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Good Ghoul Gone Bad
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Okay, after a long abscence, I'm back to being able to have ToTs (I HOPE=new place, new state, etc.).

1. Do you guys have all your stuff (candy and trinkets, toys, etc.) in 1 bowl and just dish it out, or do you keep it separate and take from each one? Do you keep a separate stash for the really good costumes or effort? How many of you put it together in a goodie bag (which I hear doesn't make the impression worth the effort) and

2. Right now, the Tot's would have to climb about 5 kind of rickety but not too bad wooden steps to get to the front door. If I don't have new steps by 10/31 should I rope it off and do a pathway on the ground level? Either one would be lit up/marked of course.

I want the goodies to be memorable so they'll come back next year (of course I want the decor on par but I'm starting from scratch.) Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance!
 

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In 2006, we had candy and trinkets separate. Kids took forever to decide what they wanted. We did goodie bags in 2007. Definitely made it easy since it took away the decision-making from the little darlings. But it was an effort to load up the bags. Last year I planned to only hand out full-size Hershey bars with almonds because they're my favorite, but at the last minute decided to offer a non-chocolate choice since some parents don't let their kids eat chocolate (although why they then let them go out on Halloween, I really can't fathom.) Slowed down the line considerably because the younger children just froze when given a choice. I'm thinking goodie bags again this year.
Our front steps are solid. However, we had over 200 kids in 2007 - the line backed up because we had some fun props on the porch and the only way back down was via the same steps. Last year we moved the candy station to the bottom of the steps and had a path lit with rope lights up the driveway and down the front walk. Line moved much better with over 300 kids. Parents were the ones slowing things down because they wanted to talk with me about the display. So this year, definitely bottom of the steps for the candy and I plan to stay away from the candy dispensing and talk to adults in another part of the yard.
 

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I still dress up every Halloween and "hand" the candy out. I usually give 3 candy bars to each child, no trinkets or toys. Towards the end of the evening when it is slowing down, I give more (so I won't eat the leftovers!). And yes, I give to everyone....even the teenagers who show up past 9pm!

As far as your steps....yikes, that is a hard call. You never know who will try and sue you these days, lol. But then again, even if your steps were in perfect condition....someone could still trip on them. Sorry, don't really have a definite answer.

Hope this helps!
 

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The Big Kahuna of Fright
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We separate the "prizes" for our raffle into two bowls, one for Chips, one for Candy Bars, but the DVD's are taped to a wall behind the witches who operate the raffle. And, I hear ya, the kids who draw a DVD take FOREVER to pick a movie. I don't know what to do about that.

Rickety Stairs? Yikes. We use our steps as a Display Area for Jack O' Lanterns. Lotsa people take photos there.
 

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Mill Creek Haunted Hollow
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We just have a giant bowl of candy. I usually give out one to three pieces of candy depending on the costume and age of the kid. I will also give out a bit more later in the evening so avoid too many leftovers. We also offer free cider at our cider hut at the end of the driveway. It can get cold on Halloween night, so we offer something warm for ToTs and parents.

My advice, seeing as how you still have 100+ days until Halloween, is to get the steps fixed! I don't know the exact condition of your steps, or where you are in "Big Sky" country, but it really shouldn't be more than an afternoon project to cut and replace some front steps. I know there are Lowes in Missoula, Kalispell, Helena, Bozeman, and Billings.

When we bought our first house, the entry was just a concrete path that went to a small 3x3 concrete stoop. I told my wife as soon as we bought the house the first thing I needed to do was build a front porch in time for Halloween. And I did!!





 

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Ghouls Rule
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We separate the "prizes" for our raffle into two bowls, one for Chips, one for Candy Bars, but the DVD's are taped to a wall behind the witches who operate the raffle. And, I hear ya, the kids who draw a DVD take FOREVER to pick a movie. I don't know what to do about that.

Rickety Stairs? Yikes. We use our steps as a Display Area for Jack O' Lanterns. Lotsa people take photos there.
The raffle sounds like a fun thing :3 To mitigate the winners choices, why dont you cover the DVD's in brown paper (from grocery stores) and tape them up to the wall with a number on them. Have a list handy if anyone inquires about what movies are being raffled. If theres, lets say 5 movies, pull numbers and have the winners stand off to the side once all the numbers are picked. This can be done quickly. Then you will have made this in advance of course, have a spooky item to hold card stock, a marble andthing you can write a number upon and have the people reach in and grab each one randomly, with the number they pick being the number on the boxes in the booth. (written on the paper covering the DVD's.)

OR after the winners are picked, you could have them roll some dice until each person gets a different number, this would take longer than picking from spooky item (like picking from hat), but might be a little more fun.
 

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Typical Ghoul Next Door
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Large galvanized silver tub holding the candy.
It is a mix of mini chocolates (milky way/butterfingers/snickers types), Wonka mix (bottlecaps/nerds/runts/laffytaffy), and assorted tootsie roll pops, smarties, sunburst, etc... EVERYONE gets candy, regardless of whether they are in costume or not, teens, adults, whatever. We give a LARGE handful of candy for really great effort, but everyone gets at least 3 pieces of candy.

We also give out special stuff like glow bracelets, spider or bat rings, whistles, basically little cool Halloween-y toys. Everyone that wants one gets one, until we run out. We keep these in a smaller plastic cauldron. We ask if the crowds allow us to what color they want, but if it gets busy, we just hand out what we grab.

NEVER let a kid reach into get their own stuff... you'll either have them grab way too much, or they'll take too long deciding.

Goody bags are a nice idea, but I don't have the time to stuff the 150+ that I'd need. (we get anywhere from 70-200 + kids depending on weather, day of the week...)

And I agree... fix the steps before Halloween. You're just asking to get sued if someone falls or trips due to something on your property. Heck, just a saleperson coming up to the door could sue the pants off you if they hurt themselves on your property... :eek: You'd be more likely to get sued if your property was in obvious disrepair (you'd be legally negligent) than if someone just tripped over their own feet.
 

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We do not hand out candy anylonger.. the last few years we have went to (shush) you did not hear this from me... but Michaels and bought glow bracelets- 50 of em for 99 cents.. we crack them and hand them out.. kids love it.. it also does one more thing.....

in the past we gave out candy but had the same kids come back and back.. this allows us to see a kid coming with a bracelet and we dont give them another one- they can still go thru the haunt again- just not get a bracelet..
 

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Hey BooBerrie
great questions, we live in a cabin and we have thought along the same lines.

(1.) Do you guys have all your stuff (candy and trinkets, toys, etc.) in 1 bowl...

Last year I let Skinny hold the candy

he had a walkway solar light in his chest to light the candy; but, the TOTs wouldn't take their eyes off him. LOL they must have been thinking he was going to move or something LOL.
I don't think he ate much or the candy LOL.

(2.) the Tot's would have to climb about 5 rickety bad wooden steps to get to the front door....

We had the same thought about the steps so I blocked them off

Next year I have a lot more Giant bats to add to the roof line. Here, there are only 2 (you almost see them in the upper left).
 

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Good Ghoul Gone Bad
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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the tips everybody. Yeah, my hubby is supposed to build a new deck and steps pretty soon. If that doesn't happen by 10/31 I'll just rope them off.

TK - yeah, I'm closest to Missoula so anytime you're free for a prop build, let me know and I'll meet ya there :) Been at the HD/Lowes stores way too much lately, unfortunately nothing Halloween related:(

I think I'm definitely going to get some of the bracelets this year to hand out.
 

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We'd been doing the glow bracelets and candy for years. At first it got a great response, kids and parents loved it. Now however, other houses in the neighborhood have started handing them out so by the time they get to us they had 4 or 5 already. Our solution was to up the ante, and hand out cool little Halloween Rubber Duckeys from Oriental Trading Co. We waited until they had a big sale (got them very early), and loaded up on them. they got a GREAT response. More expensive, but, aw, what the heck...
So to answer the question, we control the handing out of goodies.
As far as the steps go, yea, I wouldn't risk and injury on rickety steps...
 
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