Halloween, having its roots in the Gaelic Samhain festival, is traditionally a wonderful time for family fun and games in Ireland and in other parts of the world! As parents, we need to take precautions to ensure the safety of our children. If you are driving anywhere, remember to slow down and watch out for excited little trick-or-treaters. Following some guidelines for safety won’t take away from the fun. As part of our 10 Ways to weekly series of parenting tips, here are 10 Ways to Make Halloween Fun and Safe.
- If you are celebrating Halloween with your child, be organised. Talk with them in advance about what character they want to be. Agree a budget for costumes or whether you are making it at home – which can be great fun and cost effective. Use flame-resistant materials and if you plan to go out to trick-or-treat in the evening, you might want to attach reflective strips to dark coloured costumes. You could also have fun making some decorations together.
- Be conscious that young children may be anxious or scared at Halloween, as may children with special needs. It’s dark, there are lots of scary figures about. Children may need time with this and some interaction with less scary characters.
- Children love spending quality time with their parents. Why not start a tradition for your own Halloween Family Day?
- Experiment with face paints until you get it right. Let children practice on you, they’ll really enjoy that. You might like to test a small area of your child’s skin for allergic reaction in advance, follow the instructions on the packet.
- Bake together and agree on treats for the day – children enjoy supervised cooking. Making things together will support good quality relationships. Safefood has lots of recipes for Halloween treats such as these ghoulishly delicious Ghostly Milk Shakes.
- Encourage children to learn ‘tricks’ such as singing a song or reciting a poem. People like to see children make an effort in order to get the treat. In fact, performing a song or poem on the doorstep was expected in most parts of Ireland until recently. Practice songs at home in the days coming up to Halloween – this will be good family fun. Children feel very proud of themselves when they actually do it then, it’s a great self-esteem boost.
- Be vigilant and aware of safety at all times. All children up to at least 14 should have adults with them when trick-or-treating. Agree a route in advance and what doors they are allowed to knock on.
- Never allow children under 14 years old out on their own. Children should also never be allowed into the homes of strangers. Parents should always be very close by watching the engagement and intervening when necessary.
- On the day, make it fun for all members of the family to be involved. Play dress up that day. You can dress up too. Play some games at home such as biting the apple from a string or finding coins in green gunk (wall paper paste mixed with green food colouring makes excellent, low-cost goo).
- Consider having a party in your own home for your children and some friends. Trick or treating can start about 4pm and a little party with games from 6-8pm. This can be such a fun celebration for all the family and your friends.
Have fun this Halloween!
This article is part of our weekly ’10 Ways to’ series of parenting tips, and is by One Family’s Director of Children and Parenting Services, Geraldine Kelly. Coming soon: 10 Ways to Manage Homework and 10 Ways to Achieve Successful Shared Parenting over Christmas.
LIVE Facebook Q&A with Geraldine on parenting topics every Monday (apart from Bank Holidays) from 11am-12pm on One Family’s Facebook page.
Find out more about our parenting skills programmes and parent supports. For support and advice on these or any related topics, call askonefamily on lo-call 1890 66 22 12 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.