I love it.... Maybe because its interactive. Maybe cos there is chocolate involved. But Halloween is one of my favourite practises. We decorate the house and get dressed up , carve a pumpkin and eagerly await wee trick or treaters on the night. I have been actively taking part for years. Especially as a Nanny, it was in our job description ! So I know the drill. But as a new parent with a wee one, you don't know where to start . Heres a few suggestions I have found to navigate your way through the night.

Decide to participate , I know this sounds a no brainer kind of, but Halloween can be a daunting time for those don't want to participate. You will have children and sometimes teens banging on your door and demanding sweets for a few hours ! For elderly this can be scary and not in a good way. Families with young babies etc don't need the constant noise. So show your intention first and foremost.

If you do want ghoulish or very cute visitors,

- Keep your lights on , on the night (and vice versa, shut the curtains, move to the back of the house, and have no indication of Halloween paraphernalia. )

-Carve a pumpkin and put a candle in it !

-Decorate the front aspect of house, be it a few cobwebs etc

- Get organised. You will need sweets ! there are lots of options so there is no excuse. To avoid running out and disappointment , you hand them out instead of letting them take some.

If you are planning on venturing out,

-try to leave someone in the house to do your bit of give and take.

-With younger ones , go out earlier. The older children tend to go for scarier costumes and in the dark this can be extra scary for a wee one dressed as fairy !

- Manners , pleases and thank yous go along way

- Talk to your neighbours , we in a the suburbs of my past put out a map of houses that were defiantly doing Halloween so you had at least a few places you could go to.

- When your done, signal that to trick or treaters , blow out the pumpkin, put a sign out, no more candy left see you next year. Turn off lights to signal you are finished

- Once you are home, divide up sweets to be handed out at a different time to your wee ones, sugar overload on the night is not pretty.

-If you are going all in , then dress up yourself. Your wee one will appreciate the effort. Go matching or in theme to them. Its part of the fun.

To get the night started , in the past for the wee ones that weren't of trick or treating age but older to know whats going on. I had Halloween parties, we would carve the pumpkin together, they choosing the design. We had Halloween themed dinner, finger sandwiches and eye ball spaghetti etc. There are so many great ideas online for making food to theme. We would have a blindfolded scavenger hunt. Think putting hands in cold pasta to find a sweet or jelly squishing. Apple games and painting rocks as pumpkins. Pin the grin on a pumpkin. You can get crafty and make a spiderweb out of a paper plate and black wool. Ghosts out of tissue and ping pong balls with string or dental floss. Remember Halloween is originally a Harvest festival as well as you don't have to focus on a spooky undead night. It can be fun and educational for all .

For me Halloween ushers in Autumn and Winter, it a fun way of celebrating the harvest and a wonderful now gone Summer. I dress up and eat sweets and use my kids as an excuse to do so. A little forward planning and it can be a wonderful night for everyone involved young and old.

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