When witches go riding,
And black cats are seen,
The moon laughs and whispers,
Tis near – Halloween.
Like everything else this year Halloween 2020 will be like no other. No parties, no trick or treating, no bonfires. But fear not, we can still make this popular tradition fun for our children. This can start in the days leading up to Halloween night.
Spend some time making decorations. Pull out the paper, paints and glitter and get creative. Displaying the witches, spiders and bats that your children create around the house will build their anticipation and excitement.
Carve out some pumpkins. Children love to create funny and spooky faces on their pumpkins. Draw the face on the pumpkin with a marker. Cut a circle out of the top of the pumpkin and cut around the shape of the face you have drawn. You will need a sharp knife to do this part so an adult must always do this. Once the cutting is done let the children get messy spooning out the inside of the pumpkin. Have a bucket ready and have lots of newspaper on hand to protect the floor – better yet do it outside if it’s dry. Once the pumpkin is carved out fully put a battery operated candle inside it and enjoy when it gets dark.
Make your own treats. Remember that most children love to help us out in the kitchen, especially if we are making something nice. Making your own treats means that you are in control of what your child is eating and can limit the amount of sugar they get.
Get the whole family to dress up for fun. Face painting can add extra laughs as children squeal in delight at how funny mum or dad looks. Make sure the face paint you use is non toxic and has the CE mark. You will get some great face painting ideas by looking on the internet. Take care not to paint anything too scary as it might frighten younger children.
Play traditional games such as bob the apple, wrap the mummy, pass the parcel and snap apple. The whole family will have fun playing these games. Sit around the fire in candle light and tell spooky stories. Make sure they are age appropriate. When younger children are gone to bed have another round of storytelling with older children and step up the scare factor a little!
Finally, don’t forget to capture all this on camera. Capturing happy memories has never been more important. Your little ones will love looking back on all the fun they had.
Top Tip for a safe Halloween
- Use non toxic face paint or make up. Test on a small area of your child’s skin before Halloween to make sure there are no reactions.
- Take care with candles. While their glow is lovely and they can really add to the spooky effect, they are a major fire hazard. Consider using battery operated candles as an alternative.
- Be mindful of costumes. Always supervise children dressed in costumes. Make sure they are not too long so that children don’t trip or fall. When making homemade costumes avoid using materials such as plastic which is extremely flammable. If buying costumes, look for the CE mark before purchasing.
- Make sure your children eat a decent meal before the Halloween fun begins. They will be less likely to overload on treats. Consider having some non edible goodies such as stickers, colors and temporary tattoos. Remember hard sweets, popcorn, chewing gum and nuts are choking hazards for young children.
- Check on elderly or vulnerable family and neighbours. Halloween can be an anxious time especially if you live alone. Explain to your children why you are doing this, it will help instill a sense of empathy and compassion in them.
- Make sure your pets are in a safe place. Halloween can also be an anxious time for pets.
This article was contributed by Incredible Years Limerick, a member of Parenting Limerick. Parenting Limerick is a network of parenting and family support organisations.