Tips for a Fun, Safe Halloween with Young Children 1

Halloween is such a fun holiday for the whole family that we look forward to every year. To make it truly fun for each person in the family, in our experience honoring your child’s personality and preferences can make all the difference between happiness and melt downs for all concerned. Here are tips for a happy holiday while bearing in mind what works best for each member of your family.


Celebrate with Trick or Treating, Parade, or Whatever Suits Your Family

  • Find a fun, safe setting appropriate for young children for trick or treating in the environment that is best for your family. Think about celebrating in the ways that suit each of your children’s individual natures.

  • Two brothers dressed in super hero costumesIf you hand out candy, some children will love meeting trick or treaters at the door, while a shy child will prefer a quiet activity.

  • If your child has an early bedtime, look for a daytime parade, trick or treat or other early event, often sponsored by community, rec center, school or mall. Don’t feel the need to change your young toddler’s schedule.

  • Visit a pumpkin patch and enjoy a hayride, corn maze, pony rides, and other fall festivities. Check out the offerings and prices at your local pumpkin patches. (As Hint Mama shares in her blog, it can be more expensive to buy a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch compared to a grocery store.)

  • Be sensitive about loud sounds or smells that older kids and teens think are funny, especially if your child has sensory issues. Or if they get scared by some spooky decorations or activities, move on to a different area.


Plan for the Reality of Plentiful Candy

  • Plan how you’ll handle giving your children candy in moderation, and how you will control it so as not to overdo their sugar intake. Remember to brush teeth thoroughly after candy time.

  • Give healthy regular meals during that day to avoid starting the celebration hungry.

  • Make sure any candy collected is factory sealed unless you know the family who gave it. We set this as our family rule.

  • Consider donating excess candy afterwards, many schools and dental offices collect candy after Halloween.

  • Bake cookies for the holidays, using fun cookie cutters or stampers and colored sprinkles. If you’re not a baking type, buy the cookie dough pre-made in the grocery store.


Find the Right Costume or Not – Whatever Is Best for Your Child

  • Be creative with costumes, especially if you want to avoid spending lots of money on a once a year outfit. For example a cowboy outfit built around jeans and a plaid shirt with a red bandana and hat, or a princess or actress built around a pretty party dress and a fake tiara or crown.

  • Look for used costumes at thrift stores, through your parent groups or friends.

  • Aim for costumes that are easy to move in and watch the length so that the child doesn’t trip. Avoid costume masks or pieces that cover the mouth, especially in young children.

  • Be flexible if your child doesn’t feel comfortable. It’s not uncommon for young children to enjoy Halloween but be nervous or uncomfortable about wearing a costume.


Decorating with Pumpkins, Arts and Crafts and More…

  • Carve or decorate pumpkins – alternatives to carving are using washable markers, stickers, and sparkle glue.

  • Make some Halloween or fall harvest style crafts and decorate your front door and entryway.  Use orange construction paper to make pumpkins, or, for more elaborate ideas, hop onto Pinterest.

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