It’s the week of Halloween and children are starting to get very excited about the big day. For them it’s an evening of free candy and fantasy, but for parents, Halloween is a whole lot more work and stress. I have created a checklist to help you keep sane so you can actually enjoy the evening with your children too!
- Give children choice in their costume selection. If they want to go out dressed as a witch but you think they’d be adorable as a duck, hide your disappointment. It’s their day, not yours, so try to roll with it.
- Finalize the entire costume to avoid last minute running around. If you assume you’ll whip together a crown out of cardboard and foil only to discover you don’t have enough on the roll … CRAP! If your daughter wanted to be a princess and she had asked to borrow some of your jewelry, pick the exact items in advance, so you are not faced with discussions about why they can’t wear your great grandmother’s drop pearl earrings they had been envisioning.
- Do you have rain and snow gear ready if the weather turns foul? Discuss how the costume might be modified if they have to wear these items. Hint: Clear rain ponchos reveals the costume underneath. For snow suits, remind your child that a pirate’s sword, eye patch and hat can be worn top of the ski coat and will still look good! But it’s probably a topic they should have some warning on, so you don’t surprise them.
- Manage expectations by discussing in advance the route you plan to walk and how long you’ll be out as well as the actual volume you are willing to let them collect.
- While most of my advice is about advance planning, I suggest you wait till the day of Halloween to buy the candy you plan on handing out. That’s when the retailers are clearing it out on sale.
- Remember, kids want to get out trick-or-treating early. They will be busting with excitement. Plan a simple early supper that is fast to prepare and eat, but loaded with protein because the sugar load is coming!
- Review basic safety:
Kids get excited and chase friends across residential streets and intersections. Stick to the sidewalks and only cross at the intersection once the coast is clear.
Point out how easily it is to trip on long costumes going up and down porch stairs. Show them how to lift their hem.
If they are inattentive with their costume, warn them if they get too close to a burning candle it can potentially ignite their costume.
Don’t eat anything until it’s been inspected by a parent.
If they go out alone with friends, discuss the route they will take and when they will be checking in with you to ensure all is okay.
- Once back home, and post candy inspection it’s consumption time! Be sure you and your child have made a decision together about how much candy is acceptable the night of Halloween and what the over consumption rules are in advance.
- Possession is 9/10ths of the law. If you don’t want your child sneaking items or money from you, then model that respect by not dipping into their candy stores without their permission. My kids were always very generous at sharing.
This year Halloween falls on a Friday so staying up late is easily buffered by sleeping in Saturday morning. However, on a school night – be sure to discuss the entire night’s schedule and leave lots of wind down time to help kids come down off the manic high of trick or treating.