Instead of viewing Halloween as another holiday that has outgrown its roots, take the new developments surrounding the holiday and work them to your advantage.

Halloween is not just one simple evening of visiting the neighbor’s homes wearing costumes. Now, this one-day holiday has morphed into what seems to be a month-long event. Whether it is navigating the one special night when it lands on a school night, or figuring out how to embrace the lengthened Halloween celebrations, here are some tips on how to roll with the zombie-delivered punches that come every Hallows Eve.

Have a Candy System in Place

A Magical FairyCredit: Skye McKiernanNo matter how many neighborhoods your children hit on the evening of Halloween, they will come back with plenty of candy. As a parent, it is smart to set up a candy system or set of rules with your children ahead of time. If you make healthy eating a priority in your household, allowing your children to select a small group of candy from the larger haul to set aside, and then encouraging them to give away the rest is a good way to limit their sugar intake. This way they get the fun of the day, the sweet treats in moderation, and they get to give back to others at the same time. Some dentists’ offices even pay children for every pound of candy they bring into the office and donate. This way the kids even get some financial rewards out of forgoing some of the sugary stash.

Simplify the night of Halloween by establishing how many pieces of candy your children are allowed to have that evening. When Halloween lands on a school night, it is crucial that you do not let your children gorge on the sugar and ruin their good night’s sleep at the same time. Keep the peace in your family by discussing it with your children, and coming to an agreement as a family. Maybe start by suggesting a very low (like just one piece) amount of candy, to allow your children to negotiate the number higher. This way you still have some level of control over the amount of sugar consumed and your children feel like they got to have some say in increasing the amount from the first low level.

Plan Parent Responsibilities Ahead of Time

In a household where there are multiple parents, consider how you split up to trick or treat. If your children are going with you and not a group of friends, send the more stern parent to supervise, keeping the children on their best behavior. This can not only keep your children from becoming poor sports and bad examples, but can also keep them safe if they are with a parent they know they cannot push back with. Leave the more relaxed parent at home to hand out candy to trick or treaters and everyone will end up happy.

If you have pets at home that do not appreciate visitors knocking on the door or ringing the door bell, consider having the adult at home sitting on the porch with the treat bowl. By positioning yourself outside the home you do not have to worry about indoor pets escaping, dogs barking incessantly, or scaring the cute little princesses and action heroes on your door step with scary pet noises. 

Keep the Late Night in Mind

A regular school night morphs into a crazy evening for all involved when Halloween lands on a school night. Keep this in mind when planning costumes, choosing more simple wardrobe options that won’t take hours to prepare. If you have a choice between a costume with two pieces and one with eight, shoot for the easier option even if it is not quite as cute. The time you save will be worth it in the end.

If you are creating a makeup look to go with your child’s costume, make sure you have waterproof makeup remover on hand to quickly clean your child up before bed. This way you can possibly skip the entire bath or shower for the night, saving you even more time on the craziest of holidays. Simple baby oil is a quick way to remove waterproof makeup, but keep in mind you will have to follow-up with a normal face wash to remove the oil residue.

Find Local Gatherings to Simplify the Evening

Halloween is a holiday that has expanded to take over nearly the entire month of October, which makes it easy to find other ways to celebrate. By finding other fun activities to take part in, you can take some of the focus off the trick or treating. While you may think that expanding the one day holiday into a more lengthy event is not a good idea, it can benefit you and your children. Embracing the weekend fun allows your children to experience all the fun of Halloween, while not overloading a school night with too much. By embracing weekend fun, like Trunk or Treat events, or the exploration of a large entertaining pumpkin farm you allow your children to have fun while learning at the same time. The Trunk or Treat experiences encourage your children to use their manners and socialize in large groups of people. Farm experiences teach your children valuable lessons about growing things in a garden setting, animals, even trains and farm tools. Instead of seeing these experiences as a way that the commercialization of popular holidays has turned them into larger events than ever before, take the expansion of the one day and embrace it. Children will see it as fun, but you as a parent will see it as the best of both worlds, educational and fun at the same time.

Even if you end up deciding to host your own personal group gathering, take advantage of the fun you can only have naturally during fall. Decorate pumpkins with paint, kits or even traditional carving with appropriate safety measures and have classic fun. Make your own miniature version of a hay ride with a wagon and a hay bale or two. Bobbing for apples is something that just isn’t the same any other time of year, so enjoy the intrinsic beauty and fun of autumn while keeping your kids from the massive sugar high.