While Halloween might not be the prime-time for gift giving, it is nonetheless still an event that warrants some attention. Did you know that the holiday’s origins date back to the times of the Celts in Ireland, nearly 2000 years ago? Back then, observers burned bonfires, dressed in costumes, and sacrificed animals to the Celtic deities on the eve of November 1, the date in which the fall harvest officially ended and the winter began. Due to harsh conditions to come, this date often represented death and travesty. If that wasn’t enough to spook the Celts, they also believed that All Hallows, as the holiday was later called, was the time when the boundaries between life and death were not so clearly defined. Hence nowadays you see the streets filled with kids dressed as mummies,ghosts, and ghouls on October 31st. What about the angels,devils, and witches? That tradition stems from the Roman Catholic influence over the holiday after they captured Celtic lands in A.D. 43. They believed that the eve of All Saint’s Day (November 1) was a time when the devil and his cohorts would attempt to disrupt the day of pious commemoration of the Catholic saints. Thus, today, you see such costumes representing this ancient assumption.
Now whether you have haunted houses to visit, a scary costume to wear, or trick or treating to attend to, you have to kit yourself (or your host) out for the occasion. Below you’ll find some of the spine-tingling gifts to make your Halloween a bit more ghoulish.
It’s no lie that kids love Halloween! From the costumes to the candy, Halloween is a culminating point in the school year–one last bit of fun before summer vacation is far behind. It goes without saying that costumes are a must-have for this holiday, and while they can be a great gift idea, chances are that unless you’re the parent, the kid has already got one planned. Here are some other ideas that can suit most kids no matter what they are dressing up as this season.
Sugar might rot away your teeth, but these bags will last for several seasons. They’re cute and perfectly sized for tots.
Nightmare Before Christmas
This and other scary movies are perfect for Halloween parties and scary slumber parties. Don’t forget the popcorn balls!
These come in big packs so you kids don’t have to fight over who gets one. Safe and fun for trick or treating.
There are a variety of cuddly stuffed animals to be found this time of year. Even Webkinz are getting into the spirit!
“It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” Figures
Kids will love recreating “the most sincere pumpkin patch” in their very own home.
If you are a teacher and are looking for gifts for your students, here are some simple ideas that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Some of the ideas below also make good gifts to give to trick or treaters if you prefer not to give candy (but be prepared for vengeful, egg-wielding, trick or treating sugar addicts).
Halloween Pencils are both fun AND practical, or for something a little different, try Halloween pencil tops.
Magic Color Scratch Halloween Shapes are perfect for a quick arts and crafts break.
Halloween Stickers are fun for decorating.
Halloween Bookmark Craft Kits contain fun activities that complement reading lessons.
Halloween Lollipops make for a sweet and festive treat!
Harry Potter Bertie Botts Beans Gift Boxes
Halloween Spot Glow Necklaces to wear while they trick or treat.
Slumber Party Must-Haves
Here are a few ideas to help you prepare: from spooky board games to chilling books and movies, and everything in between!
If you and your kids are brave enough, the Ouija board will liven up any party. After all, it’s only a game…right?
Crunchy graham crackers, milk chocolate, and gooey marshmallows might just be the perfect party treat.
Resident Evil Video Game
The classic survival horror game, Resident Evil and its repertoire of the undead is truly terrifying when played after dark.
A Book of Ghost Stories
What Halloween party is complete without ghost stories? For suggestions, check out our list of Scary Stories below.
Harry Potter DVD
These magical films can be the focus of the party, or just there for the ideal mood setter. Or how about a themed party?
If you have younger children, you should be especially sensitive to the subject matter of any books or movies you will be showing at a party. Here is some suggested reading and viewing for tots:
Berenstain Bears Trick or Treat:
Everyone’s favorite bear cubs go trick or treating for the first time. You might also want to check out The Berenstain Bears Go on a Ghost Walk.
Arthur might be scared of all things Halloween, but he soon learns that appearances can be deceiving.
Too Many Pumpkins:
All throughout her childhood, Rebecca Estelle was so poor that she only ate pumpkins and thus grew to hate them. However, decades later, a pumpkin “infestation” in her yard forces her to reconsider.
The Monster Trap:
On a visit to his grandfather, Paddy is convinced he hears monsters and so the fellows build a trap. But will the device work out as planned?
Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events:
These stories chronicle the misadventures of the three Baudelaire orphans and are macabre yet playful.
The Halloween Tree:
Ray Bradbury’s tale of the adventures of eight different boys on Halloween night. Children will enjoy this eerie tale and also learn about different ancient and contemporary cultures.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark: These tales are genuinely creepy and frighteningly illustrated. Recommended for braver souls!
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown:
A true classic: Halloween would hardly the same without the Peanuts gang (and Charlie Brown’s trick or treat bag full of rocks).
Witches, talking cats, the undead, a musical number: what more could you want from a movie?
Bedknobs and Broomsticks:
Angela Lansbury plays an apprentice witch tasked with the care of three young refugees during WWII, and together, the group set out to find the spell that will help the Allied forces.
Casper’s Spookiest Tales:
The Friendly Ghost can be found in many charming cartoons. Younger ones will especially love this collection.
For Your Host
Big kids like to have fun on Halloween too. If you have been invited to a Halloween party, don’t be a ghastly guest and not bring something. Here are some gifts to light up someones dark and devilish night.
Gourmet Caramel Apples
Chocolate, caramel, or candy covered–just make sure they’re gourmet and you have a tantalizingly tasty gift that any host with a sweet tooth can appreciate.
Not everyone loves a Jack o’ Lantern, but a harvest hued candle holder is fitting for the season. Plus your host can use it all year round.
People who enjoy lawn art and decorating outdoors may enjoy a scary statue of a gargoyle or other ghoulish creature of the night.
So your host told you to bring dessert? Make some jiggling Jello in the shape of a brain! Not exactly a class act, but perfect for someone who is a class clown.
Know a host who is a real witch? Let her know what you really feel about her with these comic mugs. Perfect for wicked witches of the east or west!
Bath and Bath Products
Look for pumpkin,cinnamon or candy-scented products that smell good enough to eat.
A pretty autumn-themed bouquet or gift basket guarantees you’ll be invited back a second time.
Get your hosts’ pooch or kitty in on the fun (but do ask permission before actually dressing up their pet).
Flavored Syrups or Coffees
The scents of cinnamon, pumpkin, and nutmeg are a perfect complement to a brisk fall evening.
If you are decorating your place for Halloween or if you want to help your host get into the spirit, here are some Halloween-inspired decorations:
Games are an excellent choice for when you want to celebrate the holiday, but you don’t necessarily want to deck your home out like a haunted house. For adults, murder mystery games are the perfect choice for an evening full of sophisticated fun and fright. Here are the most popular brands (there are several theme variations to choose), but you might also be interested in the classic game of Clue.
How to Host a Murder:
Go from Chicago to Ancient Rome with the best-selling mystery game. Also check out How to Host a Teen Mystery.
Murder Mystery Party:
The themes for this series are based on your party’s menu rather than a historical setting.
With all of these dinner party games, it is a good idea to plan well in advance, determine how many people you will need to play, and how difficult the preparation of the food will be.
Halloween is certainly a time to watch scary movies (and no, I don’t mean Scary Movie 4). Here are some great horror flicks to catch after the lights go down and the ghosts come out. While some are knock-your-socks-off scary, others are just, well, plain entertaining.
House of 1,000 Corpses
Shadow of the Vampire
The Ring 2
The Saw series
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
The Birds,Psycho, and other Hitchcock films
The Hills Have Eyes
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The Phantom of the Opera
Telling ghost stories is part of the Halloween tradition for many. Whether you are a book lover or simply enjoy a little chilling literary entertainment, here are some books to send your hair on end.
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow:
Washington Irving’s book is synonymous with Halloween.
A Halloween Reader: Poems, Stories, And Plays From Halloweens Past:
The best from Poe, Joyce, Burns, and others.
The Pit and the Pendulum and The Raven:
Two classics by Poe that cannot be forgotten.
Great Ghost Stories by John Grafton:
A compilation of several works by different authors.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Bram Stoker’s Dracula: Classics not to be missed.
The Three Impostors and Other Stories: The Best Weird Tales of Arthur Machen, Volume 1
The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
The Best Supernatural Tales of Arthur Conan Doyle:
If you loved Sherlock Holmes, you may be interested in this spooky book.
The Haunting of Hill House:
Shirley Jackson wrote some of the most chilling tales ever. You might also want to check out her short story, The Lottery.
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer:
This series (which also includes New Moon,Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) is more romantic than terrifying, but if you can’t get enough of vampires, look no further.