Any holiday offers fertile ground for fostering positive family togetherness and warm memory making. Halloween, with its delightfully spooky fun, can be an especially exciting time for young children. Whatever and however you celebrate your family-friendly Halloween, it is important to include rituals and traditions.
To you, Halloween may pale in comparison to higher profile, family-oriented holidays coming up later this fall and winter, but to your children, it makes a big difference to play up this spirited holiday. Yet, there’s more to conjuring a family-friendly Halloween than creative costume-making and joyful autumnal activities like hayrides and pumpkin picking.
Make room to incorporate new traditions into your family routine. Pay attention to the activities that especially capture your children’s attention and turn them into annual events. Read on for five tips that go beyond the usual trick-or-treating or pumpkin-carving routines.
5 memory-making Halloween activities:
1. Create a freaky fashion show.
Who says we all need to choose only one costume for Halloween? Play up the most fun part of Halloween by staging a quick “fashion show” for you and your children. Gather costumes from years past, purchase a few cheap masks from a Halloween store, or even toss in some of your own clothing and encourage your child to get creative. Remember: Costumes don’t need to be store bought. For sure, the pillowcase that turns your child into a ghost, the yarn tail you sew on pink tights to start a bunny outfit, or the plaid shirt and straw hat that transform your boy or girl into a scarecrow makes a much longer lasting impression than a costume taken out of a box. Perhaps it’s because a parent made it.
Take turns parading down a pretend fashion “runway” in your living room or hallway in different costumes. Your child will know you are in the spirit of the holiday if you don a mask, a baseball cap, a complete costume, or a strange combination of clothing just to join in the fun.
2. Forget the candy.
Your little sugar fiends may already be fantasizing about the candy bars, gummy worms, or other sweet treats they’ll collect on Halloween. But, consider making memories with healthier options. Take an afternoon before Halloween to whip up candy apples. Before it gets a Halloween face, separate the seeds from the innards of a pumpkin to cook and salt or season with your children’s favorite spices. Pumpkin seeds are much more fun to eat when you have prepared them at home in a skillet, oven, or microwave. Check online for cooking directions.
3. Make a Halloween haven.
If you enjoy decking out your front yard or home for Halloween, encourage your child to throw in some ideas. When you turn your yard into a graveyard, ask them to help place decorations they choose. Younger children can adorn bushes with cobwebs or draw pictures to hang up in the windows. Pack some of their works of art to use the next time Halloween rolls around. In years’ time, they’ll look back and recall memories from other Halloweens again and again.
4. Host a history lesson.
How did Halloween get started? Explain the history and meaning of this holiday. Search “History of Halloween” online. Exploring the holiday’s eclectic roots can lead to new discoveries.
You can also gesture back to your own childhood Halloween memories. Rent an age-appropriate Halloween movie that you loved as a child. Cuddle up on the couch a few days before or on the day of Halloween.
5. Make it a long-lasting holiday.
Store extra Halloween candy they may have collected from “trick or treating” or cookies you have baked in a container in the freezer to pack in lunches or for snacks. This also helps slow down the post-trick-or-treat frenzy.
Remember, no matter what family-friendly Halloween activities you choose, repetition is fundamental to building tradition. Any holiday provides the perfect excuse to do so.
For more parent-child bonding tips — including suggestions for birthdays, other holidays and special occasions, visit Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day.