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Parents’ Guide To A Sane Halloween

Don’t freak about Halloween. All the kids really want is the candy anyway.


1. Do Pumpkins, and Nothing But Pumpkins

Once upon a time, there were no orange Halloween lights, no cutesy country scarecrows, no giant spider webs or lawn graveyards. There were no inflatable ghosts as big as your house needing their own breaker in the electric box. There were just pumpkins, carved into jack-o-lanterns, ready to be thrown in the bin on the next trash pickup day. Those were simple times. They were nice times. Let’s do that again.

2. Make the Kids’ Costumes Work for You

Did your mom spend 40 hours sewing you a detailed Cinderella dress? Neither did mine. A little face paint and an old dress were enough. If the kids must dress up, put them in something useful. A painter’s bodysuit, for instance. Or mechanic’s overalls. It will be perfect for after Halloween when they need to rake the leaves.

3. Safety First

For any of your spawn under the age of reason (it varies, but usually about 35), incorporate a leash into the costume. Little Bryson could be a dog. With a leash mom holds onto. Little Madyson could be a monkey. With a long tail mom holds onto. Paxon? He could be an astronaut, with a space tether that mom holds onto. Breeanna is Rapunzel, with hair that mom holds onto. The key thing here is the leash. Because sanity.

4. Two Words: Jell-O Shots

One for the passing dad wearily trailing the band of trick-or-treaters. One for you as a reward for passing out candy so well. Repeat.

5. No Halloween Housewares

Just say no to Halloween porcelain, dishes, bowls, and decorative candlesticks. For the love of God. You do not have to be Martha Stewart. Even Martha Stewart is not Martha Stewart.

6. Double Up the Costumes

If the kids won’t go as a painter or a dog with a leash, try to at least get some other seasonal mileage out of the costume. They could be a Halloween bunny. Or a Halloween elf. Maybe a Halloween menorah with black candles. That Saint Lucia getup would look spooky with a little dark makeup. Or bust out the henna and do a little Halloween Diwali. The point is, you don’t have to buy two damn costumes.

7. Let the Harvest Festival Go

Because, yeah, you’re totally celebrating bringing in the corn and the wheat and whatever. You haven’t grown anything since your kid’s embarrassing lima bean project for second grade, and that was barely successful. If your family’s well-being depended on your harvest, let’s face it, they’d starve. It is not a Harvest Festival anymore. Halloween won. It’s time to let it go.

8. Let Them Eat Candy

You are not a bad parent if you let the kids eat a few pieces of candy. You are not a bad parent if you let the kids eat their own weight in candy. Sometimes these lessons teach themselves.

9. Say Yes to the Party

Why should the kids have all the fun? Throw those suckers in bed, tell them the ghosts will get them if they stir, and party down. Invite some friends over, finish off the Jell-O shots, and enjoy. There ain’t no party like a Halloween neighborhood party because that Halloween party don’t have no drivin’.