By Barbara Reich
Author of Secrets of an Organized Mom
As a child, the whole concept of Halloween seems too good to be true. You get to wear a costume, knock on strangers' doors, and ask them for candy. Then you pretty much eat as many sweets as you want for an entire night. But as a parent, Halloween can be downright scary.
Your pre-schooler changes his mind four times about his costume, your tween wants to trick-or-treat with friends (and no parent), and your teenager's costume seems to be exposing an awful lot of skin. And you haven't even started thinking about the costume you're wearing to your friend's annual Monster Mash. So how can you enjoy the holiday keeping it fun? Here are some tips that are sure to help.
1. Take out your Halloween decorations two to three weeks before the holiday. If you've gone to the trouble of buying and storing the decorations, enjoy them for a few weeks as excitement for the holiday builds.
2. Begin to think about Halloween costumes as soon as the back-to-school fervor fades. If you're going to order a costume online, leave yourself enough time for it to be shipped to you and returned if the size isn't correct. Planning on making a costume? Start early enough so you can enjoy the process with your child.
3. Buy your Halloween candy early. The prices for candy are the highest in the two weeks before Halloween.
4. This is the perfect time to sort through your child's dress-up clothes. Maybe you can find a costume your child wants to wear or some accessories that can be used. It's also the perfect time to purge the costumes that no longer fit.
5. Sort Halloween candy by type and store in glass or clear plastic cylinders of different heights. You'll be amazed at how pretty the candy looks when stored this way.
6. After trick-or-treating, invite your child's friends over for a cake or cupcake-decorating play date. Unwrap the candy and place it in bowls in the middle of the table. Then, give them each several frosted cupcakes or one cake to decorate. The candy will stick to the icing, the children will have a great time, and you'll be rid of the candy by the end of the afternoon.
7. November 1 isn't too soon to take down the Halloween decorations. All things Halloween related should be put away by the weekend following the holiday. Halloween books, pumpkin carving kits, Halloween decorations, and costumes should be stored in a clear plastic box with a lid (size and number of boxes depends on the quantity you have). This should be put away, out of the way, until next year.
8. Be realistic about saving costumes. If you have a child that loves playing dress up, add it to the stash. However, if there's little chance the costume will be worn again, donate it.
Barbara Reich is a professional organizer based in New York City. Her tough love approach turns organization and clutter from chore to lifestyle. Barbara's book Secrets of an Organized Mom will be on shelves in February 2013. To find more tips from Barbara, please visit her personal website, like her on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.
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