Halloween isn't quite here yet, but the stores have been gearing up for it for months already. I think I read recently that it is second only to Christmas in holiday-specific sales. I know it seems like each year there are more and more Halloween decorations going up in our neighborhood.
It's never been my favorite holiday, but knowing it is fun for kids, I try to do a little something for Kat. Still, as is my opinion on many things, I think less is more. I think keeping things simple during holidays helps us to enjoy them more without getting overwhelmed, overtired or overstimulated.
I like to keep decorations simple and more autumn-themed than Halloween-themed. Pumpkins, scarecrows, autumn leaves, haystacks and anything in oranges, reds and golds work from Halloween to Thanksgiving. Throughout the month, I use Halloween and Fall-themed cupcake papers for any muffins or cupcakes I make, and set out a batch of Chex mix in a pumpkin-shaped bowl. The weather has been unusually warm this year, so we probably won't buy a pumpkin for a Jack-o-Lantern until just a couple of days before Halloween, so that it doesn't go bad before the big night.
This year, Kat wants to be a princess, and her costume is a store-bought one, picked up at a discount freight recovery store for $10. It's fairly well made for the price, and is as cheap as anything I could have made or even put together from thrift-store finds. She'll be able to use it for a pre-school festival, a party at her daycare and for Halloween itself. Afterwards she can wear it for dress-up until she outgrows it. If there is any wear left after that, I'll pass it on to the daycare for their dress-up box.
On Halloween night, we limit Kat's trick or treating to just a few blocks in our neighborhood early in the evening. She gets more than enough candy and seems to have just as much fun giving out candy as she does receiving it. We'll have a special meal of chili, cider and "Mummy Dogs" (hot dogs wrapped in thin strips of bread dough to look like a mummies, then baked). Like last year, we'll let her pick out a few pieces of candy each evening for a snack and store the rest out of her reach.
Our general rule of thumb when buying candy to give to Trick-or-Treaters is to get what we like. Some years we have many kids stop by and other years only a few. If we have candy left over, it might as well be candy we enjoy ourselves. For us, that's a little bit of chocolate and a lot of SweeTarts and sour treats.
How do you keep Halloween simple (and/or frugal) in your home?