If we were to be really, really honest, couldn’t we agree that Halloween and trick or treating is really for parents? Stick with me on this:
Is there anything better than your adorable, squishy babe dressed up as a little scary monster or very sad bunny? Nope!
Is there anything better than convincing your attitude-filled 7 year old that doing full-face makeup (using your eyeshadow, red lipstick & eyeliner) so that he can be a zombie, while his little brother is rocking that Ben Affleck/George Clooney as Batman vibe? NOPE!
Is there anything better than sitting on your floor and sorting through the bags and bags of loot your kids managed to collect (and that you’re totally going to be eating once they head off to bed). Heck, no!
Halloween is one of the rare times that parents get to enjoy being silly and fun with their kids and dressing them up in the kind of costumes and outfits they’ve always dreamed of (just me? doubt it!).
In our house, our first Halloween with our son was 7 years ago. I found the cutest costume, dressed him up, had family over (seriously!!!) and took him out to a grand total of 4 houses before he lost his cool. But you know what? It was totally worth it! I was never been more in love with those squishy cheeks than I was the night he was a baby monkey.
Over the years, Halloween has become an even more fun family activity. I’ve thrown Halloween parties; had kids on the street do tricks for treats (they honestly didn’t know what to think of me!); spooked up our front walk so much that kids were afraid to visit (oops!); been mom to a duck, Cookie Monster, Power Rangers, a ‘ginger ninja’, and Iron Man; and I’ve had SO MUCH FUN doing it!
And really, don’t get me started on the pumpkins. Pumpkin carving is 100% set aside for parental fun in our house. And by parents, I mean my husband. Check out some of his handiwork:
(And to be fair, my kids have just as much fun deciding on our pumpkin theme and watching my husband carve it!).
My boys are a bit older now and they have friends on our street that they like to trick or treat with (with parents in tow, of course!). But the magic and fun of Halloween hasn’t been lost. They still LOVE picking out their own costumes, letting me help them get ready (because let’s face it, costumes are getting more and more elaborate!) and heading out to collect as much candy as possible for one special night.
As a parent, I’ve also learned a lot about making Halloween just as safe as it is fun.
Let me tell you a little story about my own scary Halloween experience (and how it has changed the way I view Halloween and trick or treating for my kids):
When I was 8 years old, dressed as a cheerleader (as I was every single year, with the exception of the year that I had to be Little Red Riding Hood because it was the only thing that would fit over my snowsuit!), I was allowed to trick or treat with my friends as long as I was in sight of my parents, who had my little sister in tow.
I was thrilled and having the time of my life! I could taste that freedom! About 10 minutes before we were going to back it in for the night, I saw a girl I knew from school trick or treating across the street. I couldn’t get her attention so I decided to run across the street and grab her. I can’t say I exactly remember what happened but I do remember screeching tires, screaming and – in the end – a bumper just a few inches from my head. Thankfully, the car stopped just in time and I was not hit running across the road. I was an extraordinarily responsible kid, but the excitement and fun of trick or treating over road all the safety tips I knew & regularly obeyed.
That might be the reason I want my kids to love Halloween (I certainly had trouble enjoying it after that scary incident), but it’s also the reason I am absolutely dedicated to make our trick or treating experiences as safe and incident-free as possible.
There are a few things that are now mandatory for Halloween night – they don’t take the fun away from running all over the neighbourhood with their friends and collecting more candy, chocolate & chips than they could ever dream of, but they do ensure we are having the BEST and SAFEST night.
Here’s what I insist on (based on advice from the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs):
- No Candles: We love carving pumpkins (correction: my husband loves carving pumpkins!) but with a clumsy mom (me!) and even more clumsy 5 year old in our house, candles inside our pumpkins are a recipe for disaster. That’s not even taking into consideration all the teeny-tiny tots who will climb our steps for a treat on Halloween night. Instead, we use a flashlight inside our pumpkins. Using a long lasting battery like a Duracell Coppertop Battery helps keep them powered all night long.
- Be Visible: My older son is now 7 years old and really loves the idea of being a zombie, which I’m fine with, as LONG as he is visible. To mitigate the arguments, he wears reflective tape on his ripped zombie jeans so he can easily be seen by motorists. Alternatively, our littlest one wore reflective tape on his Batman cape so he could be sure to be seen while fighting crime [and collecting candy!]
- Flashlights Light The Way: Everyone in our Halloween trick-or-treating group has a flashlight with fresh Duracell Coppertop batteries so they can see. This is extra important when creeping up on spooky houses that are dimly lit! We also make sure we stay on the sidewalk, in well-lit areas (our own neighbourhood) and and only visit homes with their lights turned on.
- Strength in
Numbers: As I mentioned, my kids are getting older. So, while there is always a parent with them, we also make sure they walk in a group. There’s safety (and fun!) in numbers!
- Know Where You’re Going: We always discuss our route before leaving the house. That means everyone knows what streets we are visiting and where to go should we ever be separated (thankfully they will have their own flashlight to help light the way!). We do not zig-zag across the street and we certainly do not go on any routes we have not discussed ahead of time Planning a route and sticking to it helps in ensuring that the most candy is collected in the safest way possible.
- Parents Check First: As tempting as it is to bite into a chocolate bar mid-route, all candy and chocolate has to be inspected by mom and dad before it is eaten. Yes, this definitely means that we will taste test some as well, but better safe than sorry I always say:)
- Fresh Batteries: Between our flashlights for every child and adult, flashlights or battery-powered lights inside our pumpkins, and all the other spooky extras that we power up on Halloween night, having new & fresh batteries on hand is a must! As always, our go-to is the coppertop brand – Duracell – that we trust the most.
I am a huge believer in ensuring my children are safe and empowered. By talking about our rules (and reminding them of why we have those rules!), having the right safety tools ready to go (including the long lasting power of Duracell batteries), being prepared with plenty of Halloween bags and a bunch of Halloween candy ready for the cute trick or treaters that will be at our doorstep, and making fun & safety a priority, our Halloween evenings go off without a hitch.
And yes, BE HONEST, Halloween really is for the parents. Sure the kids get the candy, but we get the memories we make as a family on Halloween and the knowledge that our kids are having a great experience as well. Even though I have yet to wear a costume and humiliate my kids (although I’m not above it, they just beg me not to!), being out in the neighbourhood with friends, seeing my kids be silly and have an absolute blast is always 100% worth it!
Now I want YOU to have the same fun and safe experience that my family has on Halloween! My friends at Duracell are giving away a Halloween trick-or-treating safety kit which includes:
- Duracell Coppertop batteries
- Coleman flashlight
- Wearable reflectors
- Flameless candle