13 Amazingly Resourceful Halloween Hacks for the Less-Than-Prepared Mom!

Halloween is quickly approaching, which for me, and millions of moms across the country (and world?!), it’s time to get ourselves together just enough to make sure our kids have something to wear for the school Halloween parade, trunk or treats, and good old-fashioned trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.

If you’re like me, you may be thinking…”I’ve got all the time in the world before I need to take actual steps to do all the Halloween things. It’s 2 weeks away for crying out loud!” Girl, I see you. But also let me tell you (read: myself) a cautionary word of wisdom. Do it now. Make a plan now. So that in two weeks, you’ll be prepared with all. the. things. and not running through Target like a chicken with your head cut off, wrestling other moms to the ground for the last unicorn princess fairy costume in your daughter’s size.

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But if you’re like me, lack of time, imagination, and mental capacity may keep you from taking my advice. So to prep you for October 30th, please take the advice of the Mothers of the Year who answered the following question: “What are your lazy-mom Halloween hacks?”

For your convenience, I’ve broken these brilliant answers down into three categories – Just Plain Smart – for the mamas who just really used their brain power. Downright Resourceful – for mamas who got creative in winning the day, and You Say Lazy, I Say Above and Beyond – for the overachiever mama who is killing this Halloween game.

Just Plain Smart:

  • Emily and a slew of other moms admitted: I pass out leftover candy from summer parades and recent holidays.

  • Marci: Last year we told the kids that only a few houses were giving out candy so we didn’t have to do the whole neighborhood.

  • Lindsay: Wear the princess dresses we’ve owned for years and play dress up in all the time.

  • Melissa: Trade last year's costumes with another family.

Downright Resourceful:

  • Michelle: I bought a $2 pair of cat ears and used an eyeliner pencil to make whiskers for my little one last year.

  • Megan: Using themed pajamas or onesies as a costume! That way you actually get your money’s worth. My youngest two will be wearing Target union suits of Buzz and Woody. And then wearing them as jammies all winter.

  • Sachiko: My girl is 2. She will be wearing the same costume from last year. I’m planning to have her wear the same one next year, too.

  • Sarah: One year, the candy at our house was running low, so I had the kids root through their buckets and take out the stuff they didn't like. One kid's junky candy is another kid's treasure.

You Say Lazy, I Say Above and Beyond:

  • Cherise: Tell them it’s cancelled this year... not that I’ve ever done that myself... like last year.

  • Kiely: I take my kids trick or treating at trunk or treats then hand out their candy on Halloween.

  • Melissa: We had our toddler hand out the candy last year so that we didn’t have to do it or go trick-or-treating. Everyone got a kick out of it, she thought it was great, and we just sat back eating candy all night.

  • Jacquie: I bought a $5 black blanket, pirated some elastic from something we already owned, and cut bat wings for both kids and attached stretchy cuffs with a couple of stitches. I count it as a mom win.

  • Elizabeth: I send the littles with their dad and I stay to pass out the candy. I sit out on the porch and read a book... and say “Take one please..”

Dear Mama, spooktactular.png

Here’s the heart of the matter, regardless of where you stand on Halloween and costumes and the like. Halloween is just another reminder of all things we’ve got to keep track of as moms. In my mind, and don’t judge me here, it’s just another looming opportunity for me to feel like a failure because I tend to let the distractions and chaos of life keep me from showing up prepared for fun stuff for my kids.

Wow. That got real. Ugh. (I hate/love when I write and accidentally process my deepest, darkest fears and emotions.)

I don’t want to do that this year. I want to be prepared, whether my kids’ costumes are store-bought or homemade. Whether the candy on our porch is leftover from Easter or recently-purchased at Costco.

For all of us, though, let’s not forget that our preparedness or lack thereof, is not an indicator of how good of moms we are. It carries no weight on our value and worth. What matters is the consistency of our love and care. What matters is that we get to the bottom of decluttering our hearts and lives to create margin for the wellbeing of ourselves and our families. What matters is that we do the hard work of replacing the lies we believe with the truth about who we are.

Then, whether we show up strong for our kids with the best costumes and premiere candy or we eyeliner-pencil cat whiskers on and call it a day, we can rest assured that we are loved, held, and secure in the unwavering, ridiculously awe-inspiring love of our Creator.


And hey, if you need help getting started replacing your lies with the truth, I created a Guided Journal just for you. Join my email list and you’ll hear all about it, AND get a discount code. #WINNING!

Just in case no one else tells you today, you, (psssst, yes, YOU!) are a really great mom!

Lisa GraftComment
To the Mom at the McDonald's PlayPlace, I'm SORRY I Judged You!

The other day, our family had just come back into town late-ish on a Sunday night, so when Monday evening rolled around and I realized that my children are so high maintenance that they have to eat dinner every. single. night., I popped over to the McDonald’s PlayPlace so they could eat some garbage and play in the germy petri dish.

Of course, I wasn’t the only parent who shared that idea. There was a man on his phone in the corner that never looked up and didn’t seem to be with a child. In fact, I was giving him another 10 minutes before I was going to get my kids out of there and call someone to report a creeper. I mean, seriously, dude?! Please don’t choose a seat in the children’s play area if you aren’t attending to a child. Just in the nick of time, he called his son by name. Crisis averted.

Then, I noticed a mom in her work clothes, typing away on her laptop. Her kids came to and from the table to grab a drink or a fist-full of fries and then return to the play area. She never looked up. She was focused on her work, seemingly feverish to finish one last thing before closing her computer.

mcdonalds playplace

This is the mom I need to apologize to. You’re the one I judged. It happened so fast in my mind that I didn’t really know it was happening. I thought to myself, “What kind of mom just sits on her laptop and ignores her kids? She must be one of those really driven, corporate-type moms.” And on and on. I’ll spare you the gory details.

Finally, the loving and kind voice in my head whispered, “So are you.”

Gut. Punch.

I’m a working mom too. I’m career-driven. I was still in my dress from work. I wasn’t talking to my kids because they were playing with the other kids in the PlayPlace. I have been known to occasionally sit on my laptop when my kids are around if I need to meet a deadline or ride the creative momentum I sometimes get at the most inopportune times.

None of that makes me feel like a bad mom. So why did I look at you and assume the worst?

Ahhh, conviction. It’s a bittersweet taste in my mouth. I absolutely hate that my heart and mind chose to judge you first. I hate that it took me stopping this train of thought and listing the similarities between us to change my mind about you.

This is the exact reason why I believe the I Am Mother of the Year movement has so much power! It can help us celebrate and encourage moms who are our soul sisters or polar opposites. We’re moms, in it together. We’re all doing the best we can.

And then the moment of truth came, when I reached into my purse and grabbed a Mother of the Year Award sticker. I was tempted to hand it to my daughter to give to you, because she really lights up when she tells moms that they are awesome. To be honest, “real” corporate women like you intimidate me, so I knew that this one needed to come from me.

I sat there, holding this little round piece of encouragement in my hands and thought through all of the possible reactions you might come back with. Would you be kind or put-off? Would you scoff or smile? Would you cry or walk away and avoid eye contact?

Turns out, you were sweet and grateful. I told you that you were a great mom and I meant it. I lamented the fact that being a working mom is really hard, and you agreed. And then you told me I was doing a good job, too. I gave your daughter a sticker that read, “My Mom is Mother of the Year,” because she was curious about what had just taken place between us.

She’ll never know the weight of that moment for either of us. I’ll probably never know if the moment carried any weight for you. And that’s ok. But for me, dear, hard-working, career-driven, suit-pants-wearing, McDonald’s-Play-Place-frequenting mama, this was a powerful exchange that reminded me to continue trying my best to look at others with love FIRST.

What if we all just assumed the other was doing the best that she could? How much more peace, kindness, grace, and forgiveness would we see in our relationships, in our neighborhoods, in our big and small daily interactions?

How much space do we give criticism and judgment in our brains?

I’ll answer that for all of us. TOO MUCH.

So let’s take our advice today straight from the Bible, shall we?

“Make the most of every opportunity. Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.” Colossians 4:5-6 MSG.

Dear Lisa, drill this into your head! Let these words sink deep into your heart! And let the overflow of kindness speak to yourself and others.

Dear Mom in McDonald’s, you’re a really great mom. You’re doing a really awesome job. Balancing all the things can be overwhelming, but from the looks of it, you’re killing that working mom game. Keep up the good work, friend.

Dear all the other moms, I think you’re also doing a fantastic job with your kids. Perfection is never the goal. You can’t do it all, but you can try your best to do it all with love and grace for yourself and those around you.

Whether they’re eating kale or a Happy Meal.

P.S. If you think you might need a little help with that whole “not judging other moms” thing, try buying a Mother of the Year Award Sticker Pack to give away. I bet after one or two stickers, you’ll be able to see the change in others AND the change in yourself!

Lisa GraftComment
"I Just Need 5 Minutes of Peace and Quiet!" - Every. Mom. Ever.

“I just can’t get any peace and quiet!” – Every. Mom. All. Day. Long.

You’re right, you can’t.

Motherhood isn’t designed with built-in breaks. It’s 24/7/365 forever and ever until you die. How’s that for some hope?!

I had a moment this past weekend where it hit me like a ton of bricks. NO ONE EVER GIVES ME ANY PEACE AND QUIET!

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I’m training for a half marathon coming right up here in November, and this past Saturday was supposed to be my 6-mile long run. I was so tired and just not feeling it when I woke up to the sound of Josie “sneaking” into my bed and poking my forehead with her tiny fingers until I finally mustered up a, “Good morning, sweet girl.”

And I lay there, wishing I would’ve set my alarm earlier so I could enjoy a cup of hot coffee in a dark quiet home before what just happened, happened. I thought through how achy my body felt after a 17-story rappel the day before (!!!) and a recent trip to the gym and basically let myself off the hook for my morning run. My mind wandered to how old I felt, and how sorry I felt for myself that my husband was going to leave at 9:30 that morning for an overnight Bachelor party.


I popped out of bed so fast. I changed into my running clothes and brought the kids downstairs to enjoy some waffles while I literally chugged my coffee. I settled the kids in the playroom and went up to whisper-yell at my still-sleeping husband that I would be back in an hour – just enough time before he would need to shower, pack, and leave the chaos for a weekend of bro-time.

I ran and ran and ran. Somewhere around mile 5, I began to feel the swell of gratitude for a body that responds to consistent training. For strong legs that carry me on the run and throughout my days. For a heart that beats faster during exercise of body, mind, and soul. For the pavement under foot that leads me back home to my eager kids.

And it hit me. Even though I could’ve shamed myself that the only real motivation I felt to run that morning was to “escape” my kids, I let that nonsense go and took hold of the fact that I could’ve still been throwing myself a pity party in bed – that no one gives me any peace and quiet.

That’s right. It’s not my 5-year-old’s job, let alone within her capacity, to understand and appreciate my need for margin. Same can be said x1000 for my 2-year-old. And even, God bless him, my husband.

It’s MY JOB to create my quiet.

No one is going to force me out of bed at my first alarm to make sure I take a few precious moments to quiet my heart and mind before the day.

No one is going to force me to shut the radio in my car off to make sure I transform my commute and errand-running into restful space.

No one is going to force me to put my phone down after the kids go to bed to make sure I take a few deep breaths of thankfulness to end a chaotic day.

No one but me.

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I know there are a million circumstances that present themselves each and every day that seem to make it impossible to rest…to get a little reprieve. And I know that I’m more fortunate than most – I’m a married, suburban, middle-class white woman with two kids – a boy and a girl. I know I’m writing to single mothers, divorced mothers, mothers who just got the diagnosis of autism, mothers who wish they didn’t have to work so they could be stay-at-home-moms. Mothers who wish they could work so they didn’t have to be stay-at-home-moms. Mothers who have cancer. Mothers who just lost a baby. Mothers who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

I’m not going to sit behind my laptop and pretend to know all of the things that make your life hard. But I am going to tell you this with truth and grace. YOU are the only one who is in charge of making sure YOU have a little peace and quiet.

You don’t need to run for an hour to get it. You don’t even need to set an early alarm to get it. You do what YOU can do to make the pipe dream of peace and quiet a reality. Because when you do, oh my goodness gracious, you’ll come alive.

By creating your quiet, you’ll begin to breathe just a little easier – if only for that moment. You’ll begin to dream a little bit easier – if only for that moment. You’ll begin to listen with ears ready to hear the still, small voice of God – if only for that moment – as He reminds you that He’s near you in the quiet and the chaos. He loves you whether you’ve got it all together or you’re falling all the way apart. He smiles proudly at you all day and sings songs of hope over you all night.

So what is it? What is holding you back from creating your quiet? What is one teeny tiny step you can make today, RIGHT NOW, to create some quiet – some rest for your body, mind, and soul? Maybe it’s a slow and drawn-out walk around the car after you buckle your boy in his car seat. Maybe it’s a deliberate dedication to folding laundry in silence. Maybe it’s memorizing little pieces of scripture so that when you DO create moments of peace and quiet, you begin or end them with some truth you can take to the bank.

Whatever it is for you, I pray you create your quiet this week. And in the quiet, more than anything, I hope you can hear the loving whispers of your Heavenly Father as He reminds you just how loved you are.

Just in case no one else tells you today, you’re a really great mom! Mother of the Year, in fact!

Lisa GraftComment