- Prolong a carved pumpkin’s life by lathering the inside of the shell and cut areas with petroleum jelly.
- For easy cleanup, set the pumpkin on several layers of newspaper before carving.
- Avoid cutting mouths that are large open spaces or very long horizontally. They weaken the pumpkin at the bottom and can make it collapse.
- To prevent a fire hazard, use battery-operated candles to light the pumpkin.
- Small children can make jack-o’-lantern faces by attaching vegetables, fruit or candy with toothpicks instead of cutting. Try cucumber or squash slices for eyes, a green bean for the nose and candy corn for teeth.
- Make streamers by cutting a plastic garbage bag into stirps (cut just a few inches above the bottom of the bag so streamers stay together). Hang them from the porch.
- Stuff an old shirt and pants to make a scarecrow body. Set on a chair and top with a plastic pumpkin for a head.
- Fill a large jar with vampire fans and red water (use food coloring). Put it on the porch with fake spiders and bats.
- Tie cornstalks from a garden center or farm stand to porch columns or the door frame. Put pumpkins and large gourds around the edges of the porch.
- Put green or red bulbs in your porch lights to create an eerie glow.
- Give each child a flashlight.
- Make sure treat bags are sturdy and easy to carry. Take along some extra bags in case one breaks.
- Keep kids on sidewalks and walkways. Don’t cut across yards: Lawn ornaments and hidden sprinklers can cause injuries.
- Make it a rule that treats are not to be eaten until after trick-or-treating. This gives you a chance to inspect everything and discard anything that looks suspicious.
- Alternatives to candy: Give small treats, such as stickers, plastic figures, books, cards and bookmarks. Put the items in a bag, shallow bowl and let each child pick one or two.
If you have some pointers you’d like added to this list, please email them to me firstname.lastname@example.org and thanks in advance!