Monday, October 31, 2011

5 Last Minute Parent Tips for a Stress & Drama Free Halloween Trick or Treating Experience With Kids

Halloween Parenting

If you celebrate Halloween and you have kids, the two variables often equal stress for mom and dad. Right? But, you will find comfort in knowing that you are not the only one with a child who is over stimulated from all the excitement about parties, costumes, jack 'o lantern pumpkin carving, decorating, and other holiday stuff like candy. Combine that with Trick-or-Treating and all the effects of those sugary treats on the shiest, normally sweetest toddler, and what do you get? An out of control kid and unhappy, even grouchy parents.

My brother and I in costumes Mom made for us
Vintage 1962 photo by my Dad

The good news is that it shouldn't and doesn't have to be that way. Don't stress out this year. Instead try these super easy ideas for a calmer, more memorable experience for both you and your children.

Set Out Your Child's Costume First Thing
Whatever you (or your son or daughter) are dressing up as -- a store-bought or homemade costume -- as a mom you'll have more fun yourself and enjoy watching your kids take in all the excitement of the holiday if you get organized before today. Well ahead of trick or treating time, set out the bag or container your child will be using to gather treats. Also, gather all the pieces of the kids' costumes (along with your own if you're dressing up). This includes not only the dress up outfits themselves, but everything you'll need so everyone looks put together: accessories, wigs and hair styling supplies, shoes, makeup, props, etc. 

Special Note: Since it snowed over the weekend on the East Coast, if you live in any region where it's cold or the weather is inclement, be sure everyone dresses appropriately and warmly. Also be super careful walking and driving as sidewalks and roads in these areas are likely to be icy.

Take a Pre-Halloween Nap
You're going to need all the energy you can muster tonight, so indulge yourself in some rest this afternoon, if possible. You don't want to rain (or snow) on your kid's celebration because you are tired, irritable and cranky. Also -- especially if your child normally takes a nap -- make sure he or she is well rested before the big night too. Even if your youngster won't or can't sleep, encourage them to take time out for some quiet time just to relax.

Lay Down Some Guidelines
Clearly go over the basic rules you have about trick or treating and other Halloween celebrations with your child. Before they head out the door, plan out where you will go, how long he can stay out, and also what your children's bedtimes will be. If your child understands what you expect well in advance, there's likely to be less of a struggle as the various stressors of the holiday reveal themselves.

Sit Down for a Relaxed Family Dinner Early Tonight
It's also a good idea to prepare and serve a nutritious but light meal a little earlier than usual that's not rushed. You'll be surprised at how much kids will enjoy a favorite hot soup and some warm bread. The end result: You will all feel energized, ready to don your costumes and revel in some Halloween fun.

Take Lots of Pictures
Don't forget to snap lots of digital photos with your camera or cell phone of the kids in their costumes BEFORE they go outside or get dirty. Definitely don't miss any Kodak moments. Take more pictures than you think you need because thanks to the beauty of today's digital photography you can always delete them later. Years from now, you'll be glad you were a little shutter happy tonight.

These ideas really require just a little effort on your part. Once the holiday is over, thanks to your attention to a few simple strategies, you and your child will have nothing but fun recollections of your Halloween celebration. It's a small price to pay for the memories created that will last your child a lifetime.

Would love for you to add your own thoughts to this discussion, so please leave a comment!

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iPhone Photo by Janis Brett Elspas,

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