How to Set Up a Trick-or-Treat Station on Your Front Porch
This Halloween, costumed kids can grab candy from winged bats encircling this little haunted house.
On October 31, darkness falls and costumed children take to the streets with their families, bag in hand, and knock on your door to say, "Trick or treat!" Even though the pandemic may dampen our spirits, depending on where you live, your community may choose to go ahead with trick-or-treating this year. If your family enjoys doling out candy to trick-or-treaters and you simply can't imagine missing out on all the fun, you might want to consider a contactless idea that allows you to partake in this tradition without being in close contact with the neighborhood kids: a trick-or-treating station. Yours can be anything you can dream up: a pirate's treasure chest of gold chocolate coins, a makeshift log of creepy-crawly toy bugs, or even a single bowl of candy suspiciously placed in front of the door (where a mystery monster may or may not reach out to grab you back). For our trick-or-treat station this year, we went with something of more seasonal charm.
Decorate Your Haunted House
For our display, we built the idea around a creepy cottage: This dollhouse is brushed with dirt and Martha Stewart Crafts Vintage Décor Paint ($11.49, michaels.com) to give the effect of an old house time had forgotten. Then, we suspended some fallen branches from the yard to give the illusion of an old, dead tree hovering over the cottage; this also allowed us to hang a swarm of paper bats. We added some greenery in the form of houseplants creeping up the side of the house and coming out of its windows to complete the look of our perfectly haunted scene.
Hang Bats That Carry Treats
Kids all have different tastes, so it's a good idea to cater to many of them by offering several types of candy. (Also, consider alternatives for kids with allergies—stickers, small toys, or spider rings.) Stock up on a variety of treats and let the kids have their pick of the lot.
Craft your own winged bats using black card stock and this printable template. The smallest size template works best for small foil-wrapped chocolates ($4, target.com) that are adhered to one side; if you want to use larger pieces of candy or even a full-size candy bar, consider using a heavier paper, like poster board, and the largest size template. Hang the bats using a piece of fishing twine taped or glued to the back side, and make a loop at the other end to attach to the branch, or hang from your porch.
Light the Way
Designate a sign or stand on site (at a safe distance) to guide trick-or-treaters towards your station. To ensure that kids and parents can safely make it up to your trick-or-treat station, set up lights along your path. You could do this with jack-o'-lanterns, punched tin luminaries, or even flameless candles (starting from $15, westelm.com) and fairy lights ($14.50, potterybarn.com) left to flicker on the steps. It also helps to evoke a mysterious atmosphere that's perfect for Halloween night.