Halloween: the lazy parent's guide to the best trick and treating


When it comes to Halloween you're in either of two camps. You boycott it, refusing to sell out to the crass American-ness of it all. Or you embrace it, seeing it as a way to promote a sense of community and neighbourly love.

I'm firmly in the latter camp. I've already got a bucket-full of treats, even a costume sorted out, while I haven't gone quite as far ever as hollowing out a pumpkin and sitting it on the porch (do Australians even have porches?) it's something I get closer to every year.

Trick or treaters in my neighbourhood also fall into two camps. There's the cute little tackers, walking the streets with parents in tow, dressed as cowboys and ghosts and zombies. I love being able to scare them. Fill their bellies with sugar and send them on their way home with someone else.

Then there's the other group. Too cool for school teenagers who wander off on their own … not too cool to take candy from a stranger, and not too cool to come back several times in one night, but way too cool to admit they're actually enjoying themselves.

I'm prepared for Halloween, but if you aren't here's a Lazy Parent's Guide to Halloween.

Who gives a sheet?

Sheets are great. And not just for your bed. Don't even bother cutting holes for eyes. Just plonk it over your kids head. If you have a black sheet, you sexy minx, you can be one of those scary things in Ghost that came and took the bad guy away. Use a sheet as a cape. Or a flying carpet. Or a big hanky with a splodge of green slime in it for the biggest booger ever.

Go with a theme

Dress the whole family in theme. The Addams family. The Trumps. So many options this year. How about the Ninja Turtles with shells made out of old ice cream buckets. We quite like the idea of going as milk and cookies, where someone's in a painted box and the others are adorned with circles of brown cardboard. Or S'mores. Remember half the point is making it a family occasion.


Aussie, Aussie, Aussie

S'mores? Cookies? How about we try and Australian-ise the whole night. A jar of Vegemite with a couple of pieces of painted cardboard? The Irwins wearing all the khaki in your wardrobe. Ned Kelly with a bucket on your head? Dame Edna with the help of nan's clothes? Surely you've got a Wiggly skivvy floating around somewhere?

A simple skivvy gives you a very Australian Halloween option.

A simple skivvy gives you a very Australian Halloween option.


Recycle, recycle, recycle. Remember Book Week? You weren't prepared for that either were you? Check out some of our ideas here and spook them up a bit. How about some cobwebs on a black t-shirt … find that corner of the garden shed you haven't been into for a while and roll around for a realistic touch. Swamp monster? Grab some greenery from the garden and twist it around your limbs.

Trick or treat

Always the eternal question. Kids don't like coming to your door for a trick. Although I have mastered the turning a handkerchief into a bird trick for those pesky teenagers this year. It's rude. So don't watch it. Doesn't take much effort to get to Costco for the biggest bag of sugar you can find. Think of all the joy you'll bring those children. Or bake brownies made with sweet potato and see how you go. (Disclaimer: these ones are actually quite delicious. Don't waste them on the kids.) Some more recipes here. And it always helps to have a cold six pack of beer in the fridge and a bottle of bubbly for the parents to sip on while their kids run around your street. Did someone say Hallowine?