My son, John, experimenting with his Captain Underpants costume
Unsure if your child should be out trick or treating this year? It’s a BIG question, one that many of our parents at Sunrise Montessori have been asking. As someone who has been in business for 14 years, I can tell you that there is NO other day that generates more excitement for our Sunrise students than Halloween. The energy in the days leading up to Halloween is palpable because Halloween is so much more than just dressing up and getting free candy (although, really, aren’t those are enough right there?). Think back to your memories as a child. What was one of your favorite costumes? Remember picking out or carving a pumpkin with your mom or dad? What candy were you always most excited to get? Is your trip down memory lane all rosy and warm? Yeah, me too. But this year is different, so what to do? There ARE ways to allow our children to experience October 31st safely and happily so that they, too, can create memories of one of the most special days of the year.
Why is Halloween beneficial for children? (In case you aren’t yet convinced)
- Halloween encourages pretending, which develops your child’s emotional mastery. And it allows your child to get out of their world into one they create in their mind. We all need a little escapism. Source #4
- It’s a ritual and like Thanksgiving, Christmas and 4th of July, rituals keep us together, both as a family and as a society.
- It’s a great way to get to know your neighbors better!
- Halloween is a safe outlet for scary things. Boo! Source #5
What precautions should be taken?
- Have your child wear a mask and gloves. This one should be super easy since most costumes consist of those anyway. Source #1
- Don’t have your child linger at each house (the sources I looked up say no more than 15 minutes within 6 feet of another person…I can’t imagine ANY child lasting more than a minute at each house anyway, so this one’s easy!).
- Have your candy sitting on a table at the edge of your driveway while you sit near the garage with your jack’o’lanterns by your side. Close enough to see their outfits and hear “trick or treat!” and still far enough away that you and their parents don’t have to worry about transmission. Try to limit your child to taking candy from homes that have candy set up outside if you can. Source #3
- Go to homes of those in your neighborhood or people you know.
The importance of normalcy in abnormal times
Halloween isn’t just a night about candy. “I think completely taking away Halloween could be detrimental to some of the mental health issues that kids are facing right now,” Dr. Ghosh said. She added that she always cautions people to “balance the risk of whatever activity they’re doing with mental health risks as well, and look for ways to minimize risk rather than reduce risk to zero because that’s just not possible.” In September, the Halloween and Costume Association announced new tools to help people make decisions for the holiday, including a color-coded risk-level map that was provided by the Harvard Global Health Institute. A parent with two children herself, Dr. Ghosh said her family was planning to wear gloves and costumes (which are crucial to the holiday experience), and were going to homes “that I know the owners of, where they will be placing candy outside.” Source #2
What if you still aren’t comfortable?
Halloween isn’t one night, it can be the whole month of October!
- Decorate your house with your child now. String orange lights and black cobwebs around! Put spooky gel clings in the windows!
- Carve pumpkins a week sooner than normal. Put them out and light them up on your porch every night before Halloween. Allow your child to light them!
- Make hot apple cider, bake some pumpkin bread, or toast pumpkin seeds with your child.
- Watch age appropriate scary movies as a family.
- Have your child dress up in their costume and Zoom with other family members so they can see their outfit. The costume is one of the biggest parts of the fun of Halloween after all.
There is no “correct” way to celebrate Halloween. But with planning and the right precautions in place, the scariest thing about that night will be a Dark Lord trying to get you to ignore the droids that you were looking for. 😉
Sunrise Montessori Preschool has two locations in Round Rock. Interested in learning first hand what we can offer your child? Then book a tour on our website at Sunrise-Montessori.com or call us so you can discover why Sunrise Montessori Preschool is where YOUR family belongs!