Sunday 28 December 2014

Top tips to keep your little monsters in good spirits this Halloween week

Parents needn't get spooked by the cost of this annual thrill-fest for children

Trick or treat: James, Zara, Charlotte, and Dara at the annual Halloween festivities in Bayview, Killiney, Dublin
Trick or treat: James, Zara, Charlotte, and Dara at the annual Halloween festivities in Bayview, Killiney, Dublin

Halloween has become one of the biggest festivals of the year rivalled only by Christmas in the thrill-factor for the kids. And for supermarkets and chain stores it's become a hard sell to persuade us to purchase costumes, sweets and ever more elaborate house decorations.

There's plenty of cheap dressing-up options as supermarkets and pound shops have been selling full costumes from as little as €4.99 each.

Buying multipurpose garments like capes and black tunics – which can be got for as little as €2 in discount stores – are a good buy as your child can use them for a variety of costumes from witch to vampire or ghost. This allows you and your child to have fun designing a costume – and you can keep the garments to fashion a different outfit next year.

With the kids off school for midterm next week it can be a pricey business to keep them amused so Smart Consumer took a look at some options for a scary day out with both free and pay-in attractions celebrating the annual spookfest.

* Samhain Haunted Forest Walk

Marlay Park in Dublin's Rathfarnham hosts a haunted 1.5km walk through a forest alive with fog, spiders, creepy eyeballs and pumpkins, skeletons, witches and wizards with festoon lighting, sound effects and smoke.

The fancy-dress event takes place on Sunday between 3.30pm and 8.30pm and entrance is free – but only with a special wristband which can be collected this Saturday from 11am at the Coco market in Marlay Park.

* Host a party

Temple Street Children's Hospital is urging families, businesses and individuals to sign up to host a fundraising party for Halloween – a very important fundraising occasion for them – but get your skates on as the deadline to register is tomorrow.

Once you do, you'll be sent a toolkit for hosting a party with witch's hats, balloons, banners, posters and more – and you can ask guests or their parents to make a contribution to charity. Visit www.trickortreat. templestreet.ie for more information and to register.

* Games

Early Childhood Ireland has some tips for traditional games which kids love – and recommends getting the grandparents involved for more ideas.

– Apple bobbing, which involves floating some apples in a basin of water and children fish them out using their teeth.

– Snap apple, where you hang an apple by a string from a door frame and children are required to bite it with their hands behind their back.

www.meath.ie

* The Nightmare Realm, Cork

Described as an "asylum of the damned" featuring zombies, serial killers and ghosts, this walk-through house/show, which has been in business since 2009, is not recommended for children under 13. Runs until November 2. Price €12-€18. www.thenightmarerealm.ie

Irish Independent

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