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Autumn Halloween Make The Magic

The Ramshackle Way to Halloween!

“Ramshackle Thrift” is my version of home decor and play. A word that denotes homemade, spontaneous, loosely held together, unpolished, and a little bit hobo.

It’s a spectacularly fine way to holiday….especially if you value alternatives to cheap plastic commercial culture!

Here are a bunch of homegrown craft, play, and costume ideas from our little clan….

Yes, you can journey through 13 Halloweens without buying hardly a thing! That’s the essence of ramshackle thrift……grounding each holiday in sustainable tradition-making.

Avoiding the dollar store (and every other commercial halloween aisle) is altogether doable, and keeps a child’s memories and expectations centred in the wholesomeness of Autumn.

We theme our play corners with autumn colours and ingredients….We invite pumpkins, spice, leaves and candles to fill our senses! Orange coloured fabrics and silks come out, walnuts become little mice, and hibernation stories feed the imagination.

We have outdoor chai spice tea parties in the stump kitchen….

Cinnamon-scented playdough outside with natural garnishes….

We use what’s around the house to glam up our pumpkins….

Because I collect free & cheap costume jewellery all year I don’t need to go to a ‘real’ craft store.

Horrible earrings make great facial features for little glam-o-lanterns!

Nature tables are a great way to bring the fall colours inside….

Nostalgia and candlelight are the guardians of the soul…

Pumpkin carving is the capstone of Halloween….

Hodge-podge, homemade Halloween costumes are the only way to go…

Borrow and lend, re-purpose and handmake….these are the costumes they will remember and be proud of!

Cardboard box monster robot costumes? Recyclable!

Adopting their own little baby or pumpkin pet to care for throughout the Halloween season has always been very special…

Swaddling, feeding, and caring for pumpkins like they are living dolls….this captivating ritual is one of our favourites. A real touchstone of nurture. I find it intimately bonds them with the beauty of harvest time.

It doesn’t really matter how you do it, but adding calm, mindful, creative, sensory rich elements offers soul-food to the whole family.

And it is a powerful way to hold fast to eco-conscious values, further divorcing our lifestyles from the gaudy throwaway plastics and goulish garbage of mainstream Halloween.

Am I zealot for all-natural, all-Waldorf, home spun holidays? Not like 100% nazi! They can enjoy the occasional glow stick. They can trick or treat and experience the cultural celebration of knocking on their neighbours’ doors. They can enjoy lining up their chocolate bars, using them as building blocks (and eating a few before we get rid of them)!

We hang onto any colourful candies to use at Christmas time… we don’t have to buy decorations for our gingerbread houses 🙂

Every holiday hits us with another round of fresh temptation to thoughtless consumption. But we don’t have to buy in.

I hope this little glimpse of our real life inspires you!

And I hope you’ll cultivate your own ideas, finding ways to heighten what’s intrinsically beautiful about October time.

Ramshackle blessings 🙂



Gigi Jobb is first and foremost a child at heart herself! An oral storyteller, teacher, mother, and ambassador for the wonder of childhood, she keeps this parenting blog, a facebook group called Playing the Ramshackle Way, and has newly released her first children’s book, A Whole Other Magic. With four kids of her own and a little Waldorf-inspired ‘forest school’ full of creative play in her backyard, Gigi writes what she knows: that free play is where it’s at.



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