It's that time of year again; the days are getting colder, the nights are getting longer and all the scariest monsters are getting ready for Halloween. Your kids are probably thinking about Halloween, and more importantly what they are going to wear to go trick or treating.
Trick or treating is in fact a relatively new tradition in Britain, having come over from America in the 1970s and 80s. We all now know the drill; kids dress up in costumes, knock on people's doors and ask if they would like a 'trick or treat'. The home owners then give them some treats, supposedly in return for them not causing any trouble.
Whilst the origins of the tradition may seem a bit off, it has become ingrained into our culture, and any savvy parent needs to make sure they're properly prepared. Here is our survival guide.
Should You Go with Them?
The answer to this is very simple - yes. The thought of your kids going round knocking on strangers doors alone is likely to strike fear in the heart of any parent. Slightly older children are likely to plead that they are quite capable of just going with their friends, but don't be persuaded. Even if you tell them to stay on your street where you know the neighbours, there's no guarantee they'll actually stick to it if you aren't around.
For very young children it's simple. They'll be happy for you to go around with them and it would be unthinkable to do anything else. For older children it can be slightly trickier. A good tactic is to take one of the other parents along and follow at a distance. That way they can have some privacy to talk to their friends, but you can still keep an eye on things.
No parent wants their kids going around banging on people's doors if they're not welcome. Halloween etiquette dictates that you shouldn't go to houses where there isn't a visible sign that the home owner welcomes it, such as pumpkins or decorations. It's also advisable to only go to the houses of neighbours or people you know.
How to Get the Maximum Haul
To make sure your kids get the maximum haul of 'treats', you need to make sure they look the part. People always reward costumes that look like a lot of effort was put into them. Spending time helping with their costume is a great way to bond and it's lovely to see how pleased they are with the final result.
Most Halloween costumes only require you to buy some accessories to make them effective. You can often make the rest yourselves. For example, try pairing some Halloween masks with your own customised clothing. For a witch they need to wear dark colours and use a black bin liner as a cape, whereas for a vampire they should wear smart clothing and a red cravat. Monsters are also pretty simple. Just co-ordinate your clothes so that they are all the same colour as the mask! Try these:
- Themed Halloween masks
- Fun monster masks
You also need to make sure to stock up on bags that the kids can keep their hard-earned goodies safe in.
What to Have for Your Own Trick or Treaters
Aside from getting your kids ready for their own trick or treating, you need to be ready to be inundated with trick or treaters yourself. There's nothing worse than having to tell disappointed children that you've run out of things to give them. The alternative is to pretend that you're not in, which rarely convinces anyone! Make sure you're prepared and buy more treats than you think you'll need- you can always use anything leftovers as party bag fillers at your next event! Some great things to stock up on are:
- Lots and lots of sweets
- These filled trick-or-treat bags to add a special touch
Halloween is a scary time and not just because of the monsters! By following this guide you can make sure that your kids have a safe and fun Halloween, and that you put smiles on the faces of all of the trick-or-treaters at your door.
Do you have any trick-or-treating tips to share?
Image by brettneilson