Give Portraits Instead of Candy This Halloween

Give Portraits Instead of Candy This Halloween

This year, my kids have plans for Halloween that don’t require me to be there. Instead of sitting by my front door, passing out tooth decay and diabetes wrapped in a pretty package (candy), I’m going to give my community portraits instead.

Let’s face it, not only is most Halloween candy unhealthy, it’s down right expensive. This Halloween, I’ll be reducing the amount of candy I buy to give to children and instead will be setting up a strobe and a big parabolic modifier in front of my house to capture portraits of trick-or-treaters in their costumes. The idea came to me last year; however, I procrastinated, and the idea never materialized.

How is this beneficial to me? Well, I had to break it to myself around the time my son was born that life isn’t entirely about me. Crazy, right? I’ll pass out business cards with a link to my website to those I photograph and I’ll host a gallery for a week or so following the Halloween holiday so families can download web-sized images of their kids for free. I’ll gain some extra website traffic and perhaps some exposure to those in my community who may have not been aware of my photographic services. Other than that, I think it’ll be fun, and that’s a win if you ask me.

Give back to your community this Halloween and save a few extra bucks by buying less candy and taking more pictures. 

Dusty Wooddell's picture

Dusty Wooddell is a professional photographer based in the Southwestern United States. Self-proclaimed thinker, opportunity seeker, picky eater, observer of things.

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Headline, Nov 1 - "Local Man's House Completely Covered in Toilet Paper"

It'd be payback for the times when I was a kid that I.... um... never mind.

Been doing this for a few years now, only when the weather cooperates tho, usual snow by then.

Not that I don't think this is a great idea, because I do. And I think giving back to your community is a great thing. Just weird how it mentions saving money a few times in this article, because last time I checked buying some candy is much cheaper than spending hours taking photos and editing them. So I don't really think that saving money should be in this article because it just doesn't make sense. Again, i do like the idea, just the reason doesn't add up to me

You've just gotta lighten up. We both know candy isn't going to bankrupt anyone and that it's fine to donate some time to provide some quick edits for your community if you so choose.

Then you shouldn't even have mentioned the saving some money part if you don't mean it.

ok. Didn't realize I needed to lighten up, simply making a statement. If the article mentions it saving you money but that isn't the case, then why even mention the financial piece? Doesn't make any sense to me. Just state that it is a good thing to do for the community, people will appreciate it and you can have fun with it. Don't mention something that isn't true

What part of the article are you reading that comes off as financial advice? I'm confused. The "save a few extra bucks" part? Tell me how that's an inaccurate statement or how you're construing it as financial advice. Then perhaps re-read the paragraph about how it is beneficial to me. Happy Halloween!

Seems like you need to lighten up. I made a simple comment about the content of the article. I never stated the article was giving financial advice. I made a general statement about how that part of the article doesn't make sense. I don't need to re-read anything, I am entitled to my opinion. My first comment agreed with the article and disagreed with one piece of it that you want to continue to focus on.

Dusty you need to recognize something you said that seems stupid "save some money on candy" - "spend hours giving photography time to the community" - Amanda is right, and your responses don't make you seem friendly, and still don't make you seem right.

You're misquoting me and apparently misunderstanding the point of this article. Nowhere in the article does it state what you've quoted. Thanks for reading though.

Lol. The topic being discussed in this section is quite petty, but it's fun, so I'll jump in.

First off,

"Let’s face it, not only is most Halloween candy unhealthy, it’s down right expensive."

What kind of candies are you buying, man? And how many kilos of it do you need? There's a lot of candies being sold cheap during Halloween, so I can't understand why it's become "down right expensive".


"Give back to your community this Halloween and save a few extra bucks by buying less candy"

I think this part is the one that's being criticised by the others. You might save money by not buying candies, but the money you will be spending for what you're planning to do would probably cost you more, not to mention the extra time and effort you'll be allotting as well.

Also, I don't know about you guys, but for me, giving back to the community means that I'm doing something good for others without expecting anything in return. You said it yourself, by doing this, you're expecting to gain exposure as a photographer (and your photography service) and gain website traffic. Doesn't exactly look like "giving back to the community" to me. It actually looks more like a business strategy (or if we want to be honest - gimmick). Now, giving candies - obviously unhealthy but - would probably fit more as a "giving back to the community" since you are really expecting nothing in return with that.

Again, I don't think anyone is saying that this is a bad idea. However, you don't need make things up just so you can give a reason for what you plan to do. Just say straight up that this is a nice way to gain exposure. Plain and simple.

Yeah and the hours going into photography - editing, uploading, and writing this post - an hours wages would have bought enough candy, and saved money - furthermore it seems like what he really wants to do it try to build his portfolio? These people aren't going to buy images from him! - and it seems really creepy

I think it is a great idea!!! I have done this in the past for a block party on July 4th. But I live in a busy Halloween neighborhood, so I would never try to make a setup because: My one big fear is if a child or parent "trips" on a cable or leans on a backdrop that they thought was a wall, and gets hurt. Literal thousands or kids and parents cruising through seems worrisome. So for the people who want to do this, what kind of insurance would you want to have before trying this.

Great plan, look forward to seeing the results...

Killer idea and the executions great. Would love to give it a try myself but Halloween has not quite reached us to this extent in Australia yet.

Thanks Dominic! It was a lot of fun, and I feel like everyone enjoyed having their portrait taken more than receiving a few pieces of candy

Love all these images! Fantastic job! Looks like everyone had a fun time.

I hope that you get a lot of non store bought costumes. Or shoot without masks, so you can tell which Spiderman or Frozen Elsa you are shooting. The great portraitist Mark Hauser did something like this in Chicago many years ago. I always wanted to but it never got up the gumption. I look as it as more of a social documentary project than a give back to community, drum up business thing..
My neighbor had an adorable pair of twins and she made great twins themed costumes for a few years until the girls decided that being a Disney princess is better.
Good luck!

As a woman I actually think this is a really creepy idea.. Creepy as in kind of sleezy.. NOT as in cool. "Hey can I photograph your child?" "Hey little boy, strike a pose and let me photograph you" - no no no.. it leaves a very bad taste in my mouth..

Your point of view is perverted.

I don't know how on earth you've sexualized a very sweet, community driven idea. Also, what role does your gender play? Such a strange response.

I believe gender is VERY relevant when giving an opinion on how a scenario makes you feel. If you notice, everybody posting that they think it's a good idea is a male (observation) - myself and Amanda both commented that we aren't comfortable with the idea, and we are the only females commenting. Ask a group of people you know if they're comfortable with the idea, without naming a photographer, and see if you notice a difference in the general male, and general female responses.

As a normal person not prone to see perversion at every corner, I think this is a very nice idea. If there is anything sleezy in this, it's the connection you are making between a genuine gesture and its supposed "creepy" aspect. Not cool indeed.

Very strange comment on a number of levels, Sky.

I will say that after viewing the gallery you did do a good job with the photos.. - I still don't like the idea - and I still think it's creepy in an uncomfortable children way - but you executed it well

So you're going to photograph minors without a photo release? And post it publicly without a release? Your home isn't public property so you can't say there is no expectation of privacy. Lots of kids go in groups with no parents or their friends' parents. So you'll be shooting some kids without parental consent. Handing out cards and posting on your website just to make a couple of bucks. Your homeowners insurance won't cover this. Does your pro insurance cover being sued?

I've lived in parts of the world where Halloween was about the only time the local kids got candy. Why can't you give candy and "portraits"?