Surviving Halloween

If you hate Halloween | Trick or treat tips | Decorations | Halloween party games | Halloween party food

There's no halfway (haunted) house when it comes to Halloween: you either love it and layer it on thick or you deem it dark, dangerous and disgusting.

And Mumsnet is no exception. Some Mumsnetters would sell their souls rather than miss out on a night of trick or treating. Others would like nothing more than to tell every door-stepping batch of spooky teens to stick their pumpkins where the jack-o-lantern light don't shine. So, when we asked for your top Halloween tips, it was always going to go two ways...

For those who find Halloween hell...

Think Halloween's just an overhyped excuse for kids to go begging and get high on E numbers? Fed up with teenagers in Scream masks spooking the hell out of your baby every five minutes? Use these fiendishly clever tactics to send those trick-or-treaters packing...

  • "Shut the curtains, turn off the lights, sit in the dark and pretend you're out." Marthamoo
  • "Plagued by teens who turn up twice - wearing different masks - because they think you're thick? Give out tangerines. Little kids won't mind, their parents will be relieved - and teenagers won't come back." Custardo
  • "I left a bowl of sweets outside and stuck a sign up saying, 'New baby asleep. Knock and I'll flay you alive. But help yourself to a sweetie'. No one knocked." Filthymindedbolshevixen
  • Or try the credit-crunch alternative: "Put a basket out, with a sign on it, saying, 'We've gone out but do help yourselves to these' - but leave the basket empty." icod
  • "My broomstick at the door and a sign saying, 'Sacrifice volunteers, please ring bell' normally does the trick." Saint George
  • "A kid turned up not dressed as anything, so we told him to at least put his jumper over his head and pretend to be a headless ghost. That's when he ran away." Cappuccino
  • "Stick with tradition: hand all costume-less visitors an overly polished penny." Peachy
  • "If asked 'trick or treat?', reply 'trick'. Then throw a bucket of water out of the upstairs window." Lilymaid
  • "Book a holiday abroad, preferably somewhere sunny." Heifer

And if all else fails?

  • "Get a massive, potentially scary looking dog. When the doorbell rings, squirt instant cream around dog's mouth and open door shouting 'RABID DOG! RABID DOG!' Clears devils, bats and witches in seconds." CountessDracula

For those who find Halloween heaven...

So, you've been planning the blood-spattered costumes since May and have developed a truly scary way with face-paint? Here's how to add even more fright factor to the whole ham-it-up Hallowe'en hocus pocus...

Trick or treat tips

  • "Only knock at houses that have a pumpkin in the window or decorations on the door; always dress up; never do tricks and never knock on undecorated doors." themildmanneredjanitor
  • "Roads leading to primary schools are a good bet for trick or treating - all those small kids should equal lots of participating families. Alternatively, head for residential areas popular with extraordinarily rich Americans - with luck, they'll be frantically trying to outdo each other." Willow
  • "Be careful who you team up with to go trick or treating. Some kids become manic and totally out of control. Try to choose calm, controlled, obedient kids to go out with - or at least go easy on the E numbers!" Fauve

And for callers to your own front door...

  • "Fill a hollowed-out pumpkin with jelly. Leave to set until it's gloopy - then add lollipops. Tell trick-or-treaters to root inside the pumpkin brains for their treats." Custardo
  • "I hand-made a gigantic spider's web from rope, complete with 6ft inflatable spider, which people had to duck under to get to the door. And my husband hid outside in the dark, dressed as Dracula. When kids rang the bell he stood up, swished his cape and said 'Boo!' Scared the hell out of several marauding gangs of teenagers!" Califrau
  • "Always buy far too many sweets, so you can eat the remainder throughout November. Yum." southeastsastra

Devilish decor

  • "Planning a party? Not all community halls will allow Halloween parties, so check it's OK first." Purpleduck
  • "Make 'monster hands' by stuffing clear plastic disposable gloves with popcorn that's been shaken in green food colouring." Califrau
  • "We built a Frankenstein's lab for our party. Use UV lightbulbs to make white things glow in the dark. This site is great for inspiration." Cremolafoam
  • "Make 'floating ghosts': balloons draped in crepe paper, suspended from the ceiling on invisible thread." Purpleduck
  • "Be careful buying 'spooky sounds' CDs. I bought one once that sounded like the soundtrack to a snuff movie. It reduced my hard-nut Goth of a daughter to tears and totally creeped me out too." GrumpyOldHorsewoman
  • "When the time comes to carve your pumpkin, draw the pattern on the pumpkin first, then stab along the lines - in a dot-to-dot fashion - with something pointy. Then carve." Califrau

Gross games

  • Broken bones: cut out skeleton parts from white paper. Punch holes where joints should be. Kids can assemble them using split pins.
  • Pin the nose on the witch: swap a donkey and tail for an old hag and a hooter.
  • Foul feelings: fill hollowed-out pumpkins with a variety of slimy, furry, yucky stuff - pumpkin seeds and peach slices work well. Blindfold kids and get them to guess the contents by touch only.
  • Wrap the mummy: partner kids up, give one child a roll of loo paper to wrap the other up in.
  • Petrified piñata: if you've time on your hands and an artistic bent, make a ghost-shaped piñata out of papier-mâché in the weeks before, then fill it with sweets and let the kids bash it to release them.
  • Ditch the witch: decorate large plastic bottles as witches and use as bowling pins, with a small pumpkin for the ball.

Gruesome grub

  • Worms in dirt: essentially chocolate custard with gummy worms, topped with crumbled-up chocolate biscuits.
  • Insect ice: add something extra to drinks by freezing plastic bugs or gummy sweets in ice cubes.
  • Spooky sarnies: cut bread into ghost shapes, spread with cream cheese and use raisins for eyes.
  • Witches' brew: put green food colouring in a pitcher of lemonade, or make ice cream floats by adding mint ice cream to green limeade - it'll foam up gruesomely.
  • Icy hands: freeze water dyed with green food colouring, in a rubber glove; once frozen, cut glove off and use hand to chill fruit juice punch - blood orange juice is suitably red and gory.
  • Witches' fingers: tear hot dogs in half and make slashes near the torn end for knuckles. Cut off a slither of the other end to be the fingernail bed and add a blob of ketchup for the nail. If serving in buns, dollop ketchup at the torn end too!

And, finally, solve the perennial Halloween conundrum of what to do with the leftover scooped-out bits of pumpkin by trying these yummy Mumsnet recipes:

Enjoy/endure the 31st. And don't forget that once it's over, there's Bonfire Night to tackle next! 


If you hate Halloween | Trick or treat tips | Decorations | Halloween party games | Halloween party food

Last updated: about 3 years ago