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How To Have A Safe And Practical Halloween

By Jesse Michelsen

Do you smell that? That’s the smell of fall! And with that smell comes all the fun things you get to do in October like planning Halloween festivities, putting together an intricate and spooky costume that even your own kids won’t recognize you in, and scaring your in-laws with a huge Jack-O-Lantern carved like a creepy ghoul or ghost. And perhaps the best part is all of the goodies floating around offices and in everyone’s homes!

October is a really fun and exciting time of year but if you are unprepared and don’t plan ahead, Halloween can quickly turn into a nightmare (pun intended).

Instead of taking a frugal spin on Halloween and how to save money, this post is simply going to examine some great ways to be practical, keep things manageable and, most of all, keep you and your kids safe:

Tips for Choosing Your Costume

As a kid, I was always a little disappointed that my parents didn’t get me the biggest and baddest costume on the block. But I now realize there was a reason most of my costumes were simple: those complex costumes would have become unwearable after just a few minutes in them. Half the time, I ended up taking even the simplest of costumes off and leaving it somewhere because I was too tired to wear it anymore. The lesson?

When planning and creating costumes, be practical. Sure, that 100% to scale replica of Fluffy from Harry Potter would be a great costume, but as soon as the initial excitement wears off, you will have to find a way to carry that huge thing around and Trick-or-Treating will become unbearable.

Bigger is not always better, and there are plenty of completely manageable costumes to choose from that will still get a great reaction at the Halloween potluck. Make sure you are able to easily see, walk, and carry your costume so that the long night ahead of you can be enjoyed to the fullest.

If you do plan to take your kids Trick-or-Treating, make sure costumes will be warm enough as well. Hypothermia is much scarier than anything a wig and a little makeup can create!

Be Smart and Safe

When leaving your home for Halloween fun, make sure things are locked up tight. Turn off your porch light so that Trick-or-Treaters know you won’t be participating this year. Do not leave a note on the door though, as this is an invitation for burglary. Instead, leave a TV and some lights on inside to make it look like you are home but don’t celebrate the holiday. Also, let neighbors that will be home know where you will be, what phone number they can reach you at, and when you will be coming back in case anything should go wrong.

Make sure your yard is clear of anything you don’t want broken. You never know what mischievous teenagers will do when they find your favorite yard gnome after you failed to appear at the door with a big bowl of goodies.

Trick-or-Treating Tips

When you Trick-or-Treat, beware of unfamiliar neighborhoods or houses that actually look scary and dangerous. You should stick to areas you know well, and houses with maximum visibility, especially if you have small children with you. You never know who might be waiting there to actually harm some unsuspecting child or parent.

If the areas you know well are the dangerous, dimly lit streets, plan an alternate route ahead of time. Check out other neighborhoods in different areas of town that have good lighting and seem like safer places to Trick-or-Treat.

Check all of the treats for obvious tampering before eating. This tip has been around for ages but each year, things get more and more dangerous out there and spending just a few minutes to examine the treats before chomping away is a small price to pay for safety.

Bring a car with you. This may seem like a huge inconvenience for you and your kids, but you will be able to Trick-or-Treat across a much larger area and if someone gets cold or tired, they can stay in the car where it’s warm. Remember, it’s all in the name of safety and, ultimately, convenience.

Following these tips will keep you and your kids safe as well as help you enjoy the festivities as much as possible without worry.

I’m sure there are tips you use yourself, so please share them in the comments below!

(photo credit: riptheskull)

Jesse Michelsen
Jesse Michelsen is a 23 year freelance writer with a passion for personal finance. Without any formal education in finance, he writes about his own experiences in managing money, budgeting and investing with the goal of retirement at 40 always in mind. He resides in Utah with his wife, 2 girls, and baby boy on the way.

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  • http://www.budgetinginthefunstuff.com Crystal@BFS

    My friend and her 6 year-old daughter went with a group to stay safe. Each parent was assigned to watch 2 specific kids so there was overlap. I thought it was fun since everybody hung out and chatted while we walked (I joined them and even watched two kids). Great tips and have a fun Halloween!

    • Jesse Michelsen

      I love doing things in a group. Growing up in such a big family (7 kids), I didn’t realize that was even a tip :) we always had my siblings and a friend each when Trick-or-Treating which made a group of about ten kids, young and old.

      The older kids would just hand out and enjoy walking around at night, wall the younger ones went up to all the houses and Trick-or-Treated.

      Along those same lines is the Trunk-or-Treating trend where tons of parents and kids meet in a parking lot, and each car has candy in the truck instead of going to houses at all. Parents get to hang out and chat while the kids get a safe place to gather up goodies!

      Thanks for your comment Crystal!

  • http://www.frugalconfessions.com Amanda L Grossman

    Hello Jesse!

    Great tips and a good reminder that Halloween is right around the corner (hurrah!). I can’t wait to see all the costumes in our neighborhood.

    • Jesse Michelsen

      Hello Amanda, thanks for dropping by! Every holiday just zooms by faster each year, so try and get ahead and enjoy yourself!

  • http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com Barb Friedberg

    Jesse, Make sure your kid never sets his/her candy down. Our daughter got her whole bag stolen from OUR FRONT PORCH! Congrats on your 1st :)

    • Jesse Michelsen

      Thanks Barb! I totally forgot about bag snatchers. I can’t believe people would actually do that, but it does happen. Great advice!

  • http://blog.findthebestcarprice.com Geoff

    I was always a fan of the pillow case as a trick or treat bag. While it doesn’t have handles, you can rest assured it won’t break…..and the plastic pumpkins are just too clumsy to carry.

    And plan a route that doesn’t involve walking up any big hills! I actually get a lot less foot traffic in my current house because of this…..nobody wants to walk back up the hill.

    • Jesse Michelsen

      For a teenager, I agree, but my kids won’t be carrying pillow cases with their cute costumes just yet :)

      Watch hills, check! :)

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