“What are you doing on Halloween day?”  my friend asked as we watched our boys at the playground.

“Uh, take them trick or treating in the neighbourhood?”

“No, I mean BEFORE that. How are you going to keep them busy during the day?”

Oh yeah. Shoot.

I stared at her with mounting panic as the implication of all those empty hours set in. All those hours of “Is it time yet?”

If you too are looking for what to do to fill the pre-trick-or-treating time, we’ve got some great ideas! You can thank me with miniature Reese Cups and snack sized Coffee Crisp bars.

Decorate pumpkins! I know, goopy, gloopy pumpkin guts all over the place isn’t the most fun, but it’s once a year and my kids love the nasty feel of gourd innards. If you can convince your kids to paint them instead of carve them, you’ll save a lot of mess and hassle. Here are some great no-carve ideas, and tips for picking the perfect pumpkin!

Watch a spooky movie! Especially if the weather outside is frightful, a cozy movie inside is the perfect way to while away the afternoon and set the mood for  the night to come! My favourite is the classic It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, although my kids find the pacing a little slow. Here are some other suggestions for frightful family favourite flicks.

Halloween Day

Make a Halloween supper! Our Family Fun Vancouver editor always makes me drool with the recipes she makes and posts on Facebook, and I am actually considering trying to emulate her adorable “ghostly shepherd’s pie” It’s regular shepherd’s pie with the mashed potatoes piped on from an icing bag in the shape of ghosts. Green peas for eyes add the final spooky touch. I’m also toying with the idea of a mummy meatloaf. I’ve seen a poor-man’s Beef Wellington style from Pillsbury, or a fairly gruesome looking one with bacon “wrappings.” Yum! Maybe you can try it and let me know how it goes.

Get crafty! You might already have decorations adorning your abode, but you can always do a little more! This year we are going glow stick crazy (thanks dollar store!) with cardboard tube glowing eyes to hide in the bushes and glowing ghost heads on the porch.

Plan your route! Your little one might know your block very well in the day time, but the dark combined with the spooky decorations can make your familiar territory a frightful place. A daylight walk to remind them they are in a safe place can make a world of difference for once night falls!

Halloween Day

Stock up on Halloween stories! If you are an organized sort, you may have a stash of Halloween books in with your seasonal decorations. I do not. BUT lucky for me, my favourite place, Edmonton Public Library has a bunch! At this stage of the game, pickings may be a little slim, but you can always find something to check out. Literally. (You should hear me laughing right now. It’s ridiculous how funny I think I am.)

Head to the Mall! If you are looking to get out of the house and maybe get some early trick or treating in, there are a bunch of local malls hosting some late afternoon fun on Halloween. There are crafts, games and special guests in addition to the trick or treating!

Many thanks to Lindsay at Family Fun Vancouver for all her great ideas!