1. Dress up, have fun, collect candy to your heart's content.
2. Let each of your kids choose 6 pieces of their favorite candy from their stash that they can gobble up right then or save for later...which they never do. (You can set that number at whatever you want, of course, but I found that 6 is enough to give my kids enough sugar that they are excited, but not so much that Child Protective Services comes to lock me up, you know?)
3. After they have taken out the candy they like most, put the rest in The Pumpkin Pot. We use a picnic basket that I spray-painted orange and tied cute ribbons on, but you can use whatever you want!
4. Get in a line and march around the house, costumes still on, making an ungodly amount of noise to let The Great Pumpkin know what you're up to. End your pumpkin parade just outside your front door where you will place your The Pumpkin Pot and (dramatically) kiss that candy good-bye!
5. Send your little ones to bed giddy as can be because they know that while they are asleep, dreaming of hayrides and heaps of leaves, The Great Pumpkin is coming to your house!!! He comes after midnight and takes their sugary heap of candy so he can then give it to the fire department or the police department or the armed forces. One year he even gave my kids' candy to a local food bank.
*Now, parents, I cannot stress that last part enough. TAKE THE CANDY FAAAAAR AWAY. One year I procrastinated the giving it away part and ate so much candy that I looked nine months pregnant...with triplets. Get it OUT! The only exception is saving a few of your children's favorite candies for Christmas time- but that is only if you can be trusted in the meantime...which I certainly cannot be.
My kids love seeing what the GP brings them each year. At our house, it is usually a family present. It may be a game we can all play together or everything we need to do a fun craft or activity together. It seems like there is almost always a big Disney/family movie that comes out around Halloween so he often brings them that along with some other little fun things I'm pretty sure he gets from the dollar section at Target. :) One year he brought us all Nerf guns which turned our entire house into a war zone. That Great Pumpkin. He's a fun one!
If you're interested in giving this tradition a try, here's a free printable I made to help you kick things off. Just print it out and leave it at your house where your kids will find it when they get home with all that candy. I think it would be really cute to roll it up and tie it to a pumpkin or even sitting on the seat of your car with a few pumpkin seeds so that you find it when you leave to go home. Whatever you do, I hope you have as much fun as we have had and that you are able to create some truly (pumpk)incredible memories!
Click image below to
download full-sized printable: