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Challenge: Halloween Parade

When my teenager wanted to give up trick-or-treating, 'Secret Spooky' saved the day

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Ok, so this year my ninth grader has informed me that she’s not going trick-or-treating.

No way! Yes way.

“We’ve all decided.” she said. “Ok — so what are you going to do?” I asked trying to hide how disappointed I was. I mean, are we really at that point already? Yikes— I guess so, but, I feel like I was just putting her in her cute, little lobster costume yesterday.


Well, leave it to the creative minds of 14 and 15 year old girls to come up with the perfect way to bridge the gap from being trick-or-treating kids to those who say NO costume, no way and land somewhere in between. Look, when you’ve been dressing up for 14+ years, it’s hard to go cold turkey — and let’s face it — these kids still want in on some of the fun. So my daughter and crew (actually her friend Cate) came up with a way to “age out of trick-or-treating while still having fun.”

Bring on Secret Spooky — similar to Secret Santa with a spooky twist. With stores already decked out for the holidays, why not harness a little of that magic and mix it up with some traditional Halloween fun. Ok— so, here’s how it works.

Get your group together and put everyone’s name in a bucket.


Take turns picking from the bucket, making sure you don’t pull your own name.


Rules are the same as Secret Santa — whoever’s name you pull, is your Secret Spooky.

You have to get them a Halloween costume that they will wear at the group’s Secret Spooky Halloween get-together on October 31st. The costumes can be simple and inexpensive — the fun is in the surprise of what you have to dress up as. Maybe dress your tallest friend as a baby bumble bee or a former-Cookie Monster lover as that very lovable blue character. Either way — guaranteed giggles. Since the teens aren’t trick-or-treating, they can plan to meet at someone’s house — exchange costumes, dress up, order pizza and watch scary movies while they answer the door and hand out all of the candy to the little ghosts and goblins. Because maybe they want to hang on to that last, little of sliver of childhood as much as you want them to. Thank you, Secret Spooky.

Beth Kneebone is a co-founder and editor of The Pickup Line -- a daily email newsletter for parents. To subscribe to The Pickup Line, visit or text PICKUPLINE to 22828.

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