17 Easy Halloween Hacks for Kids & Families

This post may contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.

Looking for Halloween hacks for kids to make Halloween a little easier? Check out these Halloween tips and tricks that parents need to try this year.

Halloween is my favorite holiday and I love to make the most out of the season. However, it can throw families off of schedule (not to mention the deluge of candy to navigate).

Below you’ll find Halloween tips and tricks we use with our toddlers before setting out on a night of trick or treating.

These Halloween tips are all easy to implement, perfect for busy parents. They also focus on low-cost ideas so they won’t break the bank.

Let’s get Halloween-ing!

collage of halloween pictures like kids in costumes, pumpkins and halloween accessories. Text overlay says try these simple Halloween hacks for kids and families

1. Glow sticks instead of candy

The first three hacks are all about glow sticks because they are Halloween hack game changers. Plus, you can get them super cheap when you’re stocking up on Halloween stuff at Dollar Tree.

Instead of giving out candy this year, give out glow sticks. Glow sticks are a great alternative to candy because they are allergy-friendly and cheaper than candy.

At Dollar Tree, you can get a pack of 25 glow sticks for a Dollar making them cheaper per piece than most types of candy.

a pack of glowstick bracelets

2. Glow stick necklaces for visibility

Use glow stick necklaces and bracelets to make your kids more visible when they’re trick-or-treating at night. This helps cars to see them and helps you keep track of them in a crowd.

3. Glow sticks in kids’ trick-or-treat bag

If you don’t think your kid will wear glow stick necklaces, you can give them opaque trick-or-treating bags, like a white pillow case, and throw lit glow sticks in the bag. It won’t be quite as illuminating but still can add some glow for visibility

This picture is of a small plastic basket filled with glow sticks being held by a hand in an aisle at the dollar store

4. Reflective tape

Another alternative to glow stick necklaces is to put reflective tape on your kid’s costume and trick-or-treat bucket. This will give reflective light if headlights shine on them, increasing visibility.

5. Good dinner before trick or treating

Serving a meal that kids love before trick or treating helps fill them up before the deluge of candy. If they’re not hungry, it can reduce their urge to candy binge (or at least get some protein and fiber on board to buffer the sugar rush).

The backs of toddlers in a turtle and duck costume looking onto a dinosaur statute

6. Crock pot dinner

Halloween dinner can be such a blur. To help make sure everyone gets in that satisfying dinner, throw together a crock pot meal in the morning before things get hectic.

For some ideas, check out this wild rice soup recipe or these stuffed peppers.

7. Clementine pumpkins instead of candy

Another cute and easy allergy-friendly item to give trick-or-treaters is clementines or mandarin oranges. You can make them more festive by drawing quick jack-o-lantern faces on them with sharpies.

a clementine with a jack-o-lantern face drawn on with a sharpee and the market in the front of the frame

8. Cookie cutter pumpkin carving

For little kids who can’t draw jack-o-lantern faces yet, use a cookie cutter that they can trace on the pumpkin. Pick simplier shape cookie cutters that they can choose from for easier cutting afterwards.

9. Consignment shop kids costumes early

After having made my kids UPS truck costume one year, buying a costume was such a luxurious Halloween hack. It saves so so so much time.

However, costumes aren’t cheap so start checking consignment shops like Once Upon a Child and thrift stores early. Children’s consignment shops usually have big costume sections so it’s almost like shopping in a store, just for a fraction of the cost (for real, why are new costumes so expensive?)

a homemade UPS truck costume made of boxes with toddler arms holding it up
Homemade UPS truck costume that took so so many hours to make

10. Organize a neighborhood costume swap

Instead of buying new costumes, organize a community costume swap. Everyone can bring an old costume that they no longer need and pick out a new costume from the group.

The backs of two toddlers in rainbow color unicorn costumes

11. Wagon costumes

Incorporating a wagon into a costume is such a good Halloween trick. You have a place to contain your kids, keep all your junk, and make simpler costumes while still looking impressive.

Target sold a few wagon costumes last year like a fire truck. Feeling more industrious? Make your wagon into a circus cage and use an animal costume. Or, make it look like Grease Lightning and put your kid in T-bird leather jackets.

The back of a man pulling a wagon with a huge pumpkin in it
Using our wagon to pull the biggest pumpkin imaginable

12. Practice trick-or-treating

If you have younger kids, practice trick-or-treating leading up to the big night. We try to watch videos of new experiences in advance to help our kids get more comfortable.

You can also practice going to your door and going through the trick-or-treat motions to get used to holding a bag, knocking on a door, etc. Halloween can be an overwhelming experience so practice can help make it more enjoy for little ones.

(Don’t forget to talk about how costumes are pretend if you have a nervous kid. One of ours was terrified of “scary” costumes last year and we had to carry her all Halloween).

baby crawling in a pumpkin patch with text overlay that says 17 simple halloween hacks for parents & kids (halloween tips and tricks for a less stress holiday)

13. Halloween activity coupon book

There are so many activities surrounding Halloween that it can feel like a lot of pressure to “make the most” of the season. Before the start of Halloween season, sit down and decide what your Halloween priorities are.

Then, make them into a coupon book that you can give kids. The book can act as a way to pace yourself and not feel guilty for not doing enough. Plus, they’ll love the novelty.

14. Go to pumpkin patches & Halloween festivals early

Pumpkin patches and Fall festivals can get crazy busy as you get closer to Halloween. To beat the crowds, try going to these places as early as possible in the season. Plus, it helps space out your Halloween activities more if you start early.

Photo backdrop at a pumpkin patch with two white wicker chairs and pumpkins and hay around them

15. Halloween decoration scavenger hunt

Looking for an easy activity? Make up a Halloween decoration scavenger hunt for kids and then go take a walk in your neighborhood to find everything. Simple but so much fun.

crates stacked to make a wall with decorative gourds and pumpkins in each
Halloween decorations

16. Tally candy math after trick-or-treating

After Halloween night, give kids a big piece of paper where they can tally the different types of candy they get. It’s a fun way to practice math and kids get into seeing what type of candy was the most popular that year.

17. Donate leftover candy

Have more candy than you need? Don’t know what to do with all the choking hazard candy your toddler got? Consider donating extra candy after Halloween.

There are a number of organizations that will accept candy donations after Halloween, such as Treats for Troops. You can also find a list of other donation options here.

black square with orange and white font that says halloween hacks for families with a pumpkin graphic

Read more:

Need more Halloween ideas? Check out all the cool Halloween finds at Dollar Tree to save you money.

About the Author

Elizabeth Jon is a Ph.D. researcher whose work focuses on pregnancy and education. At Shoestring Baby, she uses her skills to research baby name trends, in-depth baby gear reviews & money savings ideas for parents.

Similar Posts