At Halloween, the treat is the trick. Why? To put it bluntly, sugar rots the teeth out of your head. Kids launch into a sugar high and adults sneak a hard candy and end up breaking a tooth.

So what do you do with yourself and the kids on Halloween? Here are 13 creative suggestions that will ensure fun for the whole family and give your teeth, your dentist, and yourself a break. Why unlucky 13? Because, it’s Halloween. Also, 13 is 31 inverted.

1.  Haute Couture Costume Fashion Show

Invite the grandparents over or maybe some neighborhood families and hold a costume fashion show. Form a runway in the living room and have an adult or older teenager act as emcee. The emcee needs to speak either snobbishly or hauntingly. Serve savory hors d’oeuvres off crystal plates. Tres Parisian.

2. A Charlie Brown Pumpkin Party

Send out invitations – and don’t leave out Charlie Brown – for an old fashioned Halloween party. This party’s dress code is sheets à la ghosts. Dunk for apples, dance to piano music, and cry over your root beer. Make sure you watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Everyone gets a rock to take home.

3.  Candy Currency

Have the kids use the candy from trick-or-treat to buy a toy, book, or video that you’ve already purchased for the occasion. You decide what prize is worth how much candy. Once you’ve traded and have the candy, throw it away. Even the U.S. Mint trashes wasted currency.

4.  Freakish Night-on-the-Town

Dress up the kids – and maybe yourself, too – just as if you’re setting off for trick-or-treat. Then, go out to a restaurant. On the way back home, visit the grandparents or drop by some family friends for a ‘ta-da’ moment.

5.  Halloween Movie Fest

Stir up the chili, pop the popcorn, and settle back for a Halloween movie festival. I’m not into horror. Yikes! If you aren’t either, check out the blog “3 Family Halloween Movies” on my author website. For younger kids, try Monsters, Inc.

6.  Lip-Sync Concert

Get the kids to decide on a band or other music group and have them dress as that group. Put on the band’s album so they can give you and your family a concert. It can be the Beatles, Sonny and Cher, the Andrew Sisters, a marching band, or a Mozart opera. Pick the time period and genre everyone will have the most fun with!

7.  Reformation Day Celebration

Forego Halloween altogether and celebrate Reformation Day. On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther instigated the Protestant Reformation by nailing his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Celebrate the day by reading about Luther’s life, discussing the Reformation’s influence on Christianity, watching the movie Luther, and having a Bible study comparing Romans 1:16-17 and Ephesians 2:8-10 about grace and justification. This may be more for older kids and adults, but can be absolutely fascinating. Really!

8.  Harry Potter Marathon

This would take an entire day, as the eight Harry Potter movies total near 20 hours. You might watch the movies over a period of days, ending with the last on Halloween. Conjure up a Hogwarts dinner from The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook. Even muggles can do this.

9.  Literary Masquerade Party

Choose a novel and dress the whole family as characters from the story. Think of what the characters would do or eat. Hold a Mad Tea Party from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or sponsor a jousting tournament as in The Once and Future King. Look into my author website for other literary ideas at the blogs “Seven Classic Fantasy Novels, Whether You Agree or Not” or “The Pill to Swallow in Fantasy and Science Fiction.”

10. Trick or Treat Top 10

The wisdom here is moderation. Have your kids choose their top ten favorite candies from their trick-or-treat bags. Throw the rest away.  That’s better than a mouth of decay and a brain of hyper-emotions. And don’t go eating the junk yourself; adult teeth are not immune to the cavity monster.

11. Pumpkin Carving

Get some kid-friendly pumpkin carvers and hold a carving party. This is messy, but simple fun.

12. Savory Treat Cook-Off

Ditch the sugar and have a savory treat potluck with your friends. You’ll feel better and have a great time! You could even emulate Chopped from the Food Network or imitate Julia Child. Bon appétit!

13. A Wait for the Great Pumpkin

Go the simple route. Find a sincere pumpkin patch and wait there for the Great Pumpkin… or for a beagle dressed as a World War I flying ace.