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Halloween comes with its share of stress

But a little planning can help keep the chaos to a minimum

Here's something that should make all your little ghosts, goblins and witches cackle with glee: This year's Halloween will last longer. Daylight-saving time isn't officially over until after Halloween, on Nov. 4. That means more daylight and more time to collect that candy. Sadly for moms and dads, that doesn't mean Halloween festivities will start later. Most school parades and town festivities start early and wreak havoc with working parents' schedules. It's also no guarantee your little monster won't change his or her mind at the last minute about a costume. Like any holiday, Halloween comes with its share of stress. But a little thought and preparation will go a long way to keeping the chaos to a minimum.

Talk about safety: Have a conversation with your children before the big day to talk about rules and expectations for the night. If your kids are older and trick or treat alone, make sure you set a time they must be home (give them a watch), and agree on a route in the neighborhood before they set out. Give your older trick-or-treaters a cell phone in case of any emergencies, or just to check in throughout the night. On Halloween, more than 20,000 kids are hit by cars, so remind your trick-or-treater to always look both ways. Provide your children with flashlights or glow sticks and consider putting reflective tape on their costumes to make sure they stand out. Safety is also very important when creating a costume. Choose face paint over bulky masks that obstruct your children's vision and costumes and accessories that are fire resistant.

Schedule enough time: Avoid the last-minute chaos and possible heartbreak of missing your child's costume parade at school by booking the important times on your schedule now. If you haven't already done so, sit down with your children this week to pick out a costume. That way, on Oct. 30 you won't be scrambling through the remnant costume bins hoping to find a cape for Superman or the perfect tiara for Cinderella. Scheduling applies to the big night as well. You'll want to make sure you have ample time beforehand to eat dinner together as a family (you don't want your children to fill up on candy) and of course, you'll want to make sure you have enough time to take pictures of your adorable little monster.

Get organized for Halloween with the tips below.

1. Better in bulk: To save money, buy your candy in bulk packs, but make sure your family likes the candy in case there are leftovers. Look for variety packs so there is something for everyone. If you have a costume closet at home, encourage your children to make costumes out of pieces you already own. Think of costumes that allow your children to use accessories from home, such as pirates, sports players or fairies.

2: Health on Halloween? People may think you are a dentist, but offer toothbrushes and floss if you pass out candy as well. Even better, pass out prepackaged crackers, wrapped granola bars or 100 calorie cookie snack packs. It gives kids a healthy snack during the night as a respite to all that sugar. Make sure you offer only wrapped treats that are peanut-free to avoid any problems with children who have nut allergies.

3. Try a pillowcase: Use pillowcases for your children's candy bags. They are great, because they don't break, can be washed and you can tell your children they hold the most candy. If you want to make it into a fun activity before Halloween, take old pillowcases and have your children decorate their own with markers, paint pens, glitter and ribbon.

The writers are co-founders of Buttoned Up, a company dedicated to helping stressed women get organized. Send ideas and questions to