This handy guide to trick-or-treating etiquette and haunted house styling should help make this Halloween your most hair-raising yet. Thought to have its origins in an ancient Celtic ritual of appeasing vengeful spirits with food, trick or treating is being embraced by more and more Australians as an excuse to have fun with fancy dress and socialise with neighbours. To set spines tingling and sweet-tooths chomping with minimal outlay this 31 October, read on.
Pre-wrapped lollies and fun-size chocolate bars - rather than homemade treats - are essential for keeping trick-or-treaters happy and safe as they journey from door to door. There is no shortage of chewy sweet sharepacks, foil-wrapped chocolate eyeballs and limited edition lollipops on offer at Woolworths. If you take the little ones out to collect their sugary loot before dusk and return home to greet the parade of hungry teens you don’t want to become known as the household who offered up a few leftover raisin snack packs. Instead, greet your guests with a Big W witch’s cauldron brimming with goodies. To go the extra mile, keep some dairy-free and peanut-free options at close hand for allergy sufferers, or little gifts such as yo-yos and stickers. Remind the kids it’s polite to only take a single treat, or small handful, at each house and that they must always say thank-you.
Luckily, since it’s poor form to spend All Hallows’ Eve in your trackies, it’s never been easier to put together a costume. Everywhere from Kmart to The Reject Shop stocks a mixture of outfits for youngsters and grown-ups these days, so you can leave it to the last minute and still impress the kids with your commitment to cosplay. There is no reason to confine yourself to a grim reaper or wicked witch costume either, with Wonder Woman, Mrs Incredible, Black Panther, unicorn and ringmaster get-ups all expected to be popular this year. If you’re a bit crafty, why not whip up a vampire cape from some novelty fabric or turn yourself into a zombie using Big W face paints. To live your Instagram goals, why not dress the entire clan according to a single theme such as troll dolls or The Adams Family? You can always seek out iconic DVDs and soundtracks at JB Hi-Fi for inspiration.
Broadcast to the community that you’re practising Halloween hospitality with few affordable but effective props and decorations. You can pick up black balloons and woollen spiderwebs at Woolworths, graveyard-themed garden signage and window stickers at Big W, and ghost-shaped fairy lights at Kmart. It only takes a few pipe cleaners, a foam ball and some googly eyes to make your own hanging spiders, and you can even find glow-in-the-dark pet attire if you want your four-legged friend to match the décor. Of course, it wouldn’t be Halloween without gathering the family around the table to carve a smiling jack o’lantern out of a nice big pumpkin from De Marias Fruit & Veg (though you can cheat with a battery-powered one from Big W if needed).
Stuffed orange capsicums with jack-o-lantern faces or margarita pizza with the cheese arranged in a spiderweb pattern are two easy ways to fill the kids’ bellies before they devour their entire lolly haul. To add some eeriness to the table, look for themed paper cups and napkins in Woolworths and consider the skull-shaped candles and tealights available from Dusk. A morning tea treat of orange-iced finger buns from Bakers Delight is bound to go down well this week too. To round out the festivities, spoil the kids with a visit to Reading Cinemas to watch Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween or a home screening of the Hotel Transylvania trilogy.
For more Halloween magic, enrol your youngest in our pop-up Wizardly Weekend this Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October from 11am till 4pm.