Monday, October 26, 2015

How 'HAPPY' is Halloween?

Typical scenario goes like this: kids are in costume an hour beforehand, constantly asking, Is it time to go yet?" Parents are trying to get supper over with, tending to a crying infant, and deciding on who is going to run after their trick-or treaters, and who is going to stay at home distributing candy.
The unlucky person who was chosen by default to follow their kids as they run from door-to-door is finding it extremely difficult to keep tabs on three kids taking off in different directions. No amount of threatening to return home will deter them, since they can't even hear you above the screams and howls of the night. After two grueling hours of traversing the neighborhood, you and your ghosts and goblins make it home amidst arguing that Halloween wasn't over yet since there were ten more minutes until curfew. Once inside, the masks come off, the sacks are spilled on the familyroom floor and real trouble begins. First off, the kids begin unwrapping candy at the speed of light, shoving gobs of it into their mouths at one time, and eagerly search for more! Mom or Dad insists they've had enough, and that's when the whining begins. Finally when these poor, beleaguered adults are at their wits end, they snatch the goodies off the floor, throw everything into a huge pot, and demand the kids go upstairs, get ready for bed, and not make another sound. Unfortunately because of all the sugar that's been consumed in the last five minutes, plenty of sounds of disapproval will be heard well into the night.


I'll let that be a rhetorical question that I don't expect to be answered!

I'd like to propose a different scenario from the typical that goes like this: Talk to your neighbors about having a Halloween House Party for the first hour of the time scheduled for local trick-or treating. Once deciding on who will host the party, talk to your kids at least two weeks beforehand about how Halloween will be celebrated this year. Tell them everybody will have dinner together first, then play games, and maybe make a craft. Nobody will be in costumes during that time. When the party is over, they can have a 'get-up gig' where they help each other get into costume and head for the streets! Ask them for suggestions regarding the types of food, games, and crafts they'd be interested in.

Next get together with the host. Have each involved parent present the list he or she gathered from the children, and vote on exactly what food, games, and if necessary, craft will be best-suited for the party. Allow each adult to choose which of the duties they would be willing to prepare and preside over.

On the night of Halloween, families can gather half an hour earlier to share dinner together. Pizza, hot dogs and beans, tacos, and chili are kid-friendly foods and simple to prepare and eat. When finished eating ask everybody to clean up their own space and hurry to the games area. Some of the traditional choices may include: Scary Pumpkin (Hot Potato), Musical Chairs with Halloween tunes, bobbing for apples, Taste Test (identifying certain foods while blindfolded), and many more that I'm sure you've played when you were a kid. If a craft is involved, make it quick and simple.

Before the 'get-up gig' insist each child use the restroom. Give the children ten minutes to get dressed in their costumes, tell them which parents will be accompanying them on their travels, and ask that they try to stay together as best they can. For the ensuing hour, Halloween as usual.

Upon returning to their respective homes, lead each one to their own designated space where they can dump their booty. Allow them time to inspect their treasures and pick three pieces they can consume immediately, plus five more they can hide away and enjoy all week long. The rest will be contributed to a common stash which they will have access to once a day until finished or they don't want anymore, which ever comes first!

Consider the two scenarios I've presented and decide for yourselves which is best. I'm not going to influence you in any way, but if you're looking to put the 'HAPPY' back in Halloween, I'd strongly suggest the second one.

Have a safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!