Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ways to Make Halloween Fun (and less stressful) for Kids... and YOU!

How can you make Halloween less stressful for kids?

I am so excited that Halloween is finally here! As you are putting on costumes and making any last minute plans for the day, I wanted to share some awesome tips from some of my community regarding how to make Halloween fun (and less stressful) for kids... and YOU! 

Make sure to check out what each of these parents say and then click through and check out their fabulous blogs too. They are all great resources for parents!

15 Ways to Make Halloween Fun (and less stressful) for Kids... and YOU!

  • Make things visual! Help kids understand what "trick or treating" will look like by practicing. We love making a Halloween house to practice with ahead of time at our house! We also have low expectations for costumes. We put our toddler in a Halloween outfit underneath her costume so if she doesn't want to dress up in her costume, she still feels festive.  

  • Read non-scary Halloween books - The Night Before Halloween and Funny Bones are two of our current favorites. We put a pumpkin out to say that we welcome trick or treaters and at the kid's bedtime we remove the pumpkin and it's a signal that we don't want to have any more trick or treaters. Rainy Day Mum  

  • Pick a low-key non-stressful venue to go to. We take our young children to an event at the zoo one night and then to a local grocery store on the night of Halloween. Both events are tailored for younger children so they are not scary and the amount of candy and time trick-or-treating is reasonable for a small child.  No Twiddle Twaddle 

  • We do several things. Our MOMS Club group visits the local senior home and trick or treats. The residents are so tickled to hand out the candy to the kids. When at home, we go out right away on Halloween night before it is dark. We stop by a few of the neighbors homes to show off the kids. The older ones really appreciate it since many of them can not physically handle handing out candy. Then the kids help us hand out candy at home. Evie @PlayAwayOnline

  • We take the kids Trunk-or-Treating at one of the local churches. Everything is set up in one parking lot, the cars are decorated (but not with scary things) and everything is geared towards young kids. We also let them dress up for our church's Fall Festival where they play games for candy and take them trick-or-treating at the Downtown Walking Mall. We like to pick places where the decorations won't be too scary, they won't have loud scary music and there won't be too many people. Mamas Like Me

  • We eat pizza (or another favorite dinner food) first. That way they're full before we start. We practice wearing our costumes before the actual day. We also keep expectations low and try to not get to hyped up ourselves. ( ie. what if it rains!?). We also tell them that we will sort all if their candy when they get home. No eating while out. We also take away the majority of their candy and (I eat it!:)) because of food allergies and trade them for a toy, book, or something they're interested in. Busy Kids Happy Mom

  • Our kids are allowed to choose 5 pieces of candy to keep and then we put the rest on the porch before bed so 'The Great Pumpkin' can exchange it for some toys and art supplies. Keeping the sugar intake down helps a lot! B-Inspired Mama

  • We bring along our wagon and blankets so if the girls get tired or cold, they can ride for awhile. Creative Family Fun

  • Practice! Put on a costume and act it out at your house before going out. Give the kids a strategy for what to do or say if they are feeling shy or get scared. Knowing that as soon as they get uncomfortable Daddy will pick them up or they can get into the wagon or Mommy will say trick or treat with them can ease stress levels. We all like to have a plan but it is especially helpful for little ones on Halloween! Coffee Cups and Crayons

  • I have the kids dress up the day before Halloween and take all the cute pictures I want. This way there is one less thing for me to do the night of and it gives me a chance to see how long it takes everyone to get ready. We also arm the kids with glow sticks. One for each of the kids to wear (or more if they want) and one in their treat bag. Housing a Forest

  • When my kids were little, we read non-scary Halloween books, and I put out non-scary Halloween activity trays. My kids wore career/role-play costumes when they were toddlers/preschoolers. We attended community events, sometimes harvest festivals. We also practiced a lot of Halloween etiquette role play before we went out. That's especially helpful for shy kids. Here's my post about our etiquette practice. Living Montessori Now

  • My three year old wants to go trick-or-treating. As an introduction I've made this game for us to play instead of door knocking. Maybe we'll give real trick-or-treating a go next year. My Little Bookcase 

  • We started this tradition last year and it went great. I get a new Halloween movie and a special Halloween bucket for popcorn, sit in our costumes and we have Halloween movie night. This year I am excited because Alvin and the Chipmunks came out with a Halloween special. Momma's Fun World 

  • When my kids were toddlers, we went trick or treating all day - put on costumes in the morning and then visited everyone that we knew. It required us to drive to a number of places but they would ring the bell and say trick or treat to someone they recognized their first 'big' halloween so they were really into it - plus it was daytime so they weren't scared of the dark. KC Edventures 

  • We go to the mall, the vendors hand out candies and it's also warmer that being outside here, so you don't have to worry about costume choice :) Glittering Muffins

What are your Halloween plans and traditions? How do you keep things low-key and not stressful... especially for younger kids who can really struggle with changes in their schedule or unfamiliar people?

Come share your thoughts and traditions with us in the comments! I love learning from all of you fabulous parents out there! Have a Happy (and safe) Halloween!


  1. I loved reading everyone's ideas ... lots of great suggestions! Thanks for including mine! Have a Happy Halloween! :) Deb @ Living MontessoriNow.com

  2. Thank you for all the great advice! I am thinking that Halloween IS a stressful holiday for parents! Great advice for those with small kids. I like the daytime trick or treating with family friends idea!

  3. hello!! Very interesting discussion glad that I came across such informative post. Keep up the good work friend. Glad to be part of your net community. Toys for toddlers


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