“Eight more days till Halloween, Halloween, Halloween! Eight more days till Halloween…” Halloween III anyone? No? That’s okay: It wasn’t relevant to the series and only features Jamie Lee Curtis as the curfew announcer and telephone operator, so it’s not really worth your time. Whether you’re a fan of all things spooky or you just enjoy the change in season, Halloween is a great occasion to decorate your home and interact with your neighborhood.
This is true for many, but especially for homeowners. Decorations, celebrations, parties – everything is amped up when you own a home. Ready to make this Halloween a spooktacular event? Here are five tricks you should be aware of as a homeowner during this spooky season.
Nextdoor’s Treat Map
Technology is truly a beautiful thing. Nextdoor, the social networking app that allows you to connect and communicate with your neighbors, has an awesome annual feature called the Treat Map. A quick glance shows which neighbors are handing out candy, and which have a haunted house to walk through. That teal pumpkin? Well, that would be …
The Teal Pumpkin Project
Teal pumpkins signal to trick-or-treaters that you’re handing out allergy-friendly treats. You can either mark your home with the teal pumpkin on Nextdoor or paint an actual pumpkin teal and leave it out for visitors to see. These can be snacks free of the common allergens (such as nuts, gluten, or dairy), or non-food treats all together. The Food Allergy Research & Education organization, or FARE, recommends your non-food treats be free of other common allergens as well, such as latex.
Participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project is a way to ensure Halloween is safe for everyone! Want more information? Visit the FARE website, or download the Teal Pumpkin Project Map smartphone app!
Keep in mind everyone enjoys trick-or-treating! Have steps leading up to your front door? Consider sitting out in a lawn chair to hand out candy, so those with mobility challenges can enjoy. Planning some wonderfully terrifying pranks? The two-year-old dressed as a ladybug probably won’t enjoy them, and neither will their parent: Set up a route to the candy that doesn’t force visitors to walk by the most unnerving of your decorations.
Another common courtesy to think about? Dressing up is fun, but not when it’s at the expense of another person. Plan your costume – and your kids’ costumes – to make sure they’re not a form of cultural appropriation. Do your research on your costume and if you’re still questioning it or unsure, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Follow the Porch Light Rule
If you or your neighbors are not so tech savvy, a simple indication that your home is welcome to trick-or-treaters is if the porch and/or driveway light are on. Lights out? Candy is probably out, too, and your neighbors wouldn’t be very appreciative of you banging on their door when they’re trying to sleep. Even if you are using all the new apps, turning off the porch light is an easy way to communicate with trick-or-treaters that you’re calling it a night.
Ultimately, safety comes first for homeowners, parents, and trick-or-treaters alike. Consider walking the trick-or-treat route you plan to take with your kids ahead of time, so everyone is familiar with how to get home. Test out the trickier costume pieces too – high heels might seem like a great idea in the living room, but less so when parading down the street. Go with comfortable costumes that are easy to move in; you and the kids will be grateful at the end of the night.
While it’s tempting for kids to run ahead to try and get the candy first (who has time for walking, Grandma? Keep up!) having too many kids running in too many directions is stressful for even the most seasoned chaperones. Keep your groups to a manageable size, and consider matching glow sticks tied to costumes or wrapped around wrists so you can easily see everyone.
Finally, take that porch light rule to the next level: Make sure you kids know to only approach well-lit front doors. Whether they’re old enough to go out on their own or you’ll be tagging along behind them, poorly lit houses and streets are not recommended for trick-or-treating.
Remember that at the end of the day, Halloween is meant to be an enjoyable event. Whether this means posting up in your driveway with bowls of candy to connect with your neighbors, or curling up on your couch with a glass of wine and a horror movie, take time to do what sounds enjoyable to you.