As if moms needed another “Mommy Wars” battle in 2020, Halloween is brewing disagreements on what is safe and what is risky. The important takeaway is that all moms are coming from a place of love and we all are just trying to keep our children safe and happy.
The CDC released guidelines placing various Halloween activities in either a lower, moderate or high risk category. And unfortunately, to no one’s surprise, traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is higher risk. Also unfortunately, this running from door to door is my kids’ favorite part of Halloween. It’s not even about the candy, as each year they pick out maybe 20 pieces and donate the rest and of those 20 pieces remaining, maybe half get tossed out in December. So it saddens me that my kiddos won’t be engaging in one activity that they so look forward to each year. In my attempt to not have to cancel Halloween this year, I’ve been looking around for some ideas to still make Halloween special for my kids this year and thought I would share them here.
While I like to think I have always given my children free-reign over their costume choices, admittedly there were several litmus tests the costumes had to pass. I had to consider if the costume weather appropriate/warm enough for Oct. 31? Could my child safely walk in the costume (sorry about the ax on the mermaid tail)? No to mention costumes had to adhere to the school’s rules which meant nothing violent/bloody and no masks obstructing the face (oh the irony!), and no weapons.
Well, guess what? This year anything goes. . . call it mom guilt, but I didn’t blink when my kiddo asked for $40 web-shooters to accessorize his Spiderman costume. I didn’t rush my daughter along as she made me navigate shop after Etsy shop looking for the perfect angel halo, and I didn’t skip a beat when that search didn’t result in an *acceptable* halo. And I certainly didn’t even pause before I offered to make one for her and went material hunting online to create what she was envisioning. Additionally, the too-thin/cold, flowy, tripping-hazard of a dress this angel picked out is just fine for the festivities we have planned at home. So there WILL be costumes and each kiddo will be especially proud to wear theirs this year.
Virtual Costume Show
So now, if like me you just spent much more time and money on costumes than you ever thought you would, we need a venue to show off these costumes! Some have talked about organizing outdoor socially distanced parades, but ask any teacher, that getting kids to walk in some order 6 feet apart from each other will be a near-impossible feat. So why not set up a virtual fashion show? Each kid can be spotlighted to show off her costume and explain why they chose their costume. And the best part? Grandparents and extended family living afar can still join the festivities!
This year, I brought home some decorating supplies and my kids happily spent the entire weekend decorating and then iterating their decorations to add detail and improve their designs. We’re always told “it’s the journey not the destination” and this rings especially true for kiddos and decorating. While they certainly enjoy the end result, the process brings them far more giggles and laughs. Their eco-friendlier decorations included happily tied together yarn spiderwebs, cut and glued spiders, bats and jack-o-lanterns, and stuffed and dressed scarecrows. Next weekend we will go pick out our pumpkins and a week or so before Halloween we will carve them.
My daughter also started searching the internet for healthier Halloween food and snack ideas and they will get to spend a few days creating and enjoying those treats. It gives them something fun to look forward to as well as some ownership in finding healthy snacks they want to eat, putting items on the grocery list and then preparing their own snacks.
Halloween “Easter-egg hunt”
Each year for Easter I stuff and hide eggs for each kiddo and they LOVE hunting for them and then revealing what’s inside!
When my eldest was in pre-school, I started a new tradition for my candy-meh kids. I purchase a small lego kit for each child, and then have about 15 large plastic eggs (that I reuse every year) per child. NOTE: Each child is assigned one color, so s/he has 15 of the same colored eggs. I put a bunch of legos in each egg and hide them around the house and yard. Once each kid finds all 15 eggs, they get the box with the instructions (and any pieces that didn’t fit into the eggs) and mom and dad get at least an hour of peace while the three kids happily build their respective sets.
I have read that some folks plan to leave treats out on their driveways for kiddos to collect, but the jury is still out if this works/is safe in more high traffic/urban areas. And for my kids at least, it’s less about the candy and more about the decorating, the costumes, the social interactions and just having an afternoon and evening devoted to fun.
However you choose to celebrate Halloween this year, I wish you safety, laughter, and a happily memorable day. Stay Safe!