Out of all the special holidays in a year, children look forward to Halloween and Christmas the most. But they look forward to these events for a different reason. They see Christmas as a time of receiving gifts. On the other hand, Halloween is equated to dressing up and receiving candies. But you may need a different approach to Halloween activities for toddlers or the younger children who will experience their first Halloween.
How do we let them enjoy the holiday without stressing them too much?
The celebration of Halloween dates back to the rituals of the Celtic culture of lighting bonfires and wearing costumes to ward off ghosts. From an adult’s perspective, Halloween begins a long weekend for resting, frolicking, and enjoying the chilly fall weather. It can also be a weekend for consecutive parties. But Halloween is also for the children as much as it is for adults. Several neighborhoods organize trick or treat activities to let the children in the community dress up and enjoy the festival.
This spooky holiday is marked by scary and jumpy movies, creative costumes, and festivities that may not be appropriate for children. But, as parents, there are several measures that you can take to make your kid’s first Halloween memorable and safe.
How to Prepare for Your Kid’s First Halloween
Preparing for the firsts can be a daunting task. There are a lot of things to consider and decide on, and overthinking can derail an entire plan. Getting ready for Halloween celebration requires a tad more attention than other holidays because of the scary decorations and overall spooky theme of the celebration. If you want to enjoy your child’s first Halloween celebration, we offer you steps and reminders on what to do and what not to do.
Answer the Halloween Whats and Whys
Explaining the holiday and its traditions is crucial for children because of the drastic changes in the environment when Halloween nears. The sudden change in the environment may scare the children and they may not like celebrating the holiday at all. You can choose to explain the tradition through animated movies or Halloween books that will hook their attention. Also, do not forget to explain the reason why there are frightening decorations around. Doing these things are also crucial for childhood development since they are still in their formative years and need guidance to understand their environment.
Talking to them about the festivities lets them feel safe regarding the entire holiday. Once you let them understand that the movies, decors, and costumes are fictional, they will surely enjoy the activities and look forward to the next year’s festivities.
But if your child is still a baby, the best thing you can do is to expose them to Halloween-related media materials. There are several kid cartoons that have Halloween special episodes. You can let your child watch these episodes or movies to familiarize some Halloween characters.
Be Sensitive to Your Child’s Recent Experiences
As your neighborhood fills with different Halloween decors, be mindful of your child’s recent experiences. Some decorations may remind them of painful experiences that will lead them to feel more scared than excited about the holiday. Bloody costumes may remind them of recent injuries or an incident when they saw someone get hurt. Once you know these possible triggers, you have an idea of how to decorate your house and possible Halloween costumes.
Of course, it is impossible to ask your neighbors what and what not to hang as decorations for the sake of your child. However, you can walk through your neighborhood ahead of time and map out a route that will be safe for your child. In this way, you and your child will have an exciting and safe trick or treat or walk around the community.
Being mindful of their triggers, even when it comes to costumes and decors, is especially important because children easily absorb visual information. These experiences may be well etched up until adulthood. It’s because triggers are not limited to personal experiences, so also look out for characters in movies, television, and books that don’t sit right with them. Remember that Halloween celebrations are a hodgepodge of different characters and costumes that may not be suitable for everyone’s taste.
Set the Halloween Theme in Your House
Once they know what Halloween is all about, ask your children how they want to decorate your house. Involve them in the selection and making of the decors. It is especially important to know what they want so they will feel comfortable with the decorations inside the house. Your taste in Halloween decorations may be too much for your children.
Creating Halloween decorations days can also be a bonding moment between you and your children. Make sure to choose art projects or crafts with little ones that are safe and enjoyable. Pumpkin carving is a must-have activity during this season but it might be safe for the children. You can let your child choose the design for the carving or you can let them carve something with a lighter material. But, always, always, always keep an eye on your children.
Go All-out On The Costumes
Aside from asking your child what to decorate the house, do not forget to ask them what they want to dress up as. The costumes must be what they want and what they are comfortable in. Creating the costume together is also an enjoyable experience for the entire family. Matching family Halloween costumes is a hit for the past years. You might want to look up some matching family costume ideas. Model your costumes around your neighborhood. If there are kid-friendly halloween parties around, don’t forget to sign up for an extra good time for your children.
Dressing up with your children for Halloween parties provides a sense of security within your child. Seeing you transform into a character assures your child that the other people wearing costumes are someone’s mothers, fathers, and siblings.
Involve the Whole Family
The celebration of Halloween does not discriminate against age. There are countless Halloween party ideas for all ages. Thus, it is easy to attend and prepare activities fit for the entire family. When the child sees the enthusiasm and excitement of the adults of the family to celebrate, then, surely, they will also look forward to the activities and celebrations. Involving the entire family for these halloween festivities also lessens the apprehension of the kid for their first halloween experience. The fear from the scary decorations and mood will be balanced out by the involvement of the family.
Also, it is impossible not to get involved in all the Halloween activities when you have the usual parenting duties. As an adult, you need to dress them in their costumes and make sure that every piece of clothing or material stays in place. You also need to check their sugar intake after a winding trick or treat—lest you want to deal with a running or jumpy child at the dead of the night.
There are also post-Halloween party activities that everyone in the family needs to attend to, such as washing up and following the child’s sleeping schedule. Everything becomes more enjoyable when each member of the family is involved and enjoying it.
1. Do you take your infant trick or treating?
A general rule of thumb dictates that it is not ideal to bring infants for trick or treating. There are several reasons behind this dictate. One, the weather may be too chilly for the child and may get them sick. Second, there’s a high possibility that they will not enjoy the treats that they will receive. If you really want to get them involved in trick or treating, you can dress them up and let them hand over the treats for the other children enjoying the activity.
2. What are safe trick or treat treats for babies or infants?
If you are attending a Halloween party hosted by a family with an infant, you may want to do away from bringing candies and extra sweet treats for the child. Soft biscuits, yogurts, juices, and soft fruits are the perfect Halloween treats for the child.
3. How do you celebrate a Halloween in the middle of a pandemic?
Celebrating outdoors and trick or treating is definitely off the list on how to celebrate Halloween in the middle of a global pandemic. Because of this unfortunate event, Halloween events organizers needed to improvise. Some communities opted to decorate their cars with Halloween-themed decors and parade around the neighborhood. Other than that, you still have the freedom to decorate your own backyard with all the Halloween trinkets and decors that you want. Virtual Halloween parties through several online platforms are also available.
4. What age should a child go trick or treating?
The ideal age of a child for them to go trick or treating is around three years old or when the child can walk on their own properly. Given that they can already walk on their own, make sure to keep a close eye on your child to keep them away from trouble. They may also wander away and into crowds, so make sure that you have your eyes on them at all times.