When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween.
I used to love Halloween. It was frightening and creepy, but in a good way. Then I had kids. At first it was easy to celebrate because when they were really young, I could just dress them up in a funny pair of pajamas and schlep them to Grandma’s. Boom. Done. See you at Thanksgiving.
But as they got older, they wanted really different, creative costumes and begged me to allow them to go wandering the streets in the dark with their friends. Then they’d come home and want to eat 3 or 400 (approximately) candy bars. I started to hate Halloween.
Now that my kids are grown, I can see things more clearly. Here are some ideas that may help:
- To make imaginative costumes, go retro – cut a hole in a white sheet big enough to fit over your child’s head, cut it up into tatters, plop it on. Then put white make-up on his face with large black circles around his eyes. You’ve got yourself a ghost who can see where he is going! (Full disclosure: I didn’t think of this myself. I Googled “easy Halloween costume” – oh, Google, I love you!)
- When they come home and want to eat the aforementioned 3 to 400 candy bars all at once, and throw a tantrum if you say no, tell them ghosts don’t eat candy. It’s like diarrhea – passes right through them! Seriously, I always allowed my kids to choose 2 or 3 pieces of candy that night and stored the rest away on the promise that I’d let them choose a little bit from the stash every now and again.
- Check the weather forecast. If it’s going to be too cold out for a simple ghost costume, think of some costumes that require layers. What are some good examples, you ask? Oh, just Google it.
- If your kids are afraid of scary masks, noises, and the like, you don’t have to do the traditional “door-to-door” Halloween experience. Skip the trick or treating, stay home, turn off the lamppost, and have a little private party! Invite some of your kids’ more sensitive friends over, make homemade treats, decorate them with orange and black edibles, and consider yourself blessed.
- Finally, if your kids won’t go to bed because they are wound up from all the Halloween hoopla, you may have to push back bedtime just a little. Try to stick to the regular routine but once in bed let them tell you stories about their Halloween fun, or perhaps you could read them an extra favorite book in a calm, relaxed voice. Be firm when it’s time for lights out, but accept that on this night they may be asleep a bit later than usual.
All that candy, costumes, and scary stuff can be a real pain in the pumpkin. But if you don’t take it too seriously, and try to work around it, trust me, you, and they, may find this holiday to be a treat!
Happy Halloween!By Claire Gawinowicz, Certified Parenting Educator