By Krista Ehret
Halloween is the official kick-off to the holiday season and has become such a fun evening for my family. However, we've realized that while having a two-year-old definitely makes it 100 times more fun, it also makes things slightly more hectic. Our schedule goes something like this: Get home from work, gather the fifteen pieces to the coveted costume, shove said outfit onto a wiggling child, eat dinner, start the journey down the sidewalk (literally at a toddler's pace), admire each decoration individually for at least two minutes, teeter up each stoop and porch (very...very...slowly), be shy for about a minute before finally accepting the candy, teeter back down the steps, repeat for about thirty more houses, “hurry” home to investigate acceptable treats, eat two treats, cry when we can't have more, intermittently hand out candy to neighborhood kids, spend an hour getting your sugar-hyped kid(s) to sleep, slap a note on the front door asking someone...anyone to take all of this candy, and eventually switch off the porch light and tightly close the drapes before anyone else rings the bell. However chaotic, it is still such a fun evening made even more so by celebrating with friends and family. Since everyone often has their traditions, I feel it's best to plan an open house style gathering where families can pop-in before or after trick or treating. Here are some ideas you can incorporate:
1. Invitations: I personally love physical paper invitations, especially when it's a holiday party. Make sure it's obvious that this is a come and go event, but also invite your friends to come over and make a night of it. A group trick or treating outing will make it even more fun for the kids and parents. Either plan to have one adult stay at the house in case any guests arrive during the trick or treating or note on the invite that you plan to be out during a certain time, but the party will be on before and after.
2. Decor: Reason #107 why holiday parties are awesome: you don't have to do any additional decorating! Your house is already in full on festive mode, so do a bit of cleaning and sprucing up (festive hand towels in half bath and scented candles or essential oils), and you're good to go!
3. Menu: Our personal tradition is to make chili on Halloween day to enjoy that evening. I recommend using a slow cooker so that the work is done early on and it's easy to self-serve for a group. Accompaniments can include corn chips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, crumbled bacon, scallions, and whatever else you enjoy as a topping. Cornbread rounds out the meal wonderfully as well. A domestic and seasonal beer, white and red wine, and possibly a warm cider is ideal for drink options. Since this is a come and go, you may consider having some disposable Tupperware so quick drop-ins can take some home.
Most importantly, have fun! The memories you make while they are young with last a lifetime and something they and you will always remember! Happy Halloween!