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Your Halloween shopping list: Everything you need for holiday fun

From party supplies to decorations, here's a checklist of what to plan and what to buy for Halloween festivities and fun this year.

Halloween is quickly approaching, and one of the best parts about the spookiest fall holiday is preparing for it! From decorating your house to baking fun treats to hosting parties, there’s a lot to plan, purchase and get out of storage.

Every family celebrates Halloween a little bit differently. Carla Birnberg, a mother of one from Oakland, California, says “For us it’s all about the pumpkins, the wacky skull stencils, skeleton decorations, tattoo pens and temporary tattoos and lots and lots of decorations.” 

Whether you want the best family costumes or the best Halloween party food, figure out how your family wants to celebrate All Hallow’s Eve and then make a list of what you’ll need. To help get you started, here is the ultimate list of everything you need to pull off a spooktacular Halloween!

Halloween decorations

When deciding how to decorate, try to pick one Halloween theme to make it easier to coordinate what to buy. For inspiration, here are several Halloween party themes. Plus, you can never go wrong with stocking up on the ever-classic Halloween decorations, including:

  • Fake spider webs.
  • Black, purple and orange lights.
  • Fall-scented candles.
  • Window decals.
  • A witch’s cauldron.
  • Tombstones for the front yard.
  • Carved pumpkins.
  • Black cats.
  • Brooms.
  • Fake blood.
  • A bowl full of apples, pears, gourds or other fall fruits and veggies.
  • Fake skeletons and skulls.
  • Witch hats.
  • Toilet paper (aka “mummy wraps”).
  • Lanterns.
  • Fake witches, ghosts and ghouls.
  • Fake vultures or ravens.
  • Cleaning supplies for inevitable Halloween messes.

Pumpkin-carving must-haves

Get ready for Jack and his lantern with these pumpkin-carving supplies:

  • Knife with a short, serrated blade.
  • Safety knife if your older children want to help.
  • Spoon to scoop out pulp and seeds (check out these things to do with pumpkin seeds).
  • Trash bag for scraps.
  • Sharpie or black marker for drawing on any details.
  • Glitter, yarn, buttons, etc. for decorating.
  • Battery-powered candles to place inside.
  • Pumpkin-carving tips.

To make the process easier, try these no-carve pumpkin ideas.

Halloween party food

With all of the parties for kids’ schools, the office and friends and family, the kitchen gets busy during Halloween. Buy supplies early so you can focus on the actual cooking and baking later in the month.

  • Halloween-themed cookie cutters (pumpkins, cats, witch hats, etc.).
  • Orange and black colored sugar, sprinkles and frosting.
  • Frosting tubes (to apply frosting).
  • Purple and orange food dye.
  • Colored chocolate chips or Halloween-themed M&Ms.
  • Candy corn.
  • Halloween-themed pie, cake and cupcake mix.
  • Seasonal fruits and veggies.
  • Plastic wrap and Halloween-themed Ziploc bags to protect the goodies.
  • Pumpkin seeds (put on salads or munch on by themselves).
  • Cupcake liners or boxes for baked goods.
  • Halloween ribbon to tie baggies of cookies together.
  • Canned pumpkin for everything from breads to pudding.
  • Halloween-themed serving trays to put everything on.
  • Halloween flags, toothpicks or toppers to put on desserts.

Trick-or-treating stuff

Whether you’re going door to door or staying in to hand out candy, get ready for this Halloween tradition with these supplies:

  • Candy — including nut-free options or non-food items (like small plastic toys) for kids with allergies.
  • Bowl or basket to hold the candy.
  • Costume (check out these DIY Halloween costume ideas to get started).
  • Candy bag or pail.
  • Scissors/sewing kit for last-minute repairs.
  • Batteries for flashlights, plastic candles or costume accessories.
  • Flashlight for walking around at night (you can also bring glow sticks for the kids to hold or wear).
  • Makeup remover.
  • Cotton balls.
  • Sweater or jacket.
  • Mask.
  • Face paint.
  • Nail polish.
  • Wash-out hair dye.
  • Glitter.
  • Waterproof spray for costumes in case of rain.
  • Water bottles to keep everyone hydrated.

Party supplies

Planning a Halloween bash? Here are all the things you need to round up or buy at the Halloween shop:

  • Invitations.
  • Games or contests for the guests.
  • Prizes.
  • Arts and crafts station (make things such as DIY trick-or-treat bags).
  • Mini pumpkins for a decorating contest.
  • Pumpkins and jack-o-lanterns.
  • Masks and funny props for picture taking.
  • Halloween-themed temporary tattoos.
  • Spooky music.
  • Kits or the makings for haunted gingerbread houses.
  • Dry ice for ambiance or a fog machine.
  • Halloween-themed food or dessert bar.
  • Bowl full of goo and filled with tiny prizes.
  • Halloween plates, cups, tablecloth and napkins.
  • Halloween punch or drinks.
  • A candy bowl.
  • Goodie bags (filled with candy, spider rings, etc.).
  • Black and orange balloons and streamers.
  • Halloween movies for background entertainment.
  • A camera or smartphone to capture all the fun.

Don’t forget to hold onto this list to hit up the after-Halloween sales on November 1st, so you can start working on your collection for next year!

Erica House is a writer, psychology instructor and marathoner, who has been in love with Halloween for as long as she can remember. She has an embarrassingly large amount of Halloween décor and loves to dress up her cat, Salem.