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All Wrapped Up: Simple tips to celebrate Halloween

Posted October 24, 2013

Easy Halloween door decoration. Courtesy: All Wrapped Up

Today, let’s admit to our degree of apathy towards the Halloween festivity quickly approaching.

We are busy, busy people and Halloween is another something to overwhelm us. Say it with us: I do not CARE to go into the attic and haul down the heavy box of orange decorations. I can barely sort through the paper stack on my counter, let alone sort through which decorations deserve a spot in my cluttered home.

Can I please focus on one thing at a time and at least TRY to clear my yard of leaves so the sunshine can reach my newly seeded lawn?! Kids, let’s worry about costumes AFTER we solve the problem of your high-waters and shop for warmer clothes that actually fit. And if you want to visit a pumpkin patch this year be prepared to miss someone’s birthday party! Whew. “Fall into fall” and mind you don’t fall flat on your face. The holiday season has officially begun.

As party planners, we know that keeping décor and activities uncomplicated always lends itself to more fun for everyone. We offer you a mantra for this holiday season: When you feel overwhelmed, say it out loud over and over again (while taking in deep, satisfying breaths) until you feel better. Here’s your saving grace as you hurtle through the inevitable holiday madness: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID.

Yes, call yourself stupid. Not because you are, but as a reminder that you’re not perfect and never, ever will be. And that’s OK.

Here are three KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID-inspired Halloween activities, to help with your indifference and, much more importantly, engage and spend quality time with your child. If you tackle one, who knows, it may motivate you to complete, even enjoy another…

Front Door Décor

How about that neighbor with the impressive yard décor, low-lying, spooky fog, strobe light effects and recordings that send your children running? Bully for them! Not too many of us go nuts with outdoor Halloween decor. After all, we need to save our stamina for Christmas lights! This year, focus on the space that’s guaranteed to get heavy traffic this Halloween: your front door. It’ll give the illusion the inside of your house is decorated, too!

Here are three quick and easy front-door displays that are great fun to do with your children:
1. Pick up two packs of that cheap, packaged spider web and pull and work it over your entire front door. Hang a giant spider down the middle and you’re done!
2. Wrap your door in orange craft or wrapping paper and you have a blank slate for creative freedom: Create one big jack-o-lantern face with black construction paper. Let the kids plan out a Halloween scene and make their vision a reality!
3. Hang a ghost-white sheet over the door and duct-tape glow-in-dark, big googly eyes (or big eyes made out of construction paper).

Pumpkin Centerpiece

Carving an elaborate (or not so elaborate) design into your huge pumpkin patch pumpkin is a tradition in many families. However, other than helping to gut the pumpkin, young children are typically left out of the more creative part of this event. Here’s a simple idea to keep young hands and minds busy while you wield the carving knife. Pumpkin vase


In preparation, pick up a bouquet of fresh fall flowers or visit your local craft store and select a few seasonal, silk floral stems. Any décor with height will work for this activity. Money doesn’t have to be spent; have your child search the house for items or get creative with your own craft supplies (popsicle sticks, feathers, pipe cleaners, etc.)!

After your child has helped gut a pumpkin, set a vase inside. It’s your child’s time to shine. Have her style a unique arrangement that is her very own. Have him help you with a larger floral arrangement or set aside some flowers for him to create a mini arrangement in a smaller, scooped out pumpkin. Your child will love helping you decorate with your new centerpiece creations!

Halloween Story Tradition

For children, a tradition reinforces critical elements of a thriving family dynamic: a strong sense of self, stability, a sense of belonging, security, extension of values and — three cheers for — togetherness. Pick a favorite family Halloween book

While your children are young, establish one book that you can read every Halloween together. Kids in tow, visit your local library or book store, on a hunt to find your family’s special Halloween book. You’ll know it when you find it, and you may already have it; do you recall a beloved Halloween book from your childhood? Children love reading the same book again and again, so expect for everyone to know it by heart eventually! The repetition will only strengthen your new tradition.

The holiday season is upon us, and life is busier than ever. What’s that mantra again?? You know, the one with the added insult. Oh yeah, that’s right: KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID. Take our advice: Don’t set yourself up for failure with grand, elaborate plans for the holiday season. Instead, engage your child with fun and easy activities. Less is more, and you’ll be happier and better able to prioritize your many, many responsibilities as Super-Parent. The greatest take-away will be the opportunity to celebrate your child’s special contribution.

Happy Halloween!

Julia and Alexis run All Wrapped Up, a Cary-based party planning business. Check out their website, blog and Facebook page to learn more about what they do.

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