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Over the years, Halloween has become more about the candy loot or having the most creative costume and less about spending time as a family. This year, consider scaling back and starting some new Halloween family traditions.

No need to break the bank at the pumpkin patch. Think about your Halloween experiences from childhood and plan more experiences as a family. Celebrating doesn’t have to be overwhelming. A day of fun — a hayride, apple picking or pumpkin picking — is perfect.

Whether you like your pumpkins spooky, classic, sporty or cartoonish, you’ll love the free pumpkin carving templates on

Here are some popular farms to visit:

• Miller’s Orchard. 1421 Fairview Rd, Scott Twp., 570-587-3399.

• Ritter’s Farm Market. Route 348, Mt. Cobb, 570-689-5151.

• Roba’s Family Farms. Decker Rd, Dalton, 570-563-2904.

With the crisp chill of fall weather, why not plan a movie night. With so many great Halloween movies available throughout the month, here are our favorites:

• It’s the Great Pumpkin,

Charlie Brown;

• Casper;

• Spooky Buddies;

• Halloween Town; and

• Scared Shrekless.

Looking to save some cash on Halloween costumes? Search Pinterest for DYI costumes or visit your local consignment shop for used Halloween costumes. Goodwill of NEPA has a large variety of inexpensive costumes in new or good shape. Not finding what you need? Why not post it on social media? You might just have a friend who has the perfect costume.

The days of lighted-up houses on Halloween are diminishing and it seems that more and more houses are shutting off the porch lights on Halloween night. Talk with other parents in the neighborhood to organize a one-hour time block for the kids to go door- to-door. Let the rest of your neighbors know that the neighborhood kids will be trick-or-treating during this hour and this way they will be prepared. Encourage them to participate knowing that it will be mostly neighborhood kids during that hour.

Not about to go out trick-or-treating as a family? How about hanging out as a family and greeting trick-or-treaters. Whoever said that you had to give out candy for Halloween? Here are some of our favorite creative alternatives for trick-or-treaters:

• Glow sticks and finger lights;

• Mini-packs of pretzels, raisins or dried fruit;

• Temporary tattoos;

• Packs of mini play dough containers; and

• Halloween pencils and mini activity books or pads of paper.

When your own trick-or-treaters return with their stash, emphasize moderation. A little candy isn’t a bad thing, but a little can go a long way. Try either freezing chocolate or hiding the candy for future use. If you end up with too much candy, partner with your local dental practice’s buy back program. To find a dental practice in your area that participates log on to

Forget the tricks and embrace the treats. Here are some frugal and free treats for Halloween:

• Wendy’s Halloween coupon books come with five Jr. Frosty coupons for just $1. Proceeds go to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to help children in foster care find their forever homes.

• Dressed up and looking for sweets, stop by Krispy Kreme on Oct. 31 in your costume and get one free doughnut of your choice.

• Stop in Chuck E Cheese on Oct. 31 in costume and get 50 free tickets.

• Baskin-Robbins is again offering any scoop of ice cream for $1.31 on Oct. 31.