Survive Halloween messes

Easy, quick and cheap ways to clean up after trick-or-treating. ―By Megan Friedman

The day after Halloween has to be one of the biggest cleaning days of the year. Your children leave chocolate and candy all over the house and themselves, leftover gunk from your jack-‘o-lantern is stuck to the front porch and the neighbor’s kids decided to throw eggs at every car on the block. You’ve got a lot of work to do, but don’t fear! Most Halloween stains can be eliminated easily, using products you already have around the house.

  • Sticky candy: Mix 1 teaspoon of neutral detergent and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Blot the stain using this solution and a cloth. For melted candy, blot with a mixture of one-third vinegar and two-thirds water. Finish by blotting with water, then scrape off the candy.
  • Chocolate: Scrape off the excess chocolate, then head to How Stuff Works for specific instructions depending on surface or fabric.
  • Gum: If it’s stuck in hair, rub strands with peanut butter until the gum gets out. If it’s stuck to clothing, press ice to the sticky area until it hardens, then scrape off.
  • Pumpkin: Before you start carving a jack-‘o-lantern, lay down newspapers under the pumpkin for easy cleanup. Too late? Use a spoon to scrape off as much as possible, then scrub with a solution of dishwashing liquid and water.
  • Glitter: First, vacuum up any glitter you can. For the remnants, try rolling some Play-Doh over the mess to pick up sparkles.
  • Silly String: Most will come off your house with soap and water, but you can remove any residue with a cotton ball or swab.
  • Shaving cream: Don’t wait to clean this, since―surprise― shaving cream can leave stains on outdoor items. Luckily, it should easily come off with a hose and microfiber cloth. If your car is the victim, though, you should have it professionally washed.
  • Toilet paper: Make sure to clean up toilet paper before it starts raining or before sprinklers go off, as wet toilet paper is a nightmare to clean. If dry toilet paper is high up in a tree, use a ladder and a stick wrapped in sticky duct tape to reach it.
  • Eggs: First, pick up the eggshells, then use a hose to remove as much of the egg as possible. If eggs are stuck to surfaces, place a rag soaked in half water, half vinegar on the egg for 15 to 20 minutes. Then wipe down the area with another rag.