Fall is here and it’s time for pumpkins, corn mazes, and every child’s favorite fall celebration – Halloween! As soon as the calendar hits October, the Halloween anticipation starts building in my house. The Together CountsTM program is all about balance, and what better holiday to practice this than Halloween? The kids start obsessing over costume choices, nagging about pumpkin carving, dreaming up tricks and begging for treats from the get-go! Luckily for them, our family already has a great plan for having a safe and happy Halloween. Here are some things we do each year to make sure our Halloween is great from start to finish.
1) Start or continue a tradition. When our oldest children were babies, my cousin and I got them together to pass out candy in their adorable costumes. The next year, they even trick-or-treated a little. Soon, we were adding siblings to the mix. This Halloween will mark our 10th year trick-or-treating with my cousins and their kids – there are now seven kids ages 1-9 in our crew. It’s something the kids and adults look forward to each year. We not only have the fun of Halloween, but a whole night of pizza, treats, and cousin fun together. I encourage you to think about a tradition that will help make each Halloween perfect for your family.
2) Have a “safety talk.” Set down some geographical boundaries and safety rules for kids who are old enough to trick-or-treat without parents (but make sure they have a buddy!) Instruct them never to enter someone’s house without an adult, establish a return time, and maybe send a cell phone or walkie-talkie with them. Make sure they know your rules before you send them out on their own.
3) Tag your kiddos with some I.D. It’s easy to get lost in a costumed crowd – so find somewhere on your small childrens’ costumes to attach an I.D. Maybe a paper bracelet with mom or dad’s cell phone number, or even order a temporary tattoo with identification info (these will be useful for any trip to a crowded amusement park or fair as well). Additionally, don’t allow older kids to chaperone younger kids. Younger ones should be chaperoned by an adult at all times.
4) Be visible after dark. Halloween takes place largely in the dark, so do some things to make your children visible. Have them wear glow bracelets or carry glow sticks or flashlights. Also, if they have costume items such as masks that will inhibit their ability to see at night, make sure they remove them before crossing streets so they can see if cars are coming.
5) Establish a limit on goodies. After trick-or-treating, most kids are ready to dive into their candy stash, so make sure and set limits on how much they can consume before you head out. I have my kids sort through their stash and pick out three pieces to eat that evening. Over the next few days, we keep a limit-per-day in place to ensure their treats are balanced around mealtimes.
The last thing you can do to really make Halloween special for your kids – play along! Dress up in a costume yourself, go through the spooky neighbor’s haunted backyard with them, and welcome their friends into your home on this special night. After all, the best memories are made by getting in on the action – don’t ride the bench this Halloween.
What are your family’s favorite Halloween traditions? I’d love to hear them in the comments!
For more Halloween Fun, check out these additional Together CountsTM resources:
Jenny Rapson is a writer and social media project manager who lives in southwest Ohio with her husband of thirteen years and their three great kiddos. When she’s not cutting up grapes for her toddler or serving as referee for her school-agers, she co-authors the funniest parenting and lifestyle blog ever (written by first cousins, that is) over at Mommin’ It Up with her cousin Emily Berry.