Halloween is here and parents are asking what the best way to approach trick or treating with our kids.
This year, adults are vaccinated. Kids are used to masking. We understand the virus better and how it is and is not transmitted.
This year, more places are going to be able to pull off a Coivd-friendly Halloween, but it’s still going to be different than it has in the past.
I’m not going to focus on what your Halloween activities should or should not be here, we’re a worldwide community and what’s safe and manageable for my family here in the middle of the Canadian bush and what’s safe and manageable for your family in New York or Toronto or Switzerland or Australia is obviously going to be different.
What I want to focus on is solidifying your plans, whatever those are making a contingency plan and communicating that plan to your children in a clear way so that they understand it, they’re on board with it, and there’s no surprises or disappointments on Halloween night.
Decide what you are going to be doing.
Are you going to a Halloween party with the families in your bubble?
Are you doing an outdoor candy hun? Those of you who live in climates where you don’t have to wear a snowsuit under your costume have that advantage and option!
Are you doing an indoor candy hunt? I know here we have a community candy hunt happening in an adjacent community where they’re going to decorate a community centre hall and it’s indoors but everyone will be masked and screened before entering.
Are you going back to good old trick or treating door to door?
What is Halloween going to look like for you this year? Figure it out.
Communicate those plans to your kids.
Communicate what you will be doing with your kids, so they can understand.
Personally, I like to use narratives to explain these larger issues to my kids even though my oldest is almost 8 he still prefers having big information presented to him in the form of a story.
The important thing with social stories is to write them in the first person, not the third.
It’s not like “Emma and Juan are excited for Halloween!” it’s “I’m excited for Halloween!”
Write it from their perspective, not from yours and keep it very instruction manual.
I’m excited for Halloween.
I’m going to wear my butterfly costume to school on Friday. I
’m going to have a class party at school. Halloween is on Sunday, and on Sunday I’m going to wear my princess costume to go Trick or Treating.
While I’m trick or treating I will hold Mom or Dad’s hand while we’re walking.
It will be dark out so I’m going to wear a glow stick around my neck to make sure cars can see me. I have to makes sure I’m walking at the side of the road.
When I go up to a door I have to put on my mask, and Dad will spray my hands with sanitizer. I can use my princess wand to knock on the door.
When they answer the door I have to say “trick or treat!” really loudly and hold out my bag.
After they give me candy, I say “Thank you!” and then I go back to Dad, who will spray my hands again.
Once we’re away from the house I can take my mask off.
If nobody answers the door, I can count to 10 hippopotamus and then go back to Dad.” etc.
Very simple, but very clear instructions.
Write up whatever applies to you, feel free to steal that wording if it fits, and then get some pictures to put with it.
You can do that using just Google images or take actual pictures of your kids or just draw stick figures or whatever!
Doesn’t have to be fancy!
Then read them the story over and over.
This really helps to prep children for the expectations, and since they get the exact same instructions. It’s easier for them to remember.
After you read it you can ask if they have any questions and pre-empt anything that’s unclear or any expectations they have that won’t be fulfilled.
Have a contingency plan.
I failed in this last year because I was so confident in our ability to execute that I forgot that we literally don’t want anyone with so much as a sniffle around us right now and then when our friends got sick everything went to hell.
It’s October. Personally, I’m convinced that one of the reasons October became known as the month demons come out to play is because it’s actually when the viruses come out to play.
Kids get sick in October. Plan for it!
Again, communicate that plan in your social story.
If I get sick, we’re going to stay home and watch a scary movie and eat all the candy we bought to hand out or whatever that is going to look like for your family.
Don’t wait for it to happen before you set expectations because if you’re planning to go trick or treating and then your kid starts snotting and coughing on Sunday at noon… there’s no fudging that.
There’s no “oh she’s only a little sick” this year, y’all.
Don’t be that butthole!
If your child is sick, they have to stay home. Prepare them for that so it’s not a surprise and they know that even if they’re sick they’re still going to get candy and get to celebrate Halloween.
It astounds me how few parents make a Plan B for these big events.
Believe me, as both a military wife who has had to rely on her Plan B FAR more frequently than I ever expected.
As someone who had a decade long career in early intervention and had to invoke plan B multiple times when the “fun activity” turned out to be a massive stressor for the child I was working with.
Plan B should not be made on the fly!
Make them ahead of time so you aren’t scrambling.
Gather your supplies to execute these plans.
Go buy your candy.
Go get your pumpkins.
Go get spray hand sanitizer.
Go get masks that work with their costumes!!
Make sure you’ve inventoried the available movies so that you don’t spend an hour scrolling Netflix trying to find a movie that’s spooky but not so scary it gives them nightmares.
My personal recommendation for that is the live-action Scooby-Doos by the way.
Get yourself organized both so that there’s no last-minute “omg I forgot”s and because then you get to enjoy Halloween too!!
These kids events are stressful enough without rushing around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find last minute supplies.
Carve out time to get your plans in place… A & B!
If you’re struggling to figure out what you can safely do for Halloween or there’s an obstacle you can’t seem to find a solution for or whatever, come and let’s chat about it in the Parenting Posse!
We can help you brainstorm and troubleshoot so that you and your kiddos can enjoy the revelry and have a positive end to the month.