Do you go all out for Halloween? Ad Age asked some of the most creative minds in the biz for their most spook-tacular tips.
Tweet your tips with #halloweenprotips
On preparing for trick or treaters: "It's getting harder to scare kids with blood and gore. Instead, I think it's fun to remind kids how small they are by making Halloween decorations as big as possible. Use your office printers (at night) to tile-print scary things you can find online onto 8-foot tall oversized foam boards. Cut them out and place in your yard. They'll horrify every child that comes trick-or-treating."
Candy corn — yay or nay? "No thanks."
On her costume strategy: "Come up with an idea that no one has thought of, at least not commercially, and if by any chance I see it in the stores I go back to the drawing board. Last year, I wanted to commemorate the 'great' restoration masterpiece of Doña Cecilia's 'Ecce Homo'. I put together two burgundy blankets and made them a robe, a short, curly brown wig, a beard, and pantyhose to cover my face so that I could draw the disfigured restored work of art. I bought a picture frame to hold up to the face to show that it was a piece of art."
Candy corn — yay or nay? "Nay! Too sweet...it's not worth the calories."
On decorating: "For many years we decked out the house with the speakers in the trees, strings and remote-controlled things in the leaves to startle kids. My wife asked me to tone it down."
On safety: "You never know who you're dealing with under those costumes. You hear all of the stories and they're based on something. They're rooted in some fact. You never know, you might come across something that is from a different place. So stay in groups and try to have a safe Halloween. Safety's most important."
Candy corn — yay or nay? "Oh my God, I hate candy corn. My twin sons seem to like it, but what is the point? It was big when I was a kid. Maybe I just had too much of it and got sick of it."
"A few costumes I wouldn't mind seeing this year: Khaleesi and her kids, and the new ZZ Top impersonators; aka the Duck Dynasty clan. My personal favorite would be someone running around pulling everyone to the ground and yelling out, 'I'm gravity, deal with it.'
The one costume I'm dreading most is the tongue-wagging Miley Cyrus invasion we'll all be scarred by. My only solace at this point is to dress up as a wrecking ball."
On handing out candy: "I definitely wait for the kids to say 'trick or treat,' though. I never hand the candy out before. They have to perform. It's a low bar. It's a pretty low point of entry."
On making a "Hump Day" camel costume: "Okay, so you have to do some sort of hump on your back, right? You get a brown shirt and put some Styrofoam…the head is most important. You can wear a shirt that says 'guess what day it is?' Maybe try having a plant in your mouth? How many camel masks do you think there are?"
"Two people could go as the camel, like a horse. That could be funny, but you'd have to really like the person to be the back end."
On office Halloween parties: "We give 500 bucks for first place. If you dress up, you drink for free for three hours. If you don't, you pay a $20 cover that goes toward [the agency's Martin Makes A Difference program]. We try to incentivize."
"Some of the best costumes are when people dress up like people at work. Especially if someone in your office has sort of a basic uniform, like wears a specific kind of tie every day."
Candy corn — yay or nay? "I'm ok with it. I'm actually not a big candy guy. I don't have a big sweet tooth. I prefer dark chocolate. Bitter chocolate. But that's just on special occasions."
On costumes: "One creative director dressed as an agency expense report and taped receipts all over his body. He called himself 'Tracy's nightmare' after the VP of Operations."
Candy corn — yay or nay? "No landslide victory, but an agency poll declares candy corn a YEA!"
On decorating: "They sell those artificial pumpkins at craft stores and we carved it to look like a Jack-o-lantern and then we put a baby monitor inside it … kids would hide inside and speak into the transmitter and when trick-or-treaters came to the house they could say 'Boo!' or make creepy noises."
On treats: "As much as I love homemade treats, I feel like parents and kids nowadays only accept sealed treats, so I go store-bought. Unless it's a party… we have a recipe for these great pumpkin-chocolate chip bars that are delicious that I've made…But that's just for friends and kids that you know."
Candy corn — yay or nay? "I think it's so seasonal and so classic that I buy it just because it looks pretty in a bowl. And if I'm decorating my mantle for Halloween, I'll buy it. But I don't actually like eating it, so I would say 'Nay.'"