Halloween is next week! If you haven't already been trolling Pinterest, five minutes looking through festive Halloween pins will offer ideas on this season's crafts, snacks, costumes, and activities.
While most of these ideas are well intentioned, some are thinly veiled attempts to ruin Halloween for kids everywhere.
Making vs. Buying Costumes
Making Halloween costumes is traditionally a great way to possibly save money, enhance your child's creative streak, and use some of those recyclables around the house. Or it could just be a way to spend more money and time on a costume - the time and money I'm talking about is YOURS.
If you choose to have your kids make a costume, be warned. The person who will end up lovingly gluing each sequin onto the cardboard backing will be you. And you will get tired. And the costume will end up being a shoddy conglomerate of toilet paper rolls and cereal boxes from the recycle bin that you glued together while chugging from the last bottle of red wine in your stash because you just wanted to be DONE.
Buying a costume, however, isn't all it's cracked up to be. There are all kinds of weird and depraved costumes to buy for kids, some of which are downright bone chilling. My personal favorite was the kids Halloween costume that allowed your boy or girl to dress up in an orange jumpsuit and sport handcuffs - be a criminal for Halloween!
Dress Like a "Sexy" Anything
In the same Halloween store where I found the criminal costume for kids, I spent most of my time chasing my two boys - ages 11 and 8 - around and trying to shield their eyes. Entering a Halloween costume store is like going into a soft-core porn shop. There was no shortage of boobs, butts and even the middle finger if you wanted to dress as one for Halloween.
The amount of cleavage required for a woman's Halloween costume would, for me, be impossible to fill. But to find a Halloween costume that didn't require me to be a sexy cat, sexy Raggedy Ann doll, sexy cop, sexy librarian, and yes, even a sexy nun, was also impossible. I kind of wanted to just give up and dress as a giant boob.
This would be a surefire way to ruin Halloween for kids. Don't bare your boobs or your butt for Halloween if you care at all for your kids' psychological health. Don't wear fishnet stockings or show garters. Don't wear thigh high boots. Just don't.
Hand Out Healthy Snacks
One year, in a fit of healthy Pinterest pressure, I handed out little boxes of raisins, stickers and small gag toys - little hairy spiders, skull rings, temporary tattoos, and the like - to kids who trick or treated at our house.
I believe that was the year our house got egged.
This does not surprise me.
Healthy snacks are good. Healthy snacks have their place. Healthy snacks do not belong in the Trick or Treat bowl of your house. Unless you want to clean the exterior of said house the next day.
Make Them Eat Healthy Snacks
There is a time and place for healthy snacks, but it's not on Halloween. Instead, prepare their little bodies for the upcoming Halloween sugar shock by loading them up with protein and vegetables the week beforehand. You can pretty much hide brown rice or soy protein powder in anything, and shredded vegetables can also be incorporated to many a soup or entree.
Before trick or treating, forget the sit down dinner and instead serve high protein snacks, but call them something else. Make a crockpot of Lil Smokies and meatballs in barbecue sauce, and call them fingers and eyeballs. Make your kids eat A LOT of them to try and balance out some of the sugar. This is about as healthy as your going to get on Halloween.
Put a Limit on Candy
Our rule for Halloween candy is one: Don't Make Yourself Sick. I'm not going to clean up my kids' puke just because they stuffed themselves on sugar - I only do that when they are legitimately sick. They know how to use the steam cleaner in our house for a reason.
Teach your kids to use your steam cleaner the week before Halloween. Then just let them eat candy while Trick or Treating and let them eat it when you get home. Sure, look it over for those razor blades and pin pricks that we're all warned against but never see, and then just let them eat it.
Halloween day and night are so chaotic that, for this one day, you have permission to give up. Try to keep everyone from getting lost or run over by a car during Trick or Treat time and load up on wine once the kids are in bed - you're going to need it.
And you'll be able to congratulate yourself on not ruining your kids' Halloween!