Photo by Donald Cook from FreeImages
Photo by Donald Cook from FreeImages

Eerie or cheery, ghastly or ghostly, alarming or charming, whatever your kiddos are aiming for, Halloween’s a comin’ so it’s time to get creative.

According to The Balance, Halloween retail spending last year hit the $9 billion mark, or “a record $86.79 per person, according to the National Retail Federation’s annual survey.” The article attributes this to Halloween being “a very affordable holiday” but also to consumer confidence being at a 10-year high.

With very few “ingredients” and a little bit of clever, low-cost fun is definitely within reach with Goodhousekeeping’s “Halloween 2019: Costumes, Food, Décor!” Super useful are “55+ Last Minute Costumes You Can DIY,” 25 Easy Pumpkin Carving Ideas for Halloween,” and “30+ Pumpkin Painting Ideas for a Colorful Halloween.” 

Costumes in the last-minute category, many of which could work for kids or grown-ups, include a sea anemone made of long blown-up pink balloons and a “green with envy” twosome involving one person wearing a green shirt and…wait for it, a second person in a shirt that says, “envy.” Another fun pairing is “cloud and rainbow,” shown with an adult holding an umbrella covered in a polyester batting “cloud,” dangling mobile-like raindrops and a child sandwiched between a colorful two-sided rainbow.

But they also offer “65+ Kids’ Halloween Costume Ideas for Easy, Creative, and Unique Trick-or-Treating.” Your little one could “be” a homemade donut costume—no sewing required and tutorial at Sugar Bee Crafts—or for those who yearn to torment the squeamish, a spider infestation—tutorial at a Girl and a Glue Gun.

Want to try a stay-home Halloween? Check out “Fun Alternatives to Trick or Treating Your Kids Will Love” from the Pick Any Two blog. They include “bobbing for donuts” (strung in the air not floating like apples!), a Halloween pinata, and a crafty night spent making masks, decorating pumpkins, and more.

Find even more ways to play with “25 Fun Halloween Party Games for Kids,” by Jamie Sanders’ Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom blog, and updated for 2019. Halloween Bingo (and Charades!), Halloween Face Painting, and Pin the Bow Tie on Mr. Bones the Skeleton.

To continue the “fun with bones,” get down to some bare-bones learning with the adorable play-anytime but no-better-time-than-Halloween Napoleon Bone Apart app for Mac, iOS, Android, or Windows download. Introduce the fun of science to 4- to 6-year-oklds with this light-up puzzle that builds vocabulary and knowledge of the human skeleton as players complete the puzzle bone by bone. It also highlights the size and shape of each bone, boosting visual and spatial perception skills. Watch the highlighted cues, and put together Napoleon, the friendly skeleton, from a pile of bones. Hear the bones click into place, as the scientific name is pronounced and displayed. When Napoleon is complete, watch him dance a little jig!

For that same, learning-to-read age group, the Guess Who? Interactive Read-along (iOS eBook) (Halloween) is a sweet treat. (It’s also available for Kindle.) Preschoolers will gobble up learning as they practice colors, shapes, and more. A zippy, seasonally themed board book comes to life in this interactive version with kid-friendly audio.

If you do head out for trick-or-treating or other away-from-home festivities, check out Healthy Children’s “Halloween Safety Tips.” They include considering “adding reflective tape or striping to costumes or Trick-or-Treat bags for greater visibility” and maybe opting for “non-toxic makeup and decorative hats as safer alternatives” to masks, which “can limit or block eyesight.”

Make the best pumpkin-season memories ever.