My toddler is three years old. He loves Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and Doc McStuffins. He will also glue himself to anything electronic that plays race car and monster truck videos (child-themed of course). When he sees something he does not understand, he questions me. “Why, mama?” When he sees someone hurt, his rough-on-the-outside exterior doesn’t quickly soften but his long-lashed, brown eyes do, and he will ask, “Are ooo (meaning “you”) okay?”
My point is this: He’s innocent, just like all children are. And in his quest for answers to a never-ending list of questions, I have found myself anxious as I await the big question.
“Why do we celebrate Halloween, mommy? Why do some people dress up scary?”
My genuine answer is this: I. Do. Not. Know. I mean, I’ve always celebrated Halloween, with no thought as to why. Everyone else did, so I did it. But now that my little person is old enough to question me (and tell me he doesn’t want to wear the super cute, cuddly costume I’ve found via a day-long Pinterest search), I’ve come to the conclusion that Halloween is not really on the radar for my family this year, or in the future. How do I explain this time of year to my little man when he sees costumes and decorations in our favorite stores and throughout our surrounding neighborhoods? Easy. Celebrate what we do know about!
If your family is ready for Halloween and it’s a part of your tradition, have a great time. Collect as much candy as possible! On the other hand, if you feel the need to do something different, embrace that decision – because when you’re excited, your kids will be too. Here are some alternative ways to spend a Halloween evening.
Decorate and Craft
Take a family trip and go shopping for hay bales, corn stalks, pumpkins and even a scarecrow. Decorate your front yard for the season. If you have neighbors in your neck of the woods, invite a few moms over with their kiddos and plan a few “mommy and me”-themed projects that your guests can take home.
Make goody bags with your children for a select group of people. Fill them with fall-themed goods such as a homemade fall-blend trail-mix, homemade coasters made from flannel, warm and toasty scented candles (bonus points to you if these are homemade) and sweet treats. Distribute these goodies to hospital patients, elderly neighbors, co-workers, classmates – or even strangers, as a random act of kindness. Enjoy the smiles!
Enjoy a Pumpkin Patch
Fortunately, we do have some local pumpkin patches with fun activities planned for visitors. Here’s another idea to make the visit extra fun: Have your child invite a few friends over; let them make a pumpkin “check-off” list. This list may include the following:
A pumpkin taller than 13 inches
A pumpkin that is oval-shaped
A pumpkin that looks like __ (insert something ridiculously funny here)
… and so on.
Once your list is complete, go to your favorite pumpkin patch and scavenger hunt!
And above all else, whatever you decide to do, enjoy the time with your little ones. It flies.
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