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Mom's Must-haves: It's scary how great Spirit Halloween is

I'm the senior site editor at SheKnows.com.

Scary dolls, awesome charities and I'm going nuts!

Wondering what the women behind SheKnows Parenting are obsessed with? Introducing Mom's Must-haves, a column that gives you an inside look at what the kids are playing with and what our editors can't live without.

Spirit Halloween scared me to pieces and then warmed my heart with their awesome charity work

Scary dolls, awesome charities and I'm going nuts!

I adore Halloween. I love decorating my house, dressing up my kids and eating handing out candy to children. And I also adore Spirit Halloween stores, not only because they are super fun to visit to get in the Halloween spirit, but also because of their amazing Spirit Of Children charity, which brings fun and charity to kids in hospitals and at Halloween all year long. All Halloween season, Spirit collects donations and hosts Halloween celebrations in children's hospitals throughout the country. In addition to parties, they have also raised money to purchase things like laptops and educational toys designed specifically for children with physical challenges. Donations are accepted in stores until Nov. 1 and online here all year-round. Lauren Hann, Spirit Of Children project manager, had this to say:

"The Child Life Departments in our partner hospitals use the funding we provide for a myriad of tools and resources to improve the quality of life for the pediatric patients and their families during their hospital stay including distraction toys to cope with stressful treatments, medical education dolls, equipment and toys designed specifically for children with physical challenges, music therapy and rehabilitative art programs, and much more."

It's so wonderful that hospitalized kids can also enjoy Halloween, and my own kids are currently terrified of these hilariously creepy animatronic dolls Spirit sent my way. The roaming antique doll that utters spooky phrases and looks like she is floating, the Decrepitrudy animated doll who wants to play with you forever and the evil rag doll who is sewing her own mouth shut. I cannot wait for Halloween night and for all the kids who darken my doorway.

Books that keep kids busy

Scary dolls, awesome charities and I'm going nuts!

Photo credit: DK Books

I am such a fan of DK Books, and one of the best things about them is that they are fun for adults to read too. Now, I know some of you with older kids like I have think there is no point in reading to kids when they are reading on their own, but some of the best conversations I have had with my own kids are by reading something together with them. DK Books have awesome facts, gorgeous illustrations and can provoke many conversations between you and your kids, even if they are a little too big to sit on your lap.

TGIT — That's my mom time

Thursday nights are my me time, where I get to curl up with Shondaland and watch all my stories. As much as I love Scandal, I am so into How To Get Away With Murder and the amazingly gorgeous Viola Davis. Shonda Rhimes creates smart TV for smart viewers with smart story lines that are addictive and fun and she has made me adore my Thursday nights after the kids are asleep.

Nuts that aren't nuts

Scary dolls, awesome charities and I'm going nuts!

Photo credit Nuts.com

I received a gigantic box from a company called Nuts.com that sent me everything they make except nuts. Yummy gummy pumpkins, Halloween jelly beans, yogurt pretzels, pumpkin seeds — this place has it all, especially for those parents out there who want to give their kids more healthy treats other than fun-sized products. They also sell some more unhealthy items, so I may have to do some of my Christmas shopping there.

Gone Girl

When you are reading this, I will be settling in with a giant tub of popcorn and some Junior Mints for the most anticipated movie of the year. I have loved Gillian Flynn forever and I am beyond excited to see the big-screen adaptation of her un-put-downable book. Will you also be going to see it? Let me know in the comments so we can discuss it!

More Mom's Must-haves

Mom's Must-haves: Go big or go home

The writer received the Spirit Halloween dolls, DK Books and Nuts.com items from the respective brands so that she could try out the products. All opinions expressed in the article are based on the reviewer's own assessments of the products.

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