The Hidden Lessons of Halloween

“It’s Halloween! It’s Halloween! The moon is full and bright. And we shall see what can’t be seen on any other night.”—Jack Prelutsky, children’s poet

Candy and costumes aside, Halloween can actually be filled with great lessons for kids, and adults, if you know where to look. Follow these tips to help you find the hidden lessons in Halloween, and make this Halloween your best one yet!

Tips for . . .

  • Take your kids trick or treating in your neighborhood. Halloween is one of the few holidays when it’s socially acceptable to go to your neighbor’s door. Get to know your neighbors as you go door to door. Find more ways to encourage an engaged community here.
  • Set boundaries on how much candy your child can eat on Halloween before the holiday arrives. Get tips for setting boundaries as a family here.
  • Emphasize how Halloween is about having fun; it’s not just a holiday to get a lot of candy. Squeeze in some quality time with your child by doing other Halloween activities that take the focus off the candy, such as carving pumpkins and looking for costumes together.
  • Honor your child’s independence by following his or her lead on Halloween. If he or she wants to go trick-or-treating, find a safe way for this to happen. If your child isn’t interested in Halloween, don’t make a big deal of it.
  • Give children time to research the choices for a Halloween costume. Many love to spend time comparing their options, and they can learn a lot of decision-making skills by doing so.
  • Find ways to connect to your child’s school. See if your child’s class offers a Halloween party for the kids. If so, volunteer to help out with the party.
  • Nurture your young child’s spark. Help him or her discover new skills or interests through art. Try helping your child decorate a bucket or a pillowcase for him or her to carry treats on Halloween.
  • Don’t be surprised if your thirteen-year-old chooses to ignore the holiday (because he or she is too old) one year, and then embraces it the next. This is all a part of your child growing up, leaving behind old traditions, and creating new ones. Support your child through these life lessons.
  • Once kids enter middle school or junior high, they may become more interested in attending a costume or Halloween party than go trick or treating. Some want to do both. Take advantage of the opportunity to talk about high-risk behaviors like smoking or consuming alcohol. Get talking tips here >
  • Ask your teenager if he or she wants to help hand out candy on Halloween. Some teenagers enjoy doing this, and it’s a fun way to spend time together.
  • Set clear expectations about how you expect your teenager to act at a Halloween party. Many high school parties have alcohol or drugs. Be clear that you don’t want your teenager taking substances. Talk through different scenarios they may encounter so that they know what to do. Get talking tips here >
  • Nurture your teen’s Halloween spark: Some teenagers enjoy cooking and want to bake Halloween cookies or roast pumpkin seeds. Some teenagers enjoy going to a second-hand clothing store and putting together an outrageous costume. Others enjoy decorating your home in a spooky way. Be your teen’s spark supporter this Halloween.
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