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Halloween brings my whole family together—and I love every second of it

The entire family gets to be “kids” for the night.

Halloween brings my whole family together—and I love every second of it

My memories of celebrating Halloween with my family are wonderful.


We never got into the scary stuff, nor did we spend much money on costumes. Instead, we made Halloween a time where we did everything together.

About a week before the big day, we’d carve pumpkins together, then season and roast the seeds to eat. My mom would help us figure out a simple costume, generally using borrowed or recycled fabrics.

On Halloween day, my sister and I would put on our costumes, makeup, light our hand-carved jack-o-lanterns and wait for the rush of the darkness outside to seep in, signaling it was time to fill up our plastic pumpkins with goodies.

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We’d go visit my grandparents and great-grandparents first, then meet up with our closest family friends to collect our candy in the neighborhood, alongside scores of other children in the darkness.

Now that I have my own family, it’s my goal to recreate that joy, anticipation and fun with my daughter and my husband It’s become such a fun tradition for us!

I love the way Halloween brings families together—

The entire family gets to be “kids” for the night.

Halloween gives you permission to be silly with your children and to let out the “kid” still inside of us.

In my family, this means themed family costumes. When my daughter was six months old, we dressed her like a lobster, and my husband and I were chefs. The following year, we were a family of Totoros (Japanese Anime). This year, in honor of our love for Mario Kart, I’m going to be Luigi, my husband will be Mario and my little one will be Raccoon Mario. I can’t wait to put on a goofy hat and fake mustache and take on the neighborhood.

Your family gets to meet the neighbors.

Where I live, everyone leaves for work in the morning, comes home, hits the garage door button and disappears straight into their garages. Because of this, I’ve found it very hard to even meet the people who live in our neighborhood, much less talk to them.

However, on Halloween all the walls come tumbling down, as families emerge from their front doors, ring our doorbell and say hello.

You can all stay up late together.

Because trick-or-treating starts when it gets dark, bedtime always gets pushed back on Halloween. Honestly, this is part of the fun! It’s a great chance to break from norms and spend time together—just for one night.

You all have a valid excuse to eat candy together.

Don’t you remember eating candy until your stomach hurt as a kid? It was glorious!

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like sugar, but as adults we spend more time talking about avoiding sugar than actually enjoying it. Halloween provides an awesome excuse to eat candy and let our kids enjoy it too.

You have a good reason to see or connect with your extended family.

If you live close to family, it’s pretty much impossible to not drop by and show off your adorable kids on Halloween. Even if you are far away from family, Halloween is the perfect time to video chat with a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Even if your children are too young to remember their first years of trick-or-treating, it can still be meaningful. While the exact memory may fade, the family connections you make on Halloween will not.

Even if you decide to stay in for the night this year, I encourage you to thoroughly enjoy the frequently ringing doorbells, let your kid or kids hand out the candy and stock up on more goodies than you think you need. (I always seem to run out!)

Don’t forget to enjoy every minute of the holiday—together.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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