Summer has settled, school is in swing, and fall has officially begun. Now that October is here, it’s time to start gearing up for Halloween. Planning for holidays can be fun, but it can also be cumbersome. As a busy mom, it’s easy to forget a few details. Here you’ll find an all-encompassing, step-by-step guide to prepare you and your family for Halloween.

Check the Calendar

Halloween falls on October 31st every year, but do you know what day of the week that is? For the record, this year, it’s a Tuesday. How might that change things? Mothers with young children have to consider a late night followed by an early school morning. Will that affect whether or not you let your child go trick-or-treating or attend a party? If so, check to see if there are any local community events over the preceding weekend that your child could experience instead. Great examples include trunk-or-treats in church parking lots or mall-sponsored giveaways. Also glance at the calendar to check for any events related to Halloween that take place within the weeks prior. Is the school having a Harvest Festival, and if so, do you need to set aside time to volunteer? Is there a costume contest you need to be aware of and prepare for in advance? Staying organized with your calendar will prevent last-minute panics. You don’t want to get caught on your heels or in a bind for procrastinating.

Act Early

Just like any holiday, the best practice is to act early. With a hectic schedule, this is much easier said than done. Try to do things little by little so you won’t feel so overwhelmed when you wind up decorating moments before trick-or-treaters start knocking on your door. Get those decorations down sooner than later, and slowly start putting things out as you have time. It’ll help your children get in the spirit and will lighten the burden by spacing it out. Going to the pumpkin patch is one of the best fall events to do as a family. If you wait too long, the best finds might be picked over—and the prices may be dramatically higher. Hold off on actually carving the pumpkins until the week of Halloween to avoid rot and decay, but secure your pieces early. Or, skip all the mess altogether and opt for alternative crafts instead. Be sure to avoid heading to the costume store with only a few days to spare. The selections and sizing are sure to be limited.

Pick Your Costumes

Decide whether you intend to buy new costumes this year, upcycle previous years’, or make something yourself. Setting a budget will make this decision easier. If you do plan to buy, consider using online retailers to save you time and money. Shopping online will allow you to compare prices and browse ideas. Give your child autonomy and let them exercise their own choice instead of choosing something on their behalf. As for yourself, jumpsuits make excellent choices for Halloween costumes for women. These onesies are easy, comfortable, and reusable as pajamas all year long. If you have toddlers or newborns, picking family-themed costumes are a fun way to stand out in the neighborhood. Some examples include the circus – with a ring leader, clown, and lion – or Disney cast members.

Stay Safe

One of the most important things as a mother is to ensure the safety of your family. Halloween time presents new obstacles and hurdles to look out for with increased pedestrian traffic, increasingly darker nights, and spikes in neighborhood vandalism. Take the time to sit down with your children and teach them proper safety tips, such as using sidewalks and always crossing at corners. Before trick-or-treating, consider lining their tote bags with reflective tape, purchasing glow sticks to wear around their neck, or investing in other safety products. Make sure you trust the area and that your child is always with a buddy or under supervision.

Halloween is a lot more involved than it used to be. It’s not just a day, it’s a season. If you take the time at the beginning of the month to plan properly, you and your family will thank you for it later.