By Sarah Lyons
Halloween means costumes, pumpkin carving, and trick-or-treating. Traditions create lasting memories and something to look forward to each year. Halloween is a perfect time to start some new traditions with your kids. Try some of these ideas!
Ready Set Decorate
Before you can go trick-or-treating, everyone will need a costume, obviously. Have some fun and create coordinating costumes for the whole family, or give your child permission to make their own costume with things around the house. Since the kids will need something to collect all that candy in, try decorating your own bucket, bag, or pillowcase to trick-or-treating. Kids could use the same one in the future and enjoy looking back on what they created when they were younger or make a new one each year.
Prepare for trick-or-treaters by setting up a spooky atmosphere. Get the kids involved in decorating both the inside and outside of the house before Halloween. Make a scarecrow, change the lightbulbs to purple or orange, and hang up homemade or store-bought decorations near your door.
Pumpkins are a symbol of Halloween and fall, but before you buy your pumpkins from the store, try visiting a local pumpkin patch. Many will have apple cider, fall treats, corn mazes, hayrack rides, a nice variety of pumpkin styles and sizes, and more. Once you have your pumpkins picked out and it is time to do the carving, make things more interesting by coming up with an original theme each year. Some ideas may include sports, cartoon characters, animals, words, or traditional spooky faces. Many ideas and templates can be found online to get you started.
Fun and games
Play Halloween-themed music while you carve your pumpkins, bob for apples, and create some spooky treats such as mummy hot dogs, witch finger pretzels, pumpkin shaped pizza, or caramel apples. Try using squash or small pumpkins to bowl, use toilet paper to make friends and family into mummies, or play pin the hat on the witch. Whether you invite friends over for a party or add some fun to your family time, your kids are sure to remember the extra effort you added to make the holiday special.
A spooky story
Kids love a spooky story. Parents can choose age-appropriate movies or books to get their kids in the mood for Halloween. Make up your own stories and share them by candlelight. You can host a spooky movie sleepover for your family or allow kids to invite a few friends over to celebrate.
Parents can use the holiday as an opportunity to give back to the community. Try participating in a trunk-or-treat in the area. Each participant decorates the trunk of their car and hands out candy to families who attend.
You could also do a “trick-or-treat for hunger” on or around Halloween. Go door-to-door and ask for nonperishable food donations to give to a local food pantry. Many families also participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project by offering allergen-free treats or small toys so that kids with food allergies can safely participate in Halloween activities. Visit www.foodallergy.org for more information on the Teal Pumpkin Project.
Family traditions are easy to start and worthwhile to continue. As your children grow, they may not remember everything you hope they will, but the traditions that you return to year after year will create lasting memories they’ll treasure for years to come.