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This will be my fourth Halloween as a mom! Gone are the days of those adult Halloween parties with friends (you know the ones…) These days, it’s all about classroom cupcakes and trying to talk my son into wearing a coat with his Spiderman outfit. (We settled on layering underneath.) So, after a few years at this business, I’ve adopted a few rules that will help us get through the spooky season more smoothly.
Go dye-free. This is a hard one, but the avoidance of food dyes is a priority for us every day, and that doesn’t change during holidays. Orange-colored pumpkin things are everywhere, and the candy may be unavoidable, but drastic times call for sneaky measures. Try this trick: swap out your child’s loot bag for a mom-approved version. Trading for a toy or money wasn’t going to work around here, so after we went to this year’s Halloween parade (which resulted in tons of the worst junk), I switched the contents of my son’s candy bucket for some UNREAL candy along with some Halloween trinkets, stickers and little bags of Annie’s crackers and trail mix that had fun naturally colored yogurt raisins in it. (The fact that trick-or-treating usually happens at night and the kids are tired will only work in your favor.) It wasn’t all perfect or organic, but there were no dyes. He loved it. I felt better. Win/win.
Get crafty with those costumes! And by crafty, I don’t just mean try to make them. If you’re not so handy with a needle and thread, there are other creative ways to score fun kids’ costumes. If you’re buying in a store or ordering online, buy good quality and make sure to pack that costume away for next year when you can sell or trade it. Organize a costume swap or Meet Up in your town, and I bet you’ll get lots of parents interested in those “only worn once” costumes. And there’s always the thrift store or consignment shop route. That’s what we did, and I got both kids great costumes for $10 total.
Just say “No.” I know, I just told you not to let your kids have their candy, and now I’m going to tell you not to let them have any fun either. I’m a real stick in the mud! But really, Halloween is (sort of) the start of the holiday season, and there are parties, parades, trick-or-treating and events galore. By this time last year, we hadn’t even gone door-to-door yet and my son was worn. out. Watch those kids closely, and keep an eye out for signs of overstimulation. This year, we’ll be missing the school party because our little man doesn’t go on Thursdays, and I’ve decided that’s OK. I tend to overschedule, overcommit, and just go go go all the time, but that doesn’t mean he has to. A few family nights in–coloring, watching a movie, and staying on a good sleep schedule–help reset his little 4-year-old self back to a nice normal.