At a certain point in October, parents begin to worry about Halloween — especially when the 31st falls on a weekend night. This year, it’s a Friday and next year it will be on Saturday, so you might as well enjoy the ride. Even if it’s on a Haunted Hayride.
Most likely, the primal What To Wear issue is already looming large, causing all sorts of worries from flares of insecurity in those who are craft-challenged to the frustrating issue of finding age-appropriate (i.e. not-too-sexy) costumes in the stores. You may have to search far and wide to find something appropriate and you may find something fabulous. But, at the end of the day, spending a lot of money on a costume is just going to scare your pocketbook, and chances are your kids may change their mind at the last moment. Instead, get going on a concept costume – get the kids invested in coming up with the idea and start creating something the kids can do with a few friends. Favorite characters from TV or movies, ads or YouTube are not off limits (the Progressive Insurance girl…?) Searching online — Pinterest and crafty parenting sites — is a great way to go. Kids are anxious about what to wear, too – and there is always safety in numbers. We saw seven girls online dressed up as Shark Week (Monday through Sunday with plenty of teeth and gore), kids who dressed up as different types of paper (graph, perforated), a pair of dice, favorite candy or fairy tale characters. Rely on GoodWill or Vintage clothing shops – and remember, the less money you spend and the more creative the kids can get, the more memorable the evening will be.
Some of our favorite Halloween memories revolve around baking cookies to decorate at a Halloween party, carving pumpkins, picking apples, and decorating the house. Add a few items from the omnipresent Halloween stores each year, and you’ll eventually have an enviable stash! Repeating the activities year after year turn simple things into traditions that your kids will remember forever.
Moving along to the evening itself, parents fret over the best neighborhoods for safe trick-or-treating, calculate how much sugar affects their kids’ sleep habits, and in older kids, anxiety about what those teens are actually up to out there in the dark. Little kids are best off in their own neighborhoods, but as they get older it’s great to have small dinner parties (food is key before sugar) and trick or treat in groups, with parents along. Set rules and boundaries and end-of-evening times strictly because the energy inevitably ramps up as the night goes on. As for teens … there is a moment when they realize it’s an all bets are off evening and start strategizing which neighborhood their friends will be in. You may turn into a chauffeur and rue the day when simple neighborhood candy-collecting was enough to satisfy. These years are when Halloween is more scary to parents than any other night of the year!
Counter-program as much as possible throughout the month, making the most of a terrific holiday so that the night itself has less heat on it. There are endless possibilities around Los Angeles, as you’ll see in these well-compiled lists from various local sites.