The Big 3 of Halloween: Candy, Costumes and Decorations

Family Matters on 09.06.11
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It's 106 degrees outside, but Labor Day has passed, football season has started and Starbucks has released the seasonal favorite, Pumpkin Spice Latte. That can only mean one thing, it's time to start thinking about Halloween.

Scary, isn't it?

Halloween has many faces to consider, and while we can't address them all we can breakdown the big three, candy, costumes and decorations. 


Every holiday has a confection connection, but Halloween doesn't try to hide it in hearts or eggs. Candy is the currency of the season and even in tough times the gold standard can't touch the one set by chocolate.

If you're passing out candy here are some things to consider:

Don't be cheap. That doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money, but if you buy stuff nobody will eat all you're doing in wasting money. You'd be better off passing out rocks.

Buy candy that you like. There is always a chance that your bowl of candy will still have goodies in it after the last treat has tricked, and it may as well be something that you like. You deserve it.

Homemade treats are still acceptable in some circles. Sure, parents that don't know you might want to skip your popcorn balls, candy apples or gingerbread muffins, but the people you do know? They'll be all over that stuff, and they'll think of you fondly when they're throwing out generic tootsie rolls in the middle of December.


Costumes can be a family affair. My kids love the idea of us doing group themes. We discussed KISS, the Scooby-Doo gang, superhero teams (Avengers and Justice League, respectively), Mario Bros., and the cast of Phineas and Ferb.

However, this year a consensus was never reached so we have a 5-year-old Captain America and an 8-year-old Captain Jack Sparrow, and -- wait! That is a theme. Captains! I wonder if I can get my wife to dress as Tennille…


When I was a kid we made jack-o-lanterns out of paper plates and hung them with tape in the windows. We had similar crafts for ghosts, black cats and assorted monsters. These days, you can buy animatronic zombies for you mailbox and screaming banshees for your doorbell. Basically, anything you can think of is available at prices you don't want to think about. Levels of scariness also apply to the wallet.

I think my kids will be making decorations this year. They don't know the difference between cheap and expensive decor, but they do know how to color, and with creativity comes a sense of pride that you can't buy at any store.

I like to justify my frugalness with life lessons and tints of nostalgia.

What are your Halloween plans and/or suggestions for candy, costumes and decorations?

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Photo: W.Honea