How to Have a Happy Halloween

Ugh…Halloween is on a Monday this year. And you know what that means.

“Halloween” is going to last over a week.

The kids are going to start getting amped up on Friday (yeah, tomorrow Friday). Then all weekend there will be parties and special events. With cookies, candies, and sweet treats galore.

Monday is the big day. For elementary kiddos, that probably means a classroom celebration and maybe a costume parade. And more sugary things.

The last “official” event is the trick-or-treating at night. A late night full of costumed revelry, and a super sweet sugar high, are sure to make for a great Tuesday morning. Oh, and your kid is going to be begging you for candy at breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, and dessert.

Long story short: it’s gonna be a looooooooong week.

But you can have a Happy Halloween, with these tips.

1. Limit the hype

Yes, Halloween is way fun. I get that. I was a kid once, too, believe it or not. But is it impact a whole week fun? Not so much.

So instead of constantly talking about the spooky fun you’re going to have relentlessly, keep it low key.

  • Skip some parties this weekend (if you can). Go to just one or maybe two, instead of hitting all the festivals and accepting all the invites.
  • Avoid pulling out the costumes until the night before. For parties, stick to basics: black cat, witch, vampire. Things that only require bare minimum in terms of effort and props are best.

2. Watch the sugar

Even if you can’t skip the parties, pass on the candy.

Leave without the goody bag, especially if it is filled with junk. If you can’t get away without it, ask your child to pull out just a few treats they really love.

At events, restrict the treats, too. Maybe set a one cupcake rule. The rest of the food eaten should be healthier (crackers, fruit, or veggies). After one cup/serving of soda or juice, water should be the drink of choice.

3. Skip a few houses

For smaller kids, they will be enjoying the pure fun of getting free candy. Older kids might compare with year with last year.

This is the perfect time to use the “school night” excuse. It’s true! Your children still have to go to school and do their work tomorrow. It’s a normal day.

Instead of canvassing the whole neighborhood, just go to half of the houses or just the ones on your street or just the ones in your cul de sac.

First, it will limit the candy collected. Second, it ups the chances that everyone will get to bed at a normal time. This will lead to, third, having a better day on Tuesday.


4. Dole it out slow

Repeat it with me: I am the parent. I control the candy supply. 

Divide candy into three piles: love, like, hate.

Stuff in the hate pile immediately goes in the trash (or is fair game for parents). Like candy gets taken from all kids and is put into a common bowl.

Liked candy gets taken from all kids and is put into a common bowl. Parents can take it into work, send a big “thank you” bag into the teachers, or save it for rewards later. In other words: it’s not eaten now by the kids.

Candy that is loved is put into a smaller zip lock or paper bag. Label each bag with the child’s name. Kids can pick a piece to take for lunch and another piece for dessert. That’s it. And when it’s gone, it’s gone.

5. Get back to normal

The homework and sports stuff is not going away, so get back to it ASAP. Skipping things for Halloween is totally acceptable.

But you need to make sure that the slack is picked up later in the week. Plus, many teachers will limit or avoid homework on Halloween. They know it just won’t get done.

Tuesday, though, stick to your normal routines. School, homework, sports, and bedtime should all be typical.

Celebrate the day, but keep it within limits.

Limiting the parties, skipping some of the sugar, and getting back to normal soon will help to stop Halloween from expanding through your week.

And your teacher will thank you for making their week go a little bit smoother, without so many candy hangovers!


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