Pumpkins and lanterns are sure to be present on front porches! Wooden cutouts of witches on brooms, ghosts, goblins and black cats on stakes will be the norm in many front yards! This is a common scene in most neighborhoods when Halloween is near. Everyone is excited and planning for the only day where indulging in a ridiculous amount of candy is not frowned upon.
In getting ready for one of the most fun holidays for children, there are many things we, as parents, must take into consideration.
Discuss what to expect on Halloween.
Halloween can be overwhelming for many children. From seeing people walking around in blood soaked costumes, to having strangers jump out in an attempt to frighten, they are bound to see some things that quite frankly, may not be age appropriate. It’s a great idea to have a conversation about the reality of the things you may come across.
My 9 year old understands that some things are meant to be spooky and terrifying but my 2 and 4 year old are definitely not intrigued with being scared to the point of tears. They are surely too young to understand the “just” of the holiday but we try our best to demonstrate to them the difference between “real” and “fake”.
In preparation for Halloween, My husband sits down with this old mask we’ve had since my oldest was 3. He puts the mask on to show them how “scary” he looks, then he takes it off to show that it’s just Daddy underneath. This has helped them to learn the difference between what’s reality and what’s not. By no means does this keep them from screaming when something scares them, but when we tell them it’s just a costume, they remember what daddy showed them and tend to calm down more easily.
Let your children explore costume options.
This is one of the things many of us look forward to! From Spirit Halloween, my personal favorite, to Party City, we check out multiple stores and peek at all the options! I get sentimental when my littles are trying on various costumes. From Elmo to Paw Patrol picks, I’m usually snapping pictures like there’s no tomorrow! One thing I learned last year is to let my kids pick their costumes according to their likes and personalities!
We can often get caught up in wanting the gang to match or trying to sway them towards what we like for them. Forcing our ideas on to them for something so unimportant as a costume can take the fun out of the holiday, while also making them believe that something is somehow wrong with what they like.
Unless the costume choice is truly inappropriate for their age, let your littles run free with their creativity! Something as small as picking out Halloween costumes will shape how comfortable they are with voicing their likes and dislikes in the future.
Discuss safety and trick or treating rules.
There is nothing worse than trying to explain all things “safety” 30 minutes before heading out the door to trick or treat! The kids are so eager to get to it that what you’re saying is going in one ear and out the other. The safety of our children is of the utmost importance, so in the weeks leading up to Halloween, be sure to discuss the do’s and don’t s when taking part in the festivities.
Make sure the kids know to do the following:
- Watch out for cars backing out of driveways.
- Only cross the street at cross walks.
- Look both ways before crossing the street.
- Make eye contact with drivers to be sure they see you.
- For older children, trick or treat in groups of 3 or more.
- Only trick or treat in familiar places.
- Bring flashlights or wear reflective tape to increase visibility.
- Do not eat any candy until it’s been inspected by a parent.
According to a CNN study, one in 13 children, under the age of 18 in the United States, has food allergies. Many young children are also at risk for choking on hard candies and gum. Making sure candy is safe to eat is one of the most important rules we should all remember!
Have a plan to prepare for the sugar rush.
With many counties having designated trick or treating times, making sure your kids eat dinner is often hard. Regardless to the time constraint, being sure everyone eats dinner before trick or treating is a must! You don’t want your child’s appetite ruined by the consumption of so much candy, nor do you want your youngest throwing tantrums because you’re trying to get them to eat dinner while looking at a bucket full of every candy type known to man.
My family tends to keep it simple most Halloweens. We order some pizza and wings and let the kids indulge in that. They are eager to eat it because it’s one of their favs and they feel like it adds to the excitement of the holiday. Once they’ve eaten a slice or two, we head out to partake in the Halloween fun!
Incorporate family traditions.
One of our Halloween traditions is to watch one of my favorite movies! Once we come from trick or treating, shower and change into our pajamas, everyone sits in front of the television to watch Hocus Pocus! It’s a movie I watched as a child and my children have grown to love it! I believe incorporating family traditions into the holidays helps to make the holiday your own and give your children something to hold on to!
Halloween is one of the most exciting holidays! Preparation helps to make it run smoothly and remain a favorite in the family for years to come!
Happy Halloween Ya’ll!!!
(This is a blog I wrote for thismamawines.com earlier this month.)