Guide to a Fuss-Free Halloween
Halloween is a polarizing holiday. It seems that most people are either die-hard Halloween fans who subscribe to all things spooky or they are total scrooges (ok, wrong holiday but you get the point). You know who I’m talking about – the people who won’t wear a costume and are careful to keep their home dimly lit on October 31 to deter trick-or-treaters from ringing their doorbell.
I’m personally a big fan of Halloween. The way I see it, it’s a chance for people to really let their freak flag fly. It’s one day a year when they can be the person, or thing, that they really want to be. And especially for kids, that’s a very magical concept.
There’s a way to let things get out of control, but that’s not my style. Or my level of ambition. This is the Moving Mom’s Guide to a fuss-free Halloween.
1. Buy the costume
This mom is not handmaking costumes just so I can say I did it myself. Oh no. I mean, I will manage to piece together some materials if my kiddos select a costume that’s not sold in stores (like my oldest insisting that she wanted to be Lava Girl last year). But if they choose a current character or common animal, I’m going to the local thrift store or Target and buying a costume (on sale, of course).
2. Skip the carving
Now that I’m a parent, my goal is to make sure that Halloween is lots of fun for my little ones without making it too intense. At 4 and 5 years old, they want to be involved but I’m not handing them a knife to carve any pumpkins this year! Last year they seemed unimpressed with watching their dad do all the cutting. This year, I let them loose with kids’ paint and large pumpkins. They were able to use their imaginations to create a custom design all their own. Then I gave them smaller pumpkins and let them do the same thing. But after each brush stroke, we sprinkled glitter on top. The result was a big mess and even bigger piece of beautiful art.
3. Let them eat candy
I know a lot of parents are doing the “switch witch” and other creative concepts to keep their kiddos from eating too much Halloween candy. But I beg of you… let them eat SOME of it! All that dressing up, walking around begging for candy, lugging it from house to house and you don’t even give them the satisfaction of indulging in the sugary goodness of their loot? Shame on you! Because you know you’re diving into those Reese’s pumpkins the second they fall asleep. No need to go crazy and let them nibble treats until their bellies hurt or anything, but consider giving them a little each day or two so they can look back as an adult and have the same warm, chocolatey memories of trick-or-treating that you do!
4. Plan ahead… WAY ahead
You know how Halloween requires a lot of planning and preparations? What would happen if you started planning a year ahead? The day after Halloween, I like to hit up the craft stores, Target, Spirit of Halloween and any other stores that sell seasonal stuff. I load up on crafts for the kids and costumes or accessories for coming years. You’ll never be able to predict what the kids will want to be next year, but basic wigs and things like cat-ear headbands are easy go-tos for kids and parents alike. Just imagine, future you will be so pleased when she finds all of those activities for the kids that were purchased at deep discounts.
5. Know your kids’ limits
Take a realistic view on what will be age-appropriate and doable for your kiddos as far as trick-or-treating. It might be better to take it easy with your toddler and just trick-or-treat at a few houses nearby than attempt to go to the city-wide trunk or treat that sounds super fun, but may include 3,000 of your closest friends packed in like sardines in hour-long lines (that may be a voice of experience talking!) The more you can control the holiday for your littles, the less stress you experience from over-stimulated or scared kiddos. What they don’t know they are missing will not hurt them!
6. Forget the holiday-themed food
If there is one thing that my kids could really care less about it is if their mandarin orange was in the shape of a pumpkin or their hot dog was wrapped up like a mummy on Halloween. I know, I feel that same tinge of guilt and envy when I see perfectly prepared Halloween snacks headed to someone’s preschool classroom or prepared for a play date, but I know my kiddos. And if they are hungry and they see a banana, they won’t care if it looks like a ghost with eye balls and a mouth, they will just care if they can get their little hands on it. So, skip the adorable but time-consuming snacks, and do something for yourself instead.
-By Emily Shedek and Emily Robertson