Just like everything else with children, Halloween is what you make of it and really needn’t be restricted to the anti social candy raiding we’ve all grown to deplore. 

Halloween naturally captures kids’ imaginations and it’s a great excuse to hit the library and teach them about the origins and traditional characters of Halloween while they’re interested, plus indulge them in some spooky storybooks (check them over first!) and with card and crayons make some new scary stories together: you’ll be surprised what they come up with and they make great keepsakes.

It is a great season for crafts and again it doesn’t have to be clichéd and frightening: keep the eye triangles you pop out of the pumpkin and reattach them to the top with toothpicks to make cat ears – whisker slices are fiddly but totally worth it! Corn dollies, themed paper garlands and crepe paper leaf chains are all pleasingly easy and highly individual, so instead of buying decorations let the kids do the house themselves. Why not hit the park for large leaves to string, plus pinecone spiders with pipe cleaner legs are actually pretty creepy!

Costumes are the same – it doesn’t have to be all blood, guts and gore – pick up the basics or fabrics to personalize at home and help the kids design and make their own outfits. Recycling old costumes with new features glued or sewn on sets a great example and encourages kids’ creativity, the effort is worth it when they proudly tell everyone you see that they made it themselves.

Why not join the growing trend of Trick AND Treating, which is rewriting the custom and bringing it back toward family and community: help your little one prepare a simple trick to perform (an interior pocketed hat and toy rabbit, or basic card trick is easiest) and bake cookies together, then deliver to the neighbors your trick and treat, accepting the candy – and applause - in return. It promotes a sense of effort rewarded rather than entitlement, and is basically more fun for everyone!

And finally please remember if you are letting them Trick Or Treat without you to have firm rules in place that they understand: ensure everyone’s mobile phone is charged and relevant numbers easy to locate quickly, never go alone or leave the group alone, never enter a strangers’ house for any reason even as a group, stick to main and well lit areas always. Have kids store treats given by strangers and neighbors in separate bags so they can snack safely going round and you can check through the rest first. Let’s keep the only really scary stuff at Halloween the masks and the e-numbers!