Halloween, having its roots in the Gaelic Samhain festival, is a wonderful time for family fun and games. As parents, we need to take precautions to ensure the safety of our children without taking away from the fun. Here we offer tips to make Halloween safe and fun this year:
- 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 from 6-8pm.
- 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). Click here for more games ideas.
- Try making costumes 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.
- 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.
- Try making Halloween treats together – children enjoy supervised cooking. Making things together will support good quality relationships. Here are some good Halloween recipes to get you started.
- If you are going trick-or-treating, 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. Children feel very proud of themselves when they actually do it.
- Be vigilant and aware of safety at all times. Agree a route (for trick-or-treating) in advance and what doors they are allowed to knock on. If you are driving anywhere, remember to slow down and watch out for other excited little trick-or-treaters.
- Never allow children under 14-years-old out on their own. Children should never be allowed into the homes of strangers. Always be very close by, watching the engagement and ready to intervene, if necessary.
- Be conscious that young children may be anxious or scared at Halloween. It’s dark, there are lots of scary figures about.
- Finally, just have fun!
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.
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.