I have an internal debate about Halloween.  On one side there are fond memories of being young and excited to find that perfect costume – like the year I was a can of Coke, complete with a tinfoil hat.  Also on the love side is when I first put Owen into a panda bear costume when he was  3 months old.  So adorable. And the pumpkin patch, fall decorations, spicy scented candles and watching It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown under a cozy blanket .  Love.

Halloween 2005, my two bears

Halloween 2005, my two bears

But then there is the other side….The 5 downsides of Halloween with kids

  1. Finding the perfect costume:  This means one that both you and your child are happy with.  Becomes more difficult as your kids get older and change their minds ten times.  And you want it to be perfect because they will only be 5 once…and it should show that you are a good, attentive mom but not overly crazy.
  2. Getting the children ready: In my 7 previous years of having children during Halloween, there hasn’t been ONE where there weren’t tears, tantrums, and complete craziness prior to leaving for trick or treating.  We actually have video of me trying to put our 2 year old in his fireman costume while he was screaming.  I did everything in the book to get him into it.  In the end I won but it almost ruined our night.  Lesson learned.
  3. The trick or treat dilemma: Who goes and who stays?  We live in an area where we could easily go through 10 enormous bowls of candy.  Very different from living in San Francisco atop a huge hill where we got three visits at most.   I am happy to do this and love to see all the costumes on the children…especially those that we know.  But let’s face it, it gets old after the 20th Darth Vader.  So which spouse goes with your own adorable kids to watch their reactions and who stays?
  4. Post Halloween meltdown:  Inevitably your kids will have too much sugar, stay up too late and be exhausted.  The next day always is a drain.

My Top 5 Suggestions to keep Halloween fun!

  1. Set reasonable expectations! If Jake doesn’t want to get into his bear costume, try a few times and then just head out.  Put the costume in a backpack and try again later.  I have found the younger children are often scared of costumes at your house but once they see all the fun the other kids are having they will give it a try.
  2. Don’t worry too much about the costumes. In the end, it is just for an hour or two.  Also, they forget about their costumes the second they hit that first doorbell and see the bowl full of Milky Ways, Smarties and Double bubbles.
  3. Make a good home cooked meal early. Something that could be made ahead of time is ideal.  I like my children to go trick or treat after a good healthy meal, candy is less alluring if you are full!
  4. Take away the candy asap. I sneakily take the candy away from my kids after a few days.  Granted, my oldest is now 7 so I am anticipating this to be an issue at some point, but up to now it has worked like a charm.  Let them see their halloween buckets for a few days, then take out a big ziploc and store the rest for “treats” down the road.
  5. Relax, Enjoy and have a glass of wine!

Would love to hear any of your fool proof Halloween ideas.