Real quick, I celebrated Halloween early. Last night to be exact. I'm LDS and Utah wasn't keen on celebrating on Sunday. I however, would have been fine doing so on a Sunday. Sundays I go to church, visit with friends and family and spend time with my husband and kids. Last night, other than the church part, that's exactly what I did, visited with neighbors and friends and spent time with my family enjoying Halloween. But thats just me. And my family is anything but solemn and calm on a Sunday anyway.
Ok, here's what I have gleaned the last several All Hallow's Eves. Take notes.
* give out full size candy bars. If you can get them for less that $.40 a bar, you're probably saving money this way---->Unless you're the kind that strictly adheres to the one small piece of candy per child.
Maverik conveninece stores run a Nestle/Willy Wonka special 5/$2 in my area, so that's what I buy. They used to do 4/$1, but that deal was scrapped around the same time the gov't began mailing out $ to citizens. I heard that Costco was offering a B1G1 coupon on their full size candy bar boxes, but it is only good for 4 boxes. That may not be enough for your crowd. Our house usually gets 150 kids or more.
* if you can't get a good deal on the candy bars, check out the price on the huge Pixy Stix and the Red Vines licorice ropes at Costco. They work out to be $.30 apiece and yield BIG bang for your buck as far as the kid's reactions when they walk away from your door.
* I haven't tried this, but my kids all love to go to the hot dog house. You know, the joint that throws up tables and chairs in their garage/porch/party tent and serves hot dogs, chips and cider.
* Offer something cool to the parents. I've given hot chocolate or cider to the parents on Halloween. Not a $ saver, but definitely a friend maker. Purchase those nifty disposable hot drink cups/lids and boil tons of water. You have a big round orange drink dispenser (WalMart sells them starting at $20)? Fill that bad boy with hot water and the adults can get their non alc drank on. You could go all out and have whipped cream, sprinkles, cinnamon sticks, etc. Parents love a house that includes the adults.
* This is what I'm doing next year. NACHOS! Oh yeah. I'm thinking clear plastic nacho boxes from Costco, bags of white corn chips, two maybe three cans of Que Bueno and some jalapenos. Who's the favorite neighbor nooooooow, right? Make it a party and make it a two house gig. You and your next door neighbor can party together at one house and go in on the total bill.
*Soda. Soda, soda, soda. A few years ago, $ was tight (still is), and my neighbor kids were expecting the usual full-size candy bars. I couldn't buy as many full sizes as I wanted, so I had the idea to offer soft drinks in order to have enough loot for our treaters. The price was sure right, 4 12-paks for $11. That's cheap, yo. Oh my gosh, they loved it. My advice is to stick with the generic brand, the kids dont care and you dont need to be spending the big bucks on brand names for kiddies.
*bags of Doritos. Snack size. They will fly out the door.
* Don't like giving out candy? Oh, this is such a hot topic of convo amongst adults. My kids still remember the real estate saleman that gave out helium balloons with his biz card attached. Fun idea.
*My 13 year old son would tell folks, all sullen-like "I've Type 2 Diabetes and I'm feeling low....." He said it scored him fast candy and sometimes even more candy. Go figure. He learned the trick by watching a boy at his brother's birthday party. The kid got cake before the birthday-boy did :)
*Dump out the kid's candy even when it isn't full yet. Neighbors take pity on the empty candy bag and tend to dole out more than the usual amount.
*Whoppers. I love them, you love them. Kids do not, I have found. I learned this while spending some time with my 6th graders classmates. I put on a candy buffet for their 'Harvest' party - gotta love the prof that works around the no Halloween party rule. This was not an inexpensive idea of mine, so I had to choose candy that was cheap, while still making it 'neat-o'. One of my $ saver candy choices was Whoppers. They were not fans. (pretzels, Sour Patch Kids, Skittles, Rolos, Reese's mini cups, marshmallows - all good)
* If you're giving out soda, keep it kid friendly and parent approved (mostly). No caffeinated flavors, no diet flavors. Also, no Red Cream soda. I had a box of that last night and the kids were like, "wha? You're freaky lady, that's gross." Fruit Punch, Root Beer, Lemon Lime, Orange, Grape, Strawberry, those are winners. Black Cherry, not so much. Whatev, more for me.
* Here are the non-faves from 4 out of 5 Borzoni kids.
Quidditch player crossed with the scout from UP!, 13, "bags of flavored popcorn."
Sorcere's Apprentice, 12 (!), "gummy body parts."
Witch, 8, "one tiny 1 inch square chocolate." This child had the idea of using a sickly voice to woo more candy. No worky. Neither did her wheeze and sneeze gimmick.
Ninja, 6, "I didn't get disappointed this year." This is an improvement, since last year he would give the candy back and say "No fanks, you got somefin bettah?" as he peeked around the candy giver to look for more.
* Raisins. If you are in a spot where all you can give is raisins, then maybe just keep your lights off and bow out of Halloween this year. Its cool, we all have years like that.
*Try not to ba a Halloween hater. It's once a year, the kids LOVE it. Think back to your Halloween memories. None of those cool things you remember could have been possible if some adult hadn't gone the extra mile. Now we are the adults (it bites to be old, I get this) and it's our turn to create some cool things for the kiddies to remember.