The Scariest Stuff

At #Halloween time, people love to have a little fun with the phobias that scare them. Houses get bedecked with #spectres and #spiderwebs, and children dress up in #ghoulish, #gory costumes to roam the neighborhoods’ front porches in search of free candy.

But the really #scary stuff may be INSIDE THE HOUSE. Overstuffed closets that don’t shut. Heaping toy bins. Stacks of books and papers that list under their own weight. Shelves jammed with boxes of rejects and extras. That’s right: Your house is #haunted by #clutter.

Many of the things creating the clutter may be uncomfortable to look at — clothing that no longer fits or has gone out of style, for example. It’s embarrassing to look at, so you shove it to the back of the closet and try to forget about it.

Or those extra knickknacks that didn’t find a place in your new home (and never will). Isn’t it best, you might think, to just box them up and put them on a shelf in hopes that someday they will fit in to your decor?

No! Get rid of them now, and you’ll say goodbye to those embarrassments while creating new space in your home for the things you use and love. Along the way, you’ll reduce the anxiety that having a cramped, disorganized and cluttered home can produce.

Scary Mommy says that clutter produces an ominous dread in her that’s worse than any installment of the Friday the 13th franchise. “Cleaning up clutter is not just another thing on the to-do list like packing my kids’ lunches. It’s a full-on ragey kind of panic.

“It’s the feeling that I literally can’t breathe with all the clutter that’s filling our house,” she says. “It’s a feeling that the world is a chaotic place that I can’t control, and all of that chaos is represented by the loud, unruly, angsty wreck that is my living room.”

Chaos is scary. But the #decluttering process is also scary, because it demands that you go through all of that broken, disused and extra stuff and make snap decisions about what can stay and what should go.

In the spirit of the season, resolve to face those fears. Pick a disorganized, overstuffed shelf, closet or room and begin. It may be uncomfortable, embarrassing or frightening at first, but as your space slowly gets more organized, you’ll feel the anxiety lift.

If you find anything that may still be useful to other people as you declutter, bag it up and contact ClothingDonations.org for a donation pickup. Like giving out candy, you’ll be cheered to donate something knowing that it will assist veterans year-round.

And that may just make decluttering feel like a trick and a treat. Happy Halloween!

Know How Much Halloween Candy to Buy

If you recently moved to a new neighborhood or were out of town last #Halloween, you might not know how many or how few #trick-or-treaters to expect, says Craving Some Creativity. Ask your neighbors! They should be able to tell you to expect throngs of costumed kids prowling the streets in search of sweets, or only a few small families at dusk. Buy and give out only wrapped candy and treats — not homemade — unless you know everyone who will be stopping by. Get enough to satisfy all the little boys and #ghouls, and in a variety you like in case there are leftovers!

Preparing for Trick-or-Treaters

Most of what you do in preparation for #trick-or-treaters is up to you, says Spooky Little Halloween. For example, wearing a #costume makes the event seem like less of a chore, but it is not a requirement and it doesn’t have to be elaborate. Likewise, how much you decorate is optional — you can go all in on a faux graveyard with lights, fog and sound effects, or put a couple of pumpkins and a fall wreath out, but having the porch lights lit will signal that you’re giving away candy. Speaking of candy, that’s pretty much the only other requirement for a successful #Halloween, so make sure you have enough!

Get Organized for Halloween

There’s no time like the present to get organized for #Halloween! Stuck for a #costume? Have a brainstorming session with the family, Modern Mom suggests, using a big pad of paper and some starter ideas such as “things that make me laugh” or “pop culture.” To create a #spooky fog, put small cups of water inside your #jack-o-lanterns and cubes of dry ice in the cups. For nighttime safety, have the kids wear glow sticks or incorporate reflective tape into their costumes. And if you can’t be at home because you’re out #trick-or-treating, place a cauldron full of small bags of candy on the front porch for kids to take.

Decorate Your Home for Halloween on the Cheap

If you bought so much #Halloween candy that you only have a little money left to decorate, there are plenty of ways to make your home look #spooky for scary-cheap. Make tombstones out of cardboard to turn your yard into a creepy #cemetery, haunt the trees and porch with few DIY spider webs (and giant spiders to match), make felt bats, or ghost-light your walkway with haunted luminaria, Money Crashers suggests. And remember: You can find lots of spooky supplies (including lightly used clothing for creative costumes) at thrift stores supplied by generous donations to ClothingDonations.org.