Friday, 30 October 2015

Halloween Mum Hacks

Try as you might, you just can't avoid Halloween anymore, can you?  Gone are the pre-children days when you could simply pretend that you weren't at home when the trick or treaters came around, and Pinterest boards full of cool decorations and costumes did not even exist.

The problem is that when you've got kids you're kind of duty bound to joining in with the spirit of things (see what I did there?) at this time of year.

Which is great, it can be fun, but the problem is I frequently forget all about it until its too late which disappoints the kids.  How on earth can it be Halloween already?  They've only just gone back to school.


Because of this I have developed another series of mum hacks which means that I can get away with doing almost nothing be all halloween-y at the drop of a hat and look like I'm really organised, and without spending 56 million pounds at Home Bargains to boot.

And, as I know how much you lot love a mum hack, I'm going to share...


We never do trick or treating because who wants to stand outside in the rain on a freezing cold October night while your children beg the neighbours for sweets?  Fortunately my kids are quite OK with the idea of staying inside in the warm too, but they still want to celebrate Halloween.

Sometimes (probably about twice during the time the kids have been growing up if I'm being honest, but in my head it feels like a lot more) we throw ourselves a little Halloween party instead.

Party games can help fill the time and give the impression that I am the fun parent when all I'm really trying to do is get through the job of parenting full stop, so what about a spot of Apple Bobbing?  It's the no stress/mess/noise option that is actually good for your children. 

Just shove a washing up bowl full of water and apples on the floor and watch as they try to get the apples with their teeth.  They can't talk (too busy trying to catch the apples), its easy because everyone has apples at the bottom of the fruit bowl that need using up and, the real genius part - it's part of their five a day!  They think they are getting a fun party game, but really all you've done is shove some forgotten about fruit in water. Genius.

Silence is golden, and part of your five a day...


So, carrying on with the theme of being disorganised last minute here, is it any wonder that you'll have forgotten all about the Halloween costumes too?

Fear not!  You can fix this!

I'm not about to get all Pinterest on you and tell you how to make a Zombie outfit from an old sheet and a bin liner, although if such a thing exists, and I bet it does, please feel free to tweet me so that I can feel really inadequate.  

No, what the true Halloween mum hacker needs is a shop bought witches or skeleton costume, but aren't they expensive?  Chances are you will have looked at them three weeks ago in the shops and decided they cost too much.  I know I did.  

So what do you do?  You wait.  Hold your nerve fellow hacker because as soon as the 31st October rolls around something magical happens in all supermarkets across the land. 

Everything Halloween becomes half price or less.  

This means that you can pick up a witches costume complete with broomstick and hat for the bargain price of 99p.  Size does not matter because there is so much shirring elastic in those things that you can buy several sizes up with it still fitting and keep it for next year too.  You can also recycle a skeleton costume for World Book Day (with added hat) to become Funny Bones (see previous Mum Hacks for details who am I kidding? that's it).

What do you mean, too big?  But it was cheap...


Decorations are key to giving your home that really spooky festive feel.  But what if you don't have any? What if your husband banned you from the delight that is the Home Bargains Halloween aisle on the basis that you have too much tat in the house already?

The one advantage of it being half term around the time of Halloween is that if you are as lazy as me you won't have been bothered had time to dust.  This is fantastic news for the mum hacker in need of decorations.  Didn't you know?  Dust and spiders webs are the latest in cool spooky decorations.  Turns out you don't need to do anything other than let the invertebrates get on with it...

And who can really be bothered with pumpkins?  Such a lot of hard work and then they go rotten.  Why not use any other fruit you have to hand instead?  Bananas?  Oranges?  You've used all the apples up already, (OK so Pinterest says you can make fun edible Jack O' lanterns from peppers but that is a bit too wholesome for my purpose) so just use a Sharpie (the ultimate mum hacker tool IMO, if you don't have one, get one now because they come in handy for all sorts) draw a face on your chosen fruit and save yourself some time.  By doing this you won't risk hacking a fingertip off by accident too.  Sorted.

No fingertips were lost in the making of this pumpki... erm, tangerine.

Handling Trick or Treaters

What about all those annoying kids who persist in bleeding you dry of your precious sweetie stash knock on your door?  I suppose you could get some sweets in for them.  Train your children to answer the door while dressed up and tell them it's another fun Halloween game.  That way you won't need to get off Facebook to answer the door yourself.  

But what if you have a run on trick or treaters and all the good stuff goes?  This is where a cupboard full of those little boxes of raisins (that your own kids refuse to eat) helps.  Save them til last and then wait until a few teenagers in scream masks come round looking for treats.  Offer them the raisins.  You can guarantee that yours will be the one house that nobody will bother with next year, and you'll have gotten shot of the raisin boxes too.  Trick or Treat indeed.  You're welcome.

If everything else fails and it all gets a bit too much...

Have twins.  Well, when I say have twins what I really mean is pretend to have had twins.  Unless you do actually have twins, in which case you can use them to your advantage.  How?  Well, some of our quietest Halloween nights over the years have been when (using that Sharpie again, told you it would come in handy) we've put the following sign on the front door...

Yes, they really are asleep... (but not babies)

But my twins are six years old?  Doesn't matter.  For the purposes of Halloween evening and the constant stream of strangers with kids, they are still newborns and nobody wants to disturb a newborn baby, let alone two, do they?

So there you have it.  My guide to a happy Halloween without actually having to do anything much.

And remember, once you're past this weekend then the festive fun can really start - Black Friday?  *whispers* the C word? kill me now

This time of year is a mum hacker's paradise...

Whatever you are doing this Saturday, have a Hacky Happy Halloween from me :)

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