Here's why you need to celebrate Halloween-even after the kids are gone.

Dry your eyes and put on a costume! Just because the kids are gone doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Halloween-Empty Nest style. Here’s your inspiration…

Your guide to Empty Nest Halloween, and why you need to celebrate.
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As the chandelier moved by pulley from the stage to the ceiling, I could almost reach up and touch it. My husband gave me the thrill of a lifetime when he finagled 3rd row tickets to the Broadway production of Phantom of the Opera.

Although he’s not a theater junkie like me, he had fun watching me laugh, cry, and gasp with awe throughout the performance. I surprised myself with child-like delight as I became completely enraptured by the story. Something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.

We’ve Come a Long Way

Tony Stark and Pepper Potts made an appearance at our kids' Halloween party.
Tony Stark and Pepper Potts

Halloween has certainly come a long way since our days in the neighborhood. My costume was usually an old sheet with jagged eyeholes and a tattered pillowcase to weigh down with candy.

Our mom would wave goodbye from the front porch as my sister and I fearlessly plodded from door to door. We didn’t bat a pirate-patched eye at entering neighbors’ homes when invited.

Homemade candy apples and Rice Krispy treats were savored, not scorned. No one had heard of food allergies or teal pumpkins.

It is estimated that 64% of the population will celebrate Halloween with an average of $86 being spent per person.

It may surprise you to know that adults now spend more on their own costumes than they do for their children, with men forking over more than women.

Whether you go all out for this crazy holiday or avoid it like the plague, it’s hard to escape the zombie-like feeding frenzy for candy corn, costumes, and candles made to order.

Empty Nest Halloween

Red Riding Hood and the Big, Bad Wolf handed out candy one Halloween.
Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood

This year you may be dreading Halloween because your kids are celebrating on their own for the first time. This holiday hits right between dropping the kids off at college and the promise of their return for winter break. If we’re not careful, memories of years past can leave us feeling sad and lost on Halloween

But here’s a fun way to rethink things.

When our kids were in middle school, we started hosting a Halloween party for their classmates and friends. The evening included silly costumes, awkward glances between adolescents, and a neighborhood scavenger hunt.

The top 4 holiday expenditures, in order from most to least: Costumes, Candy, Decorations, and Greeting Cards.

I stayed home to hand out candy and field texts and calls from kids who were about to give up and needed a clue for the hunt. My husband was the fearless chaperone as the kids combed our subdivision.

For many years, we got in the spirit with couples’ costumes. It was fun, if for no other reason than embarrassing our kids. But, aside from dressing to match, we spent very little time together on most of those evenings.

As our kids entered their high school years, they had dates and other parties to attend. But we still weren’t off the hook. There were the last-minute costume emergencies, friend dramas and the need for a dozen homemade cookies that usually eclipsed our plans to spend a quiet evening together.

How to Celebrate

Batman and Wonder Woman helped out at our church carnival.
Batman and Wonder Woman

Now that both kids are celebrating Halloween away from home, my husband and I can finally figure out how we’d like to spend our time. The answer, so far, has varied from year to year.

Top 5 types of stores where people purchase their Halloween goodies: Discount, Halloween, Grocery, Department, and Online

Once, we left a pail of candy on the doorstep and volunteered at our church for a giant, indoor Halloween bash. Another time, we simply stayed home, ordered Chinese food and watched Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.

Writing this post had me reliving our family Halloween memories. I realized, once again, how fortunate we are to have so many traditions.

  • My husband carving the kids’ crazy pumpkin creations on the kitchen table spread with newspaper and gooey, slimy seeds.
  • Sewing my daughter’s fairy costume she played dress up in for many months after.
  • Watching our kids divide and trade favorite candies like two little casino sharks.

Such fun memories, but I can honestly say I don’t want to repeat them. These days, I’m much more interested in creating an Empty Nest Halloween. After all, it’s a great occasion for our kids to see their parents having fun together-without them.

Sadly, I don’t think they witness this nearly enough. Our lives are full with work, helping aging parents, and planning for retirement. Perhaps Halloween keeps rising in popularity because, more and more, our society needs a little break from these realities.

Why You Need To

One year, we were Simon Cowell and Heidi Klum for Halloween.
Simon Cowell and Heidi Klum from America’s Got Talent

Empty Nest parents not only need a celebration, we’ve earned it. Whether you plan a night out with friends, open a bottle of wine at home, or throw an all-out shindig, use Halloween to remember how to laugh a little!

More than 90 million pounds of chocolate will be purchased for the Halloween season.

Make sure you snap a photo of your merriment and text it to your kids. They’ll roll their eyes most likely-but you’re assuring them that you’re ok on your own. What’s more, they’ll know Halloween traditions continue to hold your family together.

Before our Empty Nest Halloween, we focused most of our energy on our own children. Now we have the luxury of investing in others. All Hallows Eve is a natural chance to nurture neighborhood friendships you may have neglected in the busyness of life.

Try One of These Ideas

Plop a lawn chair in the driveway and fraternize over some cold beverages or spiced cider. Make a big deal over the neighborhood kids’ costumes. Challenge your friends to a pumpkin-carving contest.

You can be fined up to $1,000 for selling or using silly string in Hollywood, California due to its use for vandalism on All Hallows Eve.

Perhaps your place of worship is throwing a safer Halloween alternative. Volunteer-you have no excuse not to! Dress your pet in a silly costume and visit a retirement community for no other reason than cheering up the residents.

My behind-the-scenes look into the world of fright night.
One year, my kids and I got a behind-the-scenes look at a Haunted House!

Show off your culinary skills by hosting a couples’ cooking night or making treats for your co-workers. Be the edgiest house on your block by decorating with giant spiders, inflatable pumpkins, and moving vampires.

Invest in a Relationship

Even if you choose to spend a quiet night at home, make a point of investing in a special relationship. There’s a certain magic in the air on Halloween night that makes even the most ordinary evening something special.

Over half the population of both the United Stated and the United Kingdom participates in the Halloween holiday.

I still remember being transfixed by the Broadway performance of Phantom of the Opera. When the lights came up at the end of the show, I realized my mind and emotions had been completely diverted from wondering where we’d eat, how much the taxi would cost, and when I could take off my heels.

An Empty Nest Halloween can provide you with a fun escape from your everyday worries. Whether or not you wear a crazy costume, celebrate your Empty Nest Halloween!

Why you should celebrate halloween, even without kids.
Fun Ideas for celebrating Halloween, even in the Empty Nest.
Your guide to Empty Nest Halloween, and why you need to celebrate.