When we first moved into our suburb of St. Louis several years back we had no way of knowing that the people next door would soon become far more like family than just neighbors. We are fortunate and grateful to have such close friends a mere fifteen feet outside our front door. In an effort to get to know more of our neighbors we decided to do something fun for Halloween. The best way to have as many visitors stop by as possible was to hold the gathering in our front yard and driveway. Thus, our annual trick-or-treat pit stop party was born.
If you like the idea of a Halloween pit stop party here are some tips to make your evening a success.
Spreading The Word
Word of mouth is handy for neighborhood functions, especially if you have a couple super chatty neighbors who can spread the news! But if you want to make sure people know the details you can print off a quick and easy flier. You can even use some festive Halloween clip art for free at sites like HalloweenClipArt.com.
The first year we took a walk through the neighborhood and dropped off fliers on doorsteps. Though, every year since then no advertising has been necessary. Beyond giving a heads up to any new residents, everyone else in the subdivision knows exactly where to stop by on October 31st.
Food & Beverage
For us the biggest hit of the night by far is always the hot apple cider. Especially in colder temperatures, a hot autumn beverage can help warm up visitors and encourage passersby to hang around for a while. For a simple hot cider method just purchase the gallon jugs of apple cider at the grocery store, heat it up in pots on the stove and fill a large drink dispenser (easy to borrow if you don’t own one). Set the cider out on a table with Styrofoam or other hot beverage cups. To make things even more festive you can also purchase a bag of cinnamon sticks to go with the cups of cider.
You’ll probably want candy on hand to give out to trick-or-treaters. But for food you can make your own snacks or buy appetizers and other goodies already made at a store like Sam’s Club or Costco. At our party we have more hearty food on hand for the friends and neighbors that stick around for the evening and quick snacks available for trick-or-treating families who stop by.
Food: Keeping Safety in Mind
Something important to consider when choosing food options is who will be attending your party. In our case there were a lot of families that first year we didn’t know and who didn’t know us. Parents, as they should be these days, are often very careful about any food or candy that their children receive from strangers. So to put parents more at ease about their children’s safety we specifically purchased some things in sealed, individual snack size bags (much like the sealed candy most people hand out on Halloween) and laid them out on the food table. That way, families had options regarding what they ate. Bulk stores like Sam’s and Costco have many options available on pre-sealed snacks.
One great thing about a trick-or-treat pit stop party is that pretty much any decorations you use for Halloween in general can be put to good use to decorate for the event. You can use pumpkins, luminaries, Halloween string lights and all sorts of other items to turn your front yard into a festive autumn gathering spot.
Neighborhood Halloween parties offer kids a chance to stop and have fun during their trick-or-treating route. If you decide you want to have a game or two at your party you can try a ball toss, pin the nose on the scarecrow or one of the games at kaboose.com.
Prizes and Giveaways
Besides candy there is a mountain of inexpensive party favors available at your local dollar store. These little toys can be used as prizes, party favors or even in place of or to go alongside candy. A big hit at our Halloween party every year is glow necklaces and bracelets, which can be ordered online in bulk at cheap rates or purchased at your local dollar store in packs of ten. Not only do kids (and adults!) love them, they also make trick-or-treating children more visible at night time to cars and other people, something that keeps them safer.
Stay Safe & Have a Great Time!
Whichever route you take for your Halloween pit stop party, whether a simple time to chat with neighbors or an all out autumn event, be sure to keep the safety of children in mind throughout the evening, stay warm and have a blast!