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Last-Minute Halloween Ideas

Fay Johnson


By Aimee Oberndorfer Le

At our house, we're last-minute Halloween people. Week before, or night before, really. I always envy our friends who have their costumes and decorations planned six months ahead of time, but realistically, that's not us. However, we do try to be deliberate people, and this year -- our first with a toddler -- we find that to be more important than ever.

Tonight, we'll go with our little Space Robot to 2-3 houses on our block to say "trick or treat", and head to a neighbor's home for pie, cider, costumes and play. Our son will get to see his friends dressed up and we'll get to hang out with adults, too. Most importantly, we'll be celebrating and having fun with our community.

There are many issues that you may grapple with around Halloween: feeding small children so much sugar, the slave labor that produces so much of our mass-market chocolate, nut allergies, safety, the cost of costumes and treats. But even if you are a last-minute Halloween person like me, it's still possible to deliberately address the issues that are important to you and your family, and have fun!

Here's how we're doing it (and how we've seen friends and neighbors do it, too):

  • Candy alternatives: In our town, many of our neighbors are handing out pencils, stickers, glow sticks, beads, temporary tattoos. One neighbor even does a sweep of her home the night before and collects small toys and trinkets that have gone unused, and puts these in a bag to give away. It's a huge hit!

  • Fair-trade chocolate: If you only have a few trick-or-treaters, this may be a feasible option for you. You can read more about great, options here.

  • Costumes: This year, it was important that we not spend any money on costumes. Search your house for things you can re-purpose! Talk to neighbors and friends and see if they have costumes from previous years that no longer fit their children, or things that you could borrow for yourself. Here are a few creative and fun ideas!

We put our son's costume together a few days ago with a cereal box, duck tape, water bottles, paint chips, stickers, a tupperware bowl, a borrowed headband, and his favorite boots. It's far from glossy-magazine-worthy, but he helped color and glue and stick, and is now counting the minutes until he can put it on and go outside. Success. Bonus: he will definitely play with it for months to come! 

However you decide to deliberately celebrate, we wish you a wonderful, safe and happy Halloween.