You spent the time and money to buy or make your own clothes and Halloween costumes like I did with a Modest Dark Denim Skirt Online, but they’ll only be worn for a few hours, in the dark and hidden under a coat if the trick-or-treating forecast calls for cold weather.

Solution? Extend the Halloween season by throwing a Halloween party for kids. This will definitely be fun for the kids, while the parents enjoy eating and drinking beer in their Oktoberfest costumes. Here are some suggested themes with activities and menus that complement them.

Pumpkin-Carving Party

This party can get messy, but it’s so much fun it could become an annual tradition.

Invite several families to your house, and ask them to bring their pumpkins and carving tools. Set up long tables either outside, in the garage or a rec room with the floors covered.At a designated time, guests carve their pumpkins however they please. As they scoop out the pulp, come around with a baking sheet, collect the seeds and toast them in the oven for an end-of-party treat. You could also slip the toasted seeds into small bags and send them home as favors.Once all the pumpkins are carved, display them together, perhaps giving awards for originality, precision or beauty. Besides the toasted seeds, the menu could include pumpkin soup, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin doughnuts or anything pumpkin.When it comes to decorations, stick with a harvest theme. Make a scarecrow, circle up some hay bales on the lawn for seating (draping quilts or blankets on top of the hay bales makes them more comfortable), and wrap bundles of dry cornstalks with white Christmas lights if the party is held during the evening.

Mock Trick-or-Treating

Although they can be little tricksters and are as sweet as treats, children aren’t born knowing how to trick-or-treat.

Little ones need some coaching, and a fun way to do that is to set up a mock neighborhood in your house sometime before Halloween.

Borrow indoor playhouses from friends or have the kids make houses from large cardboard boxes. Place each house in a different room and station an older child inside with a bowl of candy, stickers or other small prizes. The young kids then knock on each door and practice saying “trick or treat” and “thank you.” The little ones get the thrill of receiving treats, and the older kids feel a sense of pride for helping the tots.

There’ll be plenty of sugar in the candy, so you won’t need to make dessert. For the main meal, serve Halloween Tossed Salad, Boneyard Chicken Drumsticks or Deviled Ghoul Eggs.

Avoid gory decorations (think pumpkins, not zombies), since this is a party for young children.

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