People have been celebrating Halloween in some form or another for over 2,000 years. The Celtics celebrated the harvest on November 1 on a holiday they called Samhain. They also believed that the night before, the dead were free to walk the earth. To keep those spirits in good spirits, people left wine and snacks on their doorsteps. The Christians turned this ancient holiday into All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day as it was named in the 8th century. All Hallows’ Eve was eventually shortened to Halloween and in the 19th century, immigrants from Ireland and Scotland brought the tradition to American shores. The rest, as they say, is history.

Tricks vs. Treats: Fun Facts

Before Halloween became an annual tradition in the states, back in its native U.K., it was customary for poor children to wear masks and receive treats in exchange for singing, performing and telling jokes. Immigrants initially only recognized the “trick” part of the equation in the early 20th century, making friendly pranks on family members and neighbors. It wasn’t until the 1950s that “trick or treat” became a thing. Today, we spend about $6 billion annually on costumes and candy, and dressing up is a beloved ritual for children and those who are very young at heart from coast to coast.

DIY Costumes 

There’s nothing quite like helping the kids make their costumes every year. Sure, you could easily do some shopping for some awesome Star Wars or princess gear, but helping your child explore his or her imagination teaches them how to express themselves. You can find plenty of easy DIY costume ideas online so the whole family can get in on the act. Face painting and a pair of fake cat ears can go a long way, so get creative and help your kids learn the true joy of dressing up.

Clever Costume Ideas

Planning how you’ll dress up is half the excitement, especially if a group of you all share the same theme. Pick your favorite video game, musical group or film and have everyone dress as a character. Two-person costumes are also a blast, so find a theme from a movie or a current event (here’s a hint: it’s election season) and walk the streets as a costumed duo. If you’re in a pinch and not sure what to do, spend a few minutes browsing the aisles of local thrift stores and wig shops. Get inspired by what you find and let your discoveries drive your creativity.

Plan Your Own Party

Looking for something fabulous and maybe a bit more grown up to do? Throw a big Halloween bash and reintroduce your humbug friends to the joy of make believe. Keep things festive and interesting and charge guests a fine if they show up in street clothes. (If you donate the funds to charity, no one can really get mad at you, can they?) Enlist a group of your closest besties to make a few dishes so you’re not stuck doing all the cooking. You’ll be amazed at how much fun grown ups can have carving pumpkins, bobbing for apples and judging costume contests when you give them the opportunity, especially if that hot spiced cider has a little something extra in it for the 21 and over crowd.

Pumpkins, Lights, Candles and Scarecrows

If you’re content to sit at home and pass out candy to intrepid little ghosts and goblins who show up on your doorstep, turn up the festivities with seasonal decorations. Pumpkin carving is simply a must. If you want to get fancy, pick up a carving kit online or at a local craft store and show off your artsy side. Battery-operated flickering candles are also easy, inexpensive and set a mood. Halloween-themed string lights are reusable and super colorful. To keep things interesting, and just a little spooky, handing out mini chocolate bars while you’re dressed like a zombie or a werewolf makes everyone’s night even more hilarious.

However you choose to celebrate Halloween this year, there are many ways for adults and kids alike to participate in this fun holiday. The key is not take it all too seriously; just add a touch of silliness, lots of creativity and enjoy!