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Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

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Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Old 09-10-13, 02:53 PM
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Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

After only having about 10 kids come by the house for our first Halloween, I decided on a three year plan to begin making our house the go-to Halloween house in the neighborhood. The plan is to slowly elevate my game so that I'm getting more kids each year, but to do so without going overboard early on when we're still not getting tons of action.

Last year was simple: I used tarps to cover our front porch, added strobe lights, freaky sounds, and fog. Then I placed the free candy at the far end of the porch. I sat just inside my doorway with a gas mask and holding a shovel. It was just enough to scare some kids, have a few parents say, "Thank you," and hopefully enough to bring them back again.

This year, I'm moving everything into the garage. The idea is to again have the candy on the far side, and the kids have to navigate through the scene to get the goods. I'll have scary sounds, some fog, etc. However, what I don't know is what age group to shoot for. Seems like everything you see at Halloween stores are severed body parts, blood, and gore, which seems better for older kids. Are things like witches simply not scary anymore to kids?

Example: I go with the evil witch theme. I have a boiling cauldron in the center, and maybe to the edge of my garage is a rat on a spit, and in the far corner is the witch in a rocking chair with the candy. That's one age group. Or I ramp it up, and make the boiling cauldron have body parts and eyeballs in it, and have a dead body hanging from chains on the wall, and a burned body on that spit instead of the rat. So instead of a witch, it's some sort of cannibal/killer/butcher of some sort.

That's where I'm torn. Do I tone it down for the little kids (who would, I think, be scared by a witch) or do I turn it up and try to make it more bloody for the older kids?

We have kids of all ages in our neighborhood, so anywhere from 4 years old to 15, with the bulk of them who came last year being about 8-10.
Old 09-10-13, 02:55 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

I think the creepy guy standing outside saying "Go into my garage kids!" is scary enough for any age.
Old 09-10-13, 03:07 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

I'll be wearing my boxer shorts and slippers for added effect. Well, okay, for comfort, really, but yeah.
Old 09-10-13, 03:09 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Have scary/less scary options.
Old 09-10-13, 03:32 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Since I think you should be wrapping up trick-or-treating around 12 years old, I'd shoot for that or lower.
Old 09-10-13, 03:36 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Sexy Nurse... Sexy Cop... Sexy Indian... Trayvon Martin... Sexy Pirate...

And these are just off the top of my head.
Old 09-10-13, 03:50 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Do whatever you feel like doing. If kids get scared by things that couldn't possibly happen in real life, they have a big problem.
Old 09-10-13, 04:10 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

This sounds like a lot of work just to be seen as cool. Smoking would be easier.
Old 09-10-13, 04:53 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

A guy near us does a haunted house every year. I took my daughter through when she was 3, 4, and 5 and while she found it scary she liked it. And it has strobe lights, skeletons, evil clowns, and some gore.
Old 09-10-13, 04:54 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

For younger trick or treaters I'd probably tone down the dead body stuff, or at least make it more cartoonish versus realistic. The eyeballs are probably okay since I see gummy eyeballs and things like that around Halloween. You could use grimy bones and skeletons in place of realistic-looking body parts or cadavers... it sells the same idea without being too graphic.
Old 09-10-13, 05:03 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

I'm actually slowly starting to think about just having a garage full of spiders, spiderwebs, and some skeletons covered in webs.

So many options. But the more I think about it, the less I like any gore.
Old 09-10-13, 05:30 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Do you have kids of your own? Do you want to be the Halloween version of Bill from King of the Hill?
Old 09-10-13, 05:32 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Here's all you need to scare the parents

Old 09-10-13, 08:19 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Okay, 10 kids your first Halloween. How many showed up last year when you did the display? Just curious if the effort is worth it for the number of kids that will enjoy it. Sounds like a fun thing to do, though.
Old 09-10-13, 09:53 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Originally Posted by TomOpus View Post
Okay, 10 kids your first Halloween. How many showed up last year when you did the display? Just curious if the effort is worth it for the number of kids that will enjoy it. Sounds like a fun thing to do, though.
Last year I had about 50.

This year I plan to send out a note via the neighborhood email list to let parents know that I've got something cool set up. I'd imagine that would get me closer to 100 kids.
Old 09-10-13, 11:37 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

I guess if you build it, they will come.
Old 09-10-13, 11:56 PM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Show kids the Congressional Budget Office's future debt projections for the United States. Truly scary for both kids and adults. Tell the children they better start learning Mandarin for their future bosses.
Old 09-11-13, 12:50 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Originally Posted by bishop2knight View Post
Last year was simple: I used tarps to cover our front porch, added strobe lights, freaky sounds, and fog. Then I placed the free candy at the far end of the porch. I sat just inside my doorway with a gas mask and holding a shovel.
You're lucky you didn't get arrested or tasered.
Old 09-11-13, 01:18 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Wear an Obama mask with a sign saying this way for Obamacare
Old 09-11-13, 01:18 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

A couple years ago my friend thought it would be cool to sit outside on Halloween giving out candy with a TV playing The Star Wars Holiday Special. We did it, but nobody was impressed.
Old 09-11-13, 04:54 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

You know what will bring kids in?

Full-size candy bars.
Old 09-11-13, 06:50 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Kids have expensive tastes these days. Make sure you hand out gourmet chocolate.
Old 09-11-13, 09:37 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
You know what will bring kids and their hot moms in?

Full-size candy bars.
fixed
Old 09-11-13, 09:44 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Old 09-11-13, 10:25 AM
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Re: Help Requested: Age-Appropriate Halloween

Make it as scary as possible. Most kids can handle it. You're only going to keep a handful away. Most parents will have fun with their kids.

The scary also helps wake up kids' brains. For better or worse.

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