Happy Halloween time — my favorite holiday and time of the year! I’ve shared it before, but there’s just so much to love about October, and just fall in general. My personal favorite thing about spooky month, though, is the creativity that comes along with it. Catch me doing all of the DIY things, going overboard with Halloween decorations (both inside and out), baking every pumpkin and creepy treat, and creating as many costumes and makeup looks as possible.
I also love traditions that come along with any holiday season, and Halloween traditions are no exception. In addition to our annual witch party, pumpkin carving + movie night, and family trip to the Jax Zoo Spooktacular is my favorite of all: our spooky family photoshoot! Listen, I promise this is the family photoshoot that you never knew you needed, and that no one will complain about (maybe, hopefully, fingers crossed?), because it’s just so much fun! You basically get to get dressed up and stay in character while having someone take your spooky family photos — it’s good.
We started this two years ago when I decided I wanted a giant family photo to replace the one from our spring family session that hangs in our living room, but I wanted it to tie in with our Halloween decor. I pitched the idea to my beloved and insanely talented photographer, Kelsey, and she was instantly on board. My oldest daughter loves Halloween and spooky things, too, so she was pumped about this idea, and my husband was actually excited for something other than portraits in a blue collared button-down and khakis.
For our first year, we decided on skeletons. I didn’t want to go full costume, and more so wanted to focus on the makeup and a few accessories while wearing “normal” clothes that went along with the theme. My husband was such a champ and let me do his makeup (and said he has a lot of fun with this), and my daughter played the role a little too well if I do say so. The result: obsessed.
We wanted to switch it up a bit the next year, so we decided on spooky scarecrows. These were a little more cutesy than creepy, but I credit that to the cute 10-month-old addition who joined us this time around. We all wore plaid with scarecrow hats, I picked up the straw wrist and ankle pieces from Spirit Halloween, and did all of our makeup. I was so surprised the baby actually let me do her makeup and left it alone. I love the way these turned out, and it was so fun having all four of us be a part of it!
Our shoot for this year is planned for this week, and I am SO excited! We are doing skeletons again. The first time baby was in my belly, so now she’ll get to be a part of the skeleton crew IRL! Cannot wait to see how they come out. I’ll be sharing on my Instagram if you want to follow along and see!
If you’re planning on having own spooky family photos taken, here are a few tips:
1. Don’t go full costume. You can, but I personally think these look cooler and are something you’re more likely going to put on display every Halloween if you look like yourselves (just the spooky version) instead of trying to dress as a character with an elaborate costume. Plus, you can usually pull something from your closet that will work, which means less money to spend on a costume/something to wear and less you’ll have to find a home for afterward.
2. Do something the whole family will enjoy. This way everyone is excited and will have fun with it! (Some ideas: classic monsters, zombies, skeletons, scarecrows, witches, wild animals, or clowns.)
3. Take a few props, but don’t get carried away. A few small accessories or props can totally elevate your spooky vibes, but don’t go overboard. Sometimes less really is better. Plus, you’ll already be corralling your kids — you don’t want to deal with more things in your hands.
4. Pick a backdrop that sets the scene. Public parks, wooded areas, or old run-down houses in the background make it effortlessly spooky!
5. Find a photographer whose vibe matches yours, both aesthetics and personality. You want someone who can capture those non-posed moments, and who can envision locations and backgrounds that will really bring these photos to life!
All photos by Kelsey Correa Photography.
If you need somewhere to start, Kelsey (my trusty photographer) is doing Spooky Minis on October 29 and had a few spots open last I checked. If you need makeup, I’d love to help out if I’m available! Just shoot me a DM on Instagram. Happy haunting… I mean smiling!