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kids saving money Nov 01, 2019


What a night! Last night was Halloween, and I decided to do something different. Unfortunately, there was a tornado watch and warning issued for our area, so we could not go out and trick-or-treat as we usually do. Not only that, but I also did not buy any costumes to save money. I had to think of a frugal and smart way to have Halloween in the house this year. What do I do?!

After I finished working for the day, and before the boys came home, I had to brainstorm ideas to accomplish my goal. At this time, it was about 1:00 PM, and the boys get off the bus around 3:00 PM, so whatever I decided to do had to be quick. I thought about just canceling Halloween altogether and blame it on the weather, but I know that wouldn't have gone over well. The only thing they look forward to on Halloween is the candy, so I knew that had to be part of the equation somehow. Then, I had an idea! Let's trick-or-treat in the house!

I left and went to Walmart to get some candy. Of course, the selection was huge, and I immediately got overwhelmed, but I was like I came all this way, I have to get something. I settled on a bag with a variety of candy that we all like. It had Starburst, Skittles, 3 Musketeers, Snickers Peanut Butter, and regular Snickers. This mix is perfect because the kids prefer candy (skittles and starburst) while I prefer chocolate (everything else). The bag costs about $15, but I figured it was a small price to pay for the happiness factor later. Back home, I go...

Once I got back home, I had an ingenious idea! I took the candy and hid it all over the house. None of it was in plain sight because that would have defeated the purpose. I hid it in bookshelves and laundry baskets, behind bean bags and under pillows. Anywhere I could fit a piece of candy, I did! The only places that were off-limits were my bedroom and office. Everywhere else was free game! Because the bag of candy was so big, I was hiding it by the handfuls. By 2:30, everything was protected from prying eyes and ready for the game!

As I was walking the boys back from the bus stop, I told them we were not going trick or treating (cue awwwws) but that we were going to trick-or-treat in the house! My oldest son was like, "What?!" with a laugh. Of course, this is unheard of in his 10 years of being on this earth. At this point, they are super excited and run to the house full speed. Now, homework and chores are always first (cue more awwwws). I told them as soon as homework is done, chores are completed, and after we eat dinner, we can play! Deal!

Fast forward to after dinner, we get the game started. I gave the kids a rundown of places that are off-limits and reminded them that this is not a competition. Everybody will have candy by the end! I handed out the pillowcases (trick or treat bags), and they were off to the races! It was pure comedy watching them running around trying to find candy. We were having a ball UNTIL the storm started.  

All of a sudden, the sky opened, and it started pouring down rain. The wind was blowing very strong, and all of the alerts started coming in about a potential tornado. The boys were scared, but I told them just to calm down, and I will keep them safe. Suddenly, I heard a loud noise from my side door. I looked out, and a huge tree branch fell on the house. Fortunately, it only damaged the outside light, and the siding is still intact. The boys started crying while I started making sure that flashlights and candles were in an easy-to-find area. They decided to go on their iPads to get their minds off the storm, which worked out well because the crying stopped. The storm went on very strong for about 30 minutes, and then it calmed down enough for them to feel comfortable continuing our game. I think that it is crucial to acknowledge their feelings and not shame them into thinking their beliefs are not valid. A lot of parents would say, "Stop crying" or "There is no reason to cry." But, when doing that, you are also telling them their feelings do not matter. It was terrifying, even for me! But, I digress. Back to the game!

We played the game for about an hour total (not accounting for the storm pause). I did sneak some additional candy around while they were in other rooms just to keep the game going. Afterward, I had them empty their pillowcases count how many pieces they had total (for a learning opportunity). My oldest had 120, and my youngest had 86. They then combined all of the candy into one bag. I did this for a few reasons. First, my youngest son was sad that he didn't get as much as his big brother. Issue solved! Second, we are a family, and everyone works together for the collective whole. I like to foster a family of sharing so that way when we are out in the real world, we will always look out for each other. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

We had a great Halloween night (minus the storm)! I only spent $15, which was well within budget, and they had an experience that they will remember for years to come. Having the candy around will be horrible for my new lifestyle (read more here), but it is all worth it! Whenever we have lousy weather for Halloween, this is the game we will play. I can see this also working well in place of an Easter egg hunt. Necessity breeds innovation!

Have you had to be creative for a holiday? I would love to hear your stories in the comments below.

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