The ultimate "last minute mums" guide to pulling off Halloween.

Philips Sonicare
Thanks to our brand partner, Philips Sonicare

The festival of ghosts and ghouls has slowly crept up again. I can’t quite work out how it happened.

Last time I blinked I swear it was Easter so just how time has fast forwarded right through to Halloween must be the work of the supernatural.

While every year I vow to be one of those Pinterest mums with the hand crafted Jack-o-Lantern, the Halloween mason jars filled with organic cobwebs and wheatgrass witches and the handmade, slightly ironic costume, the fact is I am hopelessly unorganized.

Each year it’s a last minute rush to the $2 store to try to buy some fake teeth and a sawn off hand or two and each year I am hopelessly late and they are sold out.

As I’ve stumbled along each year doing the best with what I have along the way I’ve learnt some valuable tips:

1. Create your own Jack-o-Lantern balloons.

You are going to rush out to the local store anyway so while you are there grab some purple and orange balloons. Draw some ghoulish faces onto the inflated balloons with permanent marker and you have a Jack-o-Lantern without the skills required to carve a real one.

"Draw some ghoulish faces onto the inflated balloons with permanent marker." Image: iStock.


2. Milk bottle ghosts.

If the recycling bin hasn’t been out in the past few days you should be in luck, grab a few old plastic milk containers, draw some faces on them in permanent marker and then drop a glow stick inside to add that ghostly glow.

3. Don’t forget about the toilet paper.

Your loo paper is the perfect last minute Halloween accessory. Try wrapping it around doors and trees to make “mummies” or shredding it and winding it through a tree as some spooky cobwebs.

You can even use the inside cardboard carton to turn into bats, or monsters or scary candle holders.

Who knew what you could achieve with a bog roll?

4. Sheets.

Those old sheets with the weird stains stashed at the back of the linen closet – it’s time to make their re-entry to society.

A traditional ghost costume! (Make sure you cut off the icky bits.) Everyone will congratulate you for your “vintage” style. Little do they know you are saving yourself humiliation.

Cut out the eye holes and throw it across your little one à la Drew Barrymore in ET style.

5. Turn your fruit into Halloween treats.

Got some mandarins or oranges lying around – just draw some scary faces on them and you have an instant mini jack-o-lantern.

If you have any red apples you can turn them into scary teeth by slicing the apples into wedges and spreading some kind of sticky spread like peanut butter across them. Then, just stick about six mini marshmallows on one wedge and stick both wedges together, using the peanut butter as an adhesive.


You can turn your bananas into scary ghosts for a healthy Halloween treat. Image: Philips Sonicare/

Now they probably look like the most hideous teeth you’ve ever seen, but you can be sure they’ll keep your kids’ teeth safer from the sugar monster than most treats.

Whether you use spooky fruit to demonstrate the dangers of not brushing and flossing daily or not, Halloween’s a great time to reinforce those good dental hygiene habits. While we unorganized Halloween mums might forget to buy a decoration or two we always make sure we have Philips Sonicare toothbrushes in the bathroom for our kids ready to scrub away the remnants of that Halloween stash.

6. Create a costume from the crap craft materials you have in your home.

An instant bag of jelly beans can be made by an old clear plastic bag filled with blown up balloons.

A simple pink V-neck T can turn you into an Emoji girl. A cardboard box painted green and tied around your child’s waist can turn them into Minecraft Slime.

Still stuck for ideas? Add our spooky printable mask to just about any plain old costume and you’ve got yourself a low-effort winner.

Its super easy. Just print them out, grab some textas and glitter – or whatever you have around the house to decorate them with – and while you are busy raiding the cupboard for lollies set the kids to work at making them scary.

These masks are a great alternative to a full blown costume and what kid doesn’t like a craft project to kick off proceedings?

Here are two more, a creature set and vampire girl.

7. Recycle your kids’ lollies.

Yes, you are going to run out of lollies, not just because you forgot to buy any but because that last minute dash to the servo for a few bags of Caramello Koalas is never enough. The answer is right before you in a sticky, melty goopy mess.

Recycle your kids’ stash.


Putting the lollies into a bowl or bucket makes it easiest for when your trick or treaters arrive. Image: iStock.

It’s best not to forewarn them that you are going to do this. Otherwise you will see your clever little ghosts cram as many sweets as they can into their greedy little mouths and before you can say “sugar-induced-tantrum” it’s all gone. Nobody wants to deal with the cavity-filled aftermath of an incident like that.

If you are really desperate raid the back of the pantry – sugary cereal you have hidden from your own kids often works, as do whistles, removable tattoos and bubbles you’ve removed from your children’s party bags over the years (and they’re always going to be better for your little ones’ teeth).

Halloween is a time of fun. It’s a great community event to get the whole family out to meet the neighbours and if you are anything like me the whole day can be just as fun with a tiny bit of last minute preparation.

If you're after a handy way to keep the kids calm and quiet while you're putting up some last minute decorations, we have you covered. These colouring-in sheets (of Vicky and Bjorn) will turn your ghoulish little ones into ghostly-quiet scribblers in no time.

Have fun!

What are your tips for last minute Halloween preparation?