The other day I wrote about Halloween, how it’s my favorite time of year and threw a few of my favorite movies to watch out there for you guys. I could talk about the things I love about this season for days on end but I’d much rather break it up into different articles and try to keep a more focused approach. I want to go a different direction this go around and put a few ideas out there to help you plan your Halloween and hear from you on how I can further fun mine up!

First I want to take on costumes. Costumes are a huge part of what kids have always loved about Halloween. Here’s a little history lesson for those of you who may not know why we wear said costumes:

“Folklore states that the reason why we wear costumes on Halloween is because they believed it scared evil spirits away. As time went on, it evolved into more of a Mardi Gras type of costume event, than just wearing costumes to scare spirits. You will see a large variety of costumes now, that actually changes the reason why dress up for Halloween, compared to when it originally first started. The wearing of costumes on Halloween originated in a Scottish and Irish tradition called guising, in which children wore costumes and went door to door for food.” –

Knock knock, GIVE US YOUR CANDY!

My problem with Halloween costumes is this; when we all go mass buy from Walmart or other similar stores, we all end up looking just alike. Where’s the fun in that? Have you ever been to a Halloween party and seen multiple people wearing the same thing you are? When you take your kids out, are other kids wearing the same costume?  While there’s certainly nothing wrong with it, there’s no invention within that, there’s nothing setting us apart from others. Wouldn’t you be happier if you and the three other witches or Dracula’s in the room at least looked different? Or even better- you completely blow their mass-produced costumes away? Here’s a list of some things that you can do, that can be very cost-effective and/or original and higher in quality.

Buy different pieces from different places and put them together to make your own original take on your character of choice. Imagine for a second that you want to be a pirate this year. You could definitely go buy an entire pirate outfit at a store OR.. you could buy a good quality wig that isn’t stuck to your mask. You could search around the internet and research pirate looks and use Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Party City and others to grab a piece at a time from until you pull it all together for a really outstanding, original pirate look.

Try to steer clear of generic masks. I don’t mean Jason or Michael, I mean those typical skeleton masks that you’ll find laying on the shelf after 25 kids have tried it on. I whole-heartedly appreciate originality, I’ve used the word a lot, but even if you put together an ensemble with different tops, bottoms, shoes, capes, etc.. you’re still going to be very similar due to mask alone. I’m a big advocate of make-up for Halloween costumes. You can have a great time with it, get it pretty cheap and do anything you can imagine with it. It’s easier to buy a Gene Simmons mask but will it really look that good? It’ll look better in most scenarios to try and paint yourself up (though someone else should probably do it). If you do go the mask route, try to find something that means a lot to you in some form and buy a higher quality version on the internet than what you might find locally. Be proud of your purchase so you’ll take good care of it and wear it more than once. I, for example, love Jason and Michael. I bought a Jason Voorhees hockey mask on eBay that blows away every generic, foam or thin plastic one you’ll find at a drug store and I got it at a great price of $20. That may not sound like I’d get much but it’s thick, detailed and hand-made by another fan of the series. The Friday the 13th costumes I’ve seen in town come with a round (appalling!), foam mask and the typically thin ‘suit’. Do yourself a favor and browse the tools that are at your disposal to save money and get a higher-quality face for the season!

To me, Halloween is about all things scary! This one is simply a personal feeling, completely overlook it if you don’t feel the same. Going as bacon, crayons or a pony doesn’t scare anyone. You may get more candy if you’re cute, but it feels like it lacks the spirit of the season. But hey, spirit is good, so go as a Care Bear if that’s what makes you happy!

Find a way to make your Halloween night go beyond 9 or 10 o clock. I can’t stress this one enough. We spend all this money to have a good time and it’s usually over as trick or treating dies down. That’s just no fun! Plan a party, even a family one, for afterwards. Make some spooky sandwiches or some popcorn balls and watch a movie that you and your friends, or family, can enjoy together. There’s not a lot that’s more fun than hearing people you enjoy being around shriek or make you laugh during a scary movie. This year, it comes on a Thursday. Plan to trick or treat on Thursday, then have that party on Friday. Stretch the holiday out, make it a second Christmas!

Decorate! It’s sad that since I’ve grown up, less people are celebrating Halloween. Well, maybe they’re just not showing it. But hey, where’s the spirit? I understand that a lot of people don’t have the money to devote sometimes but what about all that stuff you had growing up? Surely it’s packed in a garage or basement somewhere isn’t it? Let’s pull that stuff out and make this month a blast! Use thatcreativity that you’re so well-known for to good use! Take some old clothes, hay or leaves, and build yourself a scarecrow or jack-o-lantern man. For the price of a pumpkin, you can probably pull that off completely. Hang up white Christmas lights and set them off with a couple of pumpkins even. It’s easy to be cheap and still have a great time. Here’s a fun scarecrow how-to:

More Reese’s please!

Candy shouldn’t have to be expensive to be good. I don’t think businesses would agree with us there but you can get things like Tootsie Rolls and suckers that are delicious, effective and cheap! I buy Butterfinger’s. Apparently they aren’t as popular as they used to be, they’re no Reese’s after-all. I won’t advise making your own for anyone outside of your family or close-friends because it’s too dangerous for that these days. Kids are advised, smartly, to steer clear of that sort of thing.

Go have a good time this year! Do what you may not feel like you’ve been able to in a long time and invest yourself in it as a hobby and have a blast watching it pay off! You can have the best party in town and invest little to nothing in it. Surrounding yourself with the right people, adding your own creativity, shopping for lower prices online and making your own costume will undoubtedly make you proud and ready to do it all again!

Keep slashing on, kiddies!