve certainly noticed a surge in recent years with little fairs and trunk-or-treats popping up in local parks and schools).
I feel incredibly fortunate to have had a childhood that I want to now replicate for my daughter and I’ve done my best to make Halloween an exciting experience for her too. We decorate the house, go all out with our matching costumes and she even uses my old candy bag for trick-or-treating. We have the best time together - so when I organised my calendar at the beginning of the year I was devastated to discover that Halloween would fall on a weekend when she would be away at her Dads house. Despite being totally crushed, I let them both know and they seemed quite excited at the idea of celebrating together. However a few days ago I realised I had messed up the weeks somewhere along the line and I would have Marley on Halloween after all (doh!). Unfortunately it was too late to change the plans on her now. I strongly believe in really trying to follow through with the things I say are going to happen - I believe it fosters trust and a sense of security. Plus she is all psyched up to show her little sister what to do and has even decided she doesn’t want to use my candy bag this year. Did you hear that?! Oh it was just my heart shattering in to a million pieces.
And so I have felt a bit lost with how I might celebrate. I mean, I will be childless and that’s sorta the whole point of Halloween right? But I’ve also been thinking about this year and… the everything. I’m fully aware that many families have chosen to continue social distancing and are still being very careful, but I have decided Halloween is NOT cancelled! Not for me and not for you. I scoured the inter-webs aka. Pinterest and have found a few spooky (but not gory) ideas to help us celebrate. You can choose to use these ideas throughout the week, with friends or safely at home - it’s totally up to you! The best part is that they are all super easy too.
1. ALTERNATIVE TRICK-OR-TREATING
If trick-or-treating is off the table for your family this year you could organise a Halloween Scavenger Egg Hunt at home. Simply dig out your old plastic Easter eggs, spruce them up a bit, add a few treats and hide them around the house and backyard. Alternatively you can do this at night for an even spookier time! Just pop a few glow sticks in the eggs and watch the fun unfold.
2. GIFT SOMETHING EXTRA SPECIAL
We like to make treats to give all our little friends and family when they come trick-or-treating at our house, something that is a little more special than the run-of-the-mill lollies we are handing out. I really like this easy peasy Witch Candy Cover (free printable) or this DIY Mummy Piñata if you're feeling a little more crafty. Or ditch the candy altogether and gift something they can use, like these fun scented playdoughs!
3. MOVIE NIGHT
Want to keep it chill and stay cosy at home? Movie night + a tasty platter is your answer! Set the mood with some candles, fairy lights or build a spooky fort. My favourite Halloween movies are:
- Hocus Pocus (of course!)
- The Adams Family
4. BOO A NEIGHBOUR
I've not heard of this before, but I thought it was such a neat idea! Boo your neighbours (or friends, family, someone that needs a smile). Essentially you fill a small bucket or basket with a few treats, games or vouchers and leave it for the lucky recipient to find. I've seen variations of this where they've tied ghost balloons filled with helium to the package too - it looks really cool with them floating around. What a great way to do a bit of service as a family.
5. MAKE THEMED FOOD
We're heading to a Halloween party this week and I'm going to take a plate of these delicious Mummy Truffles. I've never really been confident in the kitchen, but if I can make them, anyone can! Each mixture makes about 40 - depending on how big you roll your balls. I do them kinda small because they get bigger by the time you've dipped them in chocolate.
36 Oreo cookies (almost 3 packets)
1 8oz packet of cream cheese - at room temperature
2 1/2 cups white chocolate
Finely crush cookies. Add cream cheese and mix well. Roll into balls and place in a freezer for an hour until firm.
Melt chocolate. Dip balls in chocolate and place on baking paper. Return to freezer. When set drizzle over more chocolate to create the look of bandages and pop on two candy eyeballs.
I hope this has sparked some inspiration for a fun filled Halloween in your home - but if you dare to venture out, our doors will be open for trick-or-treating on Saturday the 31st Of October, from 10am-3pm. Please do pop in with your little vampires, witches and ghouls.
*The original image used in the cover of this post can be found here (The Children's Place). The original image used as an example of the Mummy Truffles can be found here (Chelsea's Messy Apron)