I can’t decide if the best part of Halloween is the candy or dressing up. Either way, it’s one of my favorite holidays. Oh, who am I kidding, I love every holiday!

Halloween is extra fun because of the costumes though. The kids have a blast picking out their favorite character and I love taking pictures of them all dressed up. Over the years, I’ve learned a few things to make taking photos less stressful and more fun. Here are 5 tips for the best Halloween costume photos.

1. Don’t wait until Halloween. This one will save you lots of stress, I promise. Take the kids out a few days before and make it fun! Have them get into character and they’ll love it! Plus, you’ll have time to try again if the weather doesn’t cooperate.

2. Think about light. Light is the most important element in photography. It can make or break a photo. The best time of day to shoot is either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The sun is low in the sky so you won’t have to worry about harsh shadows or super bright sun. I shot these pictures about an hour before the sun set after it had rained all day. The sky was so pretty! If you have to shoot indoors, get your child close to a big window and open the blinds. You need to let in as much light as possible.

3. Choose a location that is clutter free. Whether you’re shooting indoors or out, you want to make the costume the star of the show, not the mess in the background. Just do a quick clean up or choose an angle where you don’t see the clutter.

4. Get in close. There are usually a lot of fun accessories with a Halloween costume. Don’t forget to capture them! Get in nice and close and grab some detail shots. I love the headband from my daughter’s costume. So cute! And don’t be afraid to try some interesting compositions. Shoot close, far away, from above, from below. Be creative!

5. Include a few props. As long as it makes sense for the costume. Is your child dressing up as Snow White? How about including a basket of apples! Do you have a Star Wars fan? I bet your child would love showing off his/her lightsaber moves. Olivia is a toddler on the go so I knew she wouldn’t sit for a photo unless she had something to play with. We brought along R2D2 and it worked great.

If you’re feeling a little ambitious you could try taking a few short video clips and making a slideshow. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You could use your iPhone! Just another fun way to capture Halloween! I took this a few years ago when my middle daughter was Wonder Woman for Halloween.

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I LOVE Halloween. Like, seriously love it. If I didn’t have a mortgage to pay or mouths to feed, I might spend all of my money on decorations for the holidays. It’s a problem.

Since that’s not really practical (or nice), I have to show a lot of restraint when it comes to decorating. One really cute way I’ve discovered to add big impact for very little money is to use digital art.

There are so many things you can do with printables. Here are just a few!

Fill frames already in your house.

Choose art with color that compliments your decor and make sure it’s the same size as your frame. When the holiday is over, just pop the photo back in and store the printable in a folder to re-use next year. I love the way Aurelie from @aurelie.erikson framed the Ghouls Rule prints from @indyandpippa.co in her living room alongside photos of her babies.

Decorate your child’s play space/bedroom.

The kids would have a blast helping with this. Use some festive washi tape to secure the prints to the wall or get creative and place them on chalkboards or mirrors. Courtney with @lifeofcoco_ used prints from @oliveandeveco as decor in her daughter’s play kitchen area.

Shakira from @occasions.byshakira mixed in prints with her daughter’s art work in their playroom.

Amanda with @woodenthatbesomething created a banner using her own digital prints.

Spruce up the kitchen.

This is actually a shelf in my own little kitchen area. The frame with chicken wire had a bunch of random pictures on it – a photo booth strip with my girls before Olivia was born, Olivia’s ultrasound picture, quotes, etc. I swapped out those things and added Halloween goodies. The mini prints are from Hayden and North and Olive and Eve Co. You could do something similar or add them to the fridge or your cabinets for some holiday fun!

Include them in your party prep.

Hosting a Halloween party? Use these mini prints from Hayden and North as decor on tables, snack trays, bar carts, or in goody bags.

Do you have any other ideas? What’s one way that you decorate for Halloween that’s super simple and inexpensive?

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Fall is quickly becoming my favorite season. And Halloween is right up there with Christmas for my family. Since having Olivia, I’ve rediscovered my love of celebrating holidays and creating magical moments with my girls.

One thing that’s different this time around though is how I use social media to inspire me when it comes to decorating and gift giving. I’ve come across so many amazing shops on Instagram and I’d love to share them with you.

Here are 10 small shops to help get you ready for Halloween!

Ellie and Piper – If you’re having a Halloween party, Ellie and Piper is the place to go. How cute are those skull plates?

Hooray Everyday – Adorable banners, garlands and festive holiday goods.

Occasions by Shakira – I am so excited that I stumbed on this shop. Shakira creates these amazing holiday kits that she calls, ‘a playdate in a box.’ Each kit includes seasonal items from other small shops as well as activities you can do with your kids. I ordered this Spooky Occasion Kit and can’t wait for it to get here. The kit includes a Halloween Tradition Guide with spooky recipes, a Halloween bucket list, and more, a small Bag of Monster Popcorn, movie might mini popcorn box, a reusable “Boo” Silly Straw, custom halloween matching card game, and more!

Against the Grain – these hand-cut wood signs are so much fun! There’s going to be a re-stock on 9/19 so set an alarm!

Pearl and Jane – So many fun garlands for the holidays. I’ve got a few already and just ordered one more! These garlands are a simple way to decorate for the holidays. String them up in the kitchen, on shelving, or windows. The perfect holiday accent!

Frost Your Cookie – Another fun find! This ‘Boo Your Neighbor Box’ is adorable. Scroll through the rest of her site if you dare. There are just too many yummy treats to choose from. And I think decorating cookies a great activity to do with kids of any age.

Chalk Designs By Me – Just snagged one of these beautiful hand painted signs.

Sprinkle of Whimsy – these are digital downloads that are fun to use for decorating. Print them out, stick them in a frame and add them on a bookshelf, in a gallery wall, or in the kids rooms.

OMG and More – I ordered 3 of these for the girls to wear! I was so excited they have a range of sizes which is always the hardest part if I want the girls to wear matching shirts.

Olive and Eve – Another set of printables. These are so sweet and I love the softer colors.

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