Halloween on a School Night – How to Make it Happy

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by Carissa Joines

by Carissa Joines

Halloween is on a weeknight this year, but that doesn’t have to squash the fun! With a little planning ahead, you can stretch the spooky amusements over several days, get a lot of mileage out of those costumes, and collect even more candy.

Here are 8 tips to help you plan ahead and make the most Halloween this year:


Be clear on your expectations.

Kids handle changes better if they have clear information up front, and since most of them will only remember the last couple of Halloweens (which fell on the weekend) they may be expecting a late night and belly full of candy. Sit them down ahead of time and explain how this year is going to go, get agreement on how much candy they can eat that night, when you will sort out their haul (like after school the next day) and what time they are going to stop trick-or-treating.



Choose costumes wisely.

Complicated costumes, or those which require makeup or effects, will increase the time it takes to get into, and out of, them. If your child really wants a time-intensive costume, consider wearing that to a party or event over the weekend, and a simpler version of the costume for Halloween night.


teens-in-costumeParty over the weekend.

The Friday and Saturday before Halloween make for great party opportunities. Plan your own party, or attend one of the many events and activities held around town. Many local churches have themed events, as does Old Salem, and the Foothills Tasting Room. Have older kids who can handle a real scare? Head over to Greensboro to Woods of Terror – it’s well worth the drive and will get you in the Halloween mood for sure.


Talk to your neighbors.

Some neighborhoods will do trick-or-treating on the Saturday before Halloween, or add that as an option for families who want it. If your neighborhood utilizes Nextdoor, you can use their Treat Map feature to both mark your house as a spot for trick-or-treaters and find out which areas in the neighborhood have the most candy spots close together. You could also consider collaborative efforts, like setting up booths or tables in a cul-de-sac or along one street, making a final destination for trick-or-treaters. Families with smaller kids, or those who just don’t like repeatedly answering the door, could contribute candy to the cause, creating a final bag-stuffing spot sure to leave the kids happy.

sample treat map on nextdoor


Consider Homework

While some teachers will forgo homework on Halloween night, others might not (especially since we are coming to the end of a quarter.) Check with your child’s teacher ahead of time via email, and if they are planning on giving out homework, consider using a homework pass that night. If you can’t avoid homework, have your child do it as soon as you get home or while they are in childcare.


Plan ahead for a quick dinner.

spooky-finger-food-2You can throw something in the crockpot or go all out and make a spooky themed supper, but whatever you do, make sure it is quick to eat. Check out some of these ideas on Pinterest HERE for themed finger foods that will work great for a party or family supper on the way out the door.

Start the evening earlier.

Even if your kids aren’t little, a weeknight Halloween will mean that some neighbors will be putting their kids to bed and turning off their porch lights earlier. Plan for this by starting your trick-or-treating at dusk, so you can fit in as many houses as possible.


Make memories with with friends.

Trick-or-treating always feels like more fun if you are doing it with a friend. Consider meeting up to go out in groups, or swapping kids with a friend or neighbor so that your child has a group of friends to head out with. Add in a final stop at one home with a special treat (think Halloween pinata, small scavenger hunt, or some full-sized candy bars) and your kids won’t feel cheated by a shorter evening of knocking on doors.


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