Halloween with Kids
Halloween. Fun for kids; stressful for parents and nannies. How can you make Halloween fun for your kids without stressing you out?
- Set a goal. Is your primary focus to frighten or entertain? Certainly, both elements should be present (at least to some degree) in any good Halloween celebration, but what is your primary focus? For younger children (i.e., toddlers and early grade schoolers), entertainment should be the primary focus. For older grade schoolers and junior high schoolers, your primary focus may switch from entertaining to frightening. You will need to know your audience well enough to gauge whether that switch is appropriate.
- Set a budget, both for time and for money. How much time and money can you dedicate to your Halloween recognition?
- Engage your kids in the planning of the Halloween celebration. What would they like? Maybe they don’t want all the bells and whistles that you can dream up.
- Rather than purchasing Halloween decorations, create fun craft projects with your kids and make the Halloween decorations yourselves. Using construction paper, magic markers, glitter, scissors, and other craft items, you and your kids can make black cats, witches, cauldrons, ghosts, and a variety of other things that go bump in the night.
- Find foods that are inexpensive, easy to make, and can be repurposed for Halloween use. For example, a bunch of boiled spaghetti noodles in a bowl can feel like “witches’ entrails” to blindfolded kids. Peeled grapes can be “witches’ eyeballs” . . . but peeling grapes can take some time . . . letting gelatin set in round ice cube trays can accomplish the same objective without the extra work. For food that can be seen (as opposed to merely felt), how about “lady finger” sandwiches drizzled with ketchup, a round cake decorated to look like a jack-o-lantern, etc.?
- Tap your community resources. Instead of making your house into a haunted house for this year’s Halloween party, how about taking the party guests to a community haunted house (ensuring, of course, that it is age-appropriate). Or how about a trip to your local pumpkin patch?
- Host a movie night rather than go all-out on a haunted house. Have kids over for an age-appropriate Halloween movie.
Regardless of what activity you choose, make sure that you specify your expectations, right up front, to all kids attending your Halloween recognition. Should the kids have eaten dinner before they all get together? Is there a limit to how much candy the kids will be allowed to eat while in your home or at your activity? Is coming in costume expected? What time will the activity end? Are parents invited to the activity? How will the kids get back to their own homes?
By following these tips, you and your kids should have a great Halloween!
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