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       When I was a child Halloween was every bit as exciting as Christmas. How could you beat the fun of dressing up in a homemade costume, hauling a bag around the dark neighbourhood and gathering a whole pile of candy?

Today, families spend enormous amounts of money in home and yard decorations, store bought costumes and fancy treats to give to the trick or treaters who show up at their door.

We grandparents can stop the madness. Well, at least we can put in our plea for a retro Halloween that doesn’t cost any more than a few bags of candy. Here are some ways to get into the Halloween fun with your grandkids and remind them that Granny and Gramps used to be kids too.

Homemade Costumes

In our day homemade costumes were the rule rather than the exception. Kids rooted through their parents’ closets to find ways to dress up like a pirate, a cowboy, a princess or a witch. Those going the extra mile might add some makeup. But today we might want to branch out a bit and use some creativity in creating a homemade costume. Did you see the picture of the little girl going as a gum ball? Or how about Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head or a piñata?

Think about what your grandchild loves. Is it Star Wars? Harry Potter? Bats? Football? Whatever it is, think of a costume to mirror it and work with your grandchild to put the costume together. You’ll have fun both in thinking up your idea and in finding a way to represent it.

Homemade Costumes Galore

Real Simple Costumes

Crafty Decorations

Jazz up your Halloween treats with some of these crafty ideas. Use paper plates to create a cute cat container, make paper bag owls or ghosts or create monster juice boxes for party favors. You’ll have lots of fun making paper towel roll glow sticks, ghost garlands that light up and 3-D spiders. Find the directions at Listotic. Your friendly Etsy shop has a whole raft of do it yourself Halloween decorating ideas that the grandkids can manage with a bit of help. Take a look.

Yummy Homemade Treats

Halloween isn’t complete without some great snacks to eat. Yes, there will be candy, but here are some alternatives that may be just a bit healthier. Try some of these sweet and salty Halloween snacks which include cheese eyeballs, scream cheese sandwiches and yummy mummy empanadas. The grandkids will love spaghetti and eyeballs and then enjoy creepy cupcakes such as the jack o lantern cupcake and slimy monster cupcakes.

Printables and Projects

Use these printables to create banners, pumpkin art, a Halloween matching game or a lifesized monster for the front window. Or go green and make some cute decorations from recycled items. For some spooktacular fun try these Halloween crafts—a paper plate witch, some Halloween treat eyeballs and a really cute leafy hedgehog. You’ll find some unique decorations to make at Fun Kids. How about bats on a trellis or scary hands? The girls will shriek when they see the Styrofoam spiders.

Poems, Songs and Skits for Halloween

The grandkids love it when grandparents ham it up with poems, songs or ideas for skits. Even if you live far away from your grandchildren you can read them a poem or sing them a song over the phone. Here are some finger plays and rhymes for your younger grandchildren. And here are more poems to share with your primary aged grandchildren. Enjoy Halloween skits and jokes too.