Whether you think Halloween is a commercialised hell designed to torment parents into coughing up cash, or harmless fun, there's no denying that kids love it. Set them up for some ghouling and fooling with our top spooky buys.
Scary halloween buys
Not for the faint-hearted, this is one creepy-looking outfit that's perfect for trick or treating and freaking out other guests at Halloween parties. Comes complete with a mask and scythe to add to the fright factor. Assorted sizes cover toddlers to pre-teens in two year bands - buy slightly bigger and it might just stretch to next year too. Other Halloween designs on the M&S website (and in larger stores) range from witches and werewolves to cats and pirates.
They might not be old enough to knock on doors demanding sweets yet but there's no need to leave the little ones out of the fun. This dracula suit is a little expensive given it might only be worn a few times but we think it's adorably cute. And whilst many a fancy dress outfit is made from irritatingly scratchy fabric, this is soft velour so your baby won't spend Halloween screaming for the wrong reasons. Sizes from newborn to 18 months.
Given the amount of goodies you'll probably be doling out to trick or treaters, it's wise to get a good stock of low-cost confectionery in. Bargain supermarket Aldi's got everything from spooky pumpkin and ghost shaped marshmallows to these 'ghoulish ghost', 'eerie eyeball' and 'petrifying pumpkin' chocolates.
If you're serious enough about this Halloween lark to want to go beyond a botched carved pumpkin on the doorstep and a few plastic fake spiders, John Lewis has a good selection of devilish decorations. They're not the cheapest but most of them are built to last a little longer, so they can be packed away and brought out again year after year. Shown here is the felt bat 'Happy Halloween' sign.
These cheap and cheerful wind-up toys are the kind of thing kids love (even if their buzzing around will drive you half mad). Choose skull, witch, vampire or pumpkin.
Spooky spider bag for carrying trick or treat stash from house to house. Handy too for storing their haul back home afterwards (assuming they don't scoff it straight away). Also comes in a pumpkin design and can be re-used in future years.
Hosting a Halloween bash? These sweet Halloween Parade invitations from Belle and Boo are sure to get guests saving the date. Sold in packs of eight, they're printed on thick high quality cards and come with recycled envelopes. Matching cup cake wrappers cost £6 for 10.
It won't be ready in time for this year's Halloween as it takes around six months to grow, but children will love checking on its progress. Once it's ready, get them to help turn their home grown pumpkin into a healthy soup - Mr. Oliver would surely approve!
A shortcut to six fun to make Halloween cookies with no artificial junk in the ingredients. They take around 20 minutes to prepare – the only thing not included is butter – plus ten minutes in the oven. The same brand also has baking kits for spooky cupcakes and whoopee pies.
Bold and bright monster design paper plates which form part of M&S' Halloween tableware range, including disposable cups, snack trays (£1.50 for four) and napkins (£1.50 for 20).