This site is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Level up your pumpkin carving skills
Dedicated jack-o’-lantern carving tools
Most of us . have tried the flimsy pumpkin carving sets sold at grocery stores around the country only to be disappointed. This year I upgraded to a Messermeister set, which includes larger and much sturdier tools: A spoonlike pumpkin scraper, a sawtooth carver, and a smaller etching device (which can also be used to carve citrus ribbons to garnish cocktails). My 7-year-old was able to successfully carve eyes into his zombie pumpkin with the sawtooth knife and my 5-year-old could scoop out the brains much more effectively with the oversize scraper than with a regular large kitchen spoon.
Pro level carving tools (not just for Halloween)
If you’d rather spend your money on tools you can use more than once per year, two of the three knives we consider most essential for any kitchen, a chef’s knife and a paring knife, can also serve as key pumpkin-carving implements (a Dremel also comes in handy year-round). For the first rough cut to remove a pumpkin top, we recommend a sharp eight-inch chef’s knife. A paring knife is another kitchen essential you probably already have that works well to create frightening facial features, though a serrated paring knife is superior for sawing into pumpkin flesh. For ambitious carvers wanting to tackle curved shapes, like scary eyebrows on a pumpkin goblin, say, the ideal tool is a tourné knife, also known as a bird’s beak. The curved edge is also great for smoothing out any rough edges in your design. And it’s a killer blade for hulling strawberries, stemming tomatoes, and other small trimming tasks.
Add to the creepy ambiance with some fangs
Scarecrow Vampire Fangs – Amazon
Scarecrow Vampire Fangs – Walmart
Dollar-store vampire fangs fit in no one’s mouth, make talking impossible, and look like you bought them from, well, the dollar store. Scarecrow Vampire fangs, on the other hand, mold directly over your canines or incisors, creating a perfect fitting, natural-looking spiked tooth that you can reuse through multiple years and costumes. Try to name a costume that isn't better with some fangs….. Go ahead, I'll wait.
A speaker to pump some spooky jams
I use the UE Megaboom to play a Halloween-themed Spotify playlist (lots of Oingo Boingo and Rocky Horror) in my front yard. It makes it fun to sit on the porch for a break or have a lawn dance party when my kids have had it with trick-or-treating and would rather hand out candy.
It's loud, rugged, and waterproof which makes it ideal for the job.
Mix and match glowsticks
PartySticks 8″ Glow Sticks (from $12 for 100 bracelets)
We always have at least one adult with a great flashlight to help light the way, but our kids are resistant to the hassle of carrying a flashlight themselves, and a headlamp blinds other trick-or-treaters and the people treating them. Plus, it’s tough to fit a headlamp over many costumes. We’ve found a happy compromise in glow-stick bracelets and necklaces. The kids love wearing them—individually or as elaborate DIY contraptions—and their colorful light makes our little monsters easier for drivers to see. (They’re also great for finding your particular trick-or-treater among the throng.) But beware: If one kid has them, every kid in the group will want them. Luckily, you can get 100 of them for just $12, or 200 for $17.
LED Fairy lights
Qedertek LED Starry String Lights ($15 for 8 strings)
These LED fairy lights come with 30 tiny, yet very bright LED lights per 9.8-foot string. Each box comes with 8 lights and an easy on/off switch. The lightweight power pack (with watch battery included) can be tucked into a pocket, hat, or fold of fabric, and the wire is easy to shape around or in whatever you’re brightening. Wear a string as a crown, necklace, or bracelet, wrap them around your bike or scooter for heightened visibility, or use them in your candy dish to make it glow. Bonus, when they aren't being used to create a spooky ambiance in your front yard, your kids will love using them to add some glow to their room.
A better goody bag
I know, I know, you COULD just use an old pillowcase, but If you want a personalizable trick-or-treat bucket that’s easy to store and reuse every year, I like Lands’ End’s Glow-In-the-Dark Halloween Tote. It won’t hold quite as much candy as that pillowcase (your kids’ dentist will probably thank you), but this bag’s very easy for small hands to hold themselves so you don’t get stuck carrying their loot. These come in a variety of different styles sure to please even the most discerning of children.
Bonus: It glows, so it's automatically awesome!
Smarter trick or treating
It happens every year without fail. I head out with the kids to do some trick-or-treating and some kid strolls up and empties the entire candy bowl into their bag. This season, be prepared with the Ring Video Doorbell 2. Not only do you get motion activated push notifications, but it also has solid night vision, and the ability for you to have two way communication should you need to scare off some candy bowl theives. Paired with the Ring Chime, it can also emit screams, howls, creaks, cackles, and other creepy holiday sounds.
Costume basics they’ll wear year round
Kids never get enough of playing dress-up. Luckily, Primary makes simple, brightly colored costume/pajamas for kids from babies up to size 12. This year I have a Superman and a pumpkin on my hands and both of them will be cozier with their costumes built over solid-colored Primary pjs.
Bonus: When they get home exhausted after a long night of trick or treating, we can just peel off the outer layer of costume and put them to bed.
Have any other must have halloween tips or ideas? Share them in the comments!
Don't forget to check out Spirit Halloween for somechildren'ss costume ideas