Halloween can be a fun time of your to celebrate by dressing up and consuming everything pumpkin. Or…it can be a disaster if your littles get spooked. I loved Halloween as a kid. Who doesn’t? Dressing up and gorging yourself on candy? What is not to love? But, as we get older, Halloween becomes more about the tricks and less about the treats. When you get even older and have babies of your own, you might be conflicted with this question: How do I make Halloween special, not spooky?
Start with a Special Halloween Costume
For my daughter’s first Halloween, I did not brave the crowds to go Trick-or-Treating, but I did get her a super special costume. She was only eight months old and I had tricked out her nursery with a full elephant theme. Pink and grey with elephants everywhere. I thought if we got her a costume with her dressed as an elephant, we could add them to the elephant spectacular that was her nursery.
Tip#1: Find a unique costume (Hint: Try Etsy or make your own!)
However, I felt that just going as any old elephant would not do. I explained to my husband that I wanted her to look like a dancing ballerina elephant. He thought I was a bit (pea)nuts. (Get it? Elephants love peanuts?) Anyway, with my vision in mind, I started to scour Etsy. I found exactly what I was looking for at The Sweet Girly Boutique (link to shop not currently active.) The results speak for themselves.
Not to be outdone, I wanted my daughter’s second costume to be equally as cute. She was one and a half and her favorite word was “puppy”. I went back to Etsy and found this puptacular costume on HandpickedHandmade. The price of $23 was not too crazy to spend on a one-time use, but my friend threw a puppy themed birthday party for her son last spring and my daughter went as her favorite cast member of Paw Patrol!
Tip #2: Try to recycle your costume and/or get multiple uses!
This year, I had no choice. My daughter is still obsessed with Frozen and there is no other option that dressing as Olaf. Although my friend, Regina, could have totally made this costume, again I found this gem on Etsy at Shoppe3130.
Tip #3: If you have a crafty, mompreneur friend, ask her to make your child’s costume!
Get Crafty, Not Scary
I know haunted houses are probably all the rage for older kids, but they are definitely not going to work for my toddler. A night of pumpkin carving is super fun, but I worry about my daughter’s hand-eye coordination and clumsiness near sharp objects. She takes after her mother that way.
Instead of pumpkin carving, we did pumpkin painting. I purchased several small pumpkins from Trader Joe’s at 99 cents each and gathered all of my art supplies. We made our own little art studio outside and went to town. I encouraged my daughter to pick her own paint colors and create her own masterpieces with the pumpkins.
Tip #4: Get messy! It builds creativity!
Another favorite craft, my fabulous friend, Regina, helped me with. We spray painted a blank canvas with black spray paint. After allowing time for the canvas to dry, we brushed our kid’s feet with white paint (to make white ghosts) and pressed them to the canvas. Then, we attached googly eyes We finished the project by hot gluing some Halloween themed ribbon to the canvas for hanging. Voila! The perfect Halloween craft!
For more Halloween craft ideas, check out The Kids Activities Blog.
Tip #5: When doing a holiday craft with your kids, make several copies to give to friends and family as gifts!
These are some of items I used for the above crafts and can be purchased through my affiliate link to Amazon. There is no additional cost for you to use my link, but I may receive a small commission should you purchase.
Have a Little Harvest Fun
I have to admit…I am a little on the fence about the whole trick-or-treating thing. It can be scary for a toddler to see some of the more gruesome costumes and I do not allow my daughter to even eat candy.
Fortunately, I live in a very child-friendly neighborhood and last year was our first Halloween celebrating with our new neighbors. We walked our daughter just the length of our street and she thought it was a hoot going up to each house and having people put things in her basket. When we returned home, she thought it was even more hysterical to throw candy in our visitor’s baskets and pillow cases.
In my old neighborhood, just miles away, I only received a handful of trick-or-treaters in the decade I lived there. People are opting for alternatives to trick-or-treating. There are numerous safety concerns in our day-in-age, plus the spooky factor of costumes and even decorations.
Whether or not you are actually going trick-or-treating, there are other ways to celebrate this time of year. You can visit your local apple orchard or pumpkin patch! This time of year is really supposed to be about the harvest, right? These experiences are not only fun, but they are educational! I recently wrote about my fall obsession with apples, but this time of year I go a little pumpkin crazy!
Tip #6: There are some great learning activities you can do based on your visit to the pumpkin patch:
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- Read How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?
- Estimate how many pumpkin seeds are in your pumpkin
- Pumpkin sensory play (Just let your little one stick their hands inside and play!)
- Pumpkin: Sink or float in the bathtub
- Read The Pumpkin Book by one of my favorite, Gail Gibbons and plant pumpkin seeds
- Read Pumpkin Jack and place a pumpkin in a clear (sealed!) container and watch how it decomposes
- Bake pumpkin pie!
After a day at the pumpkin patch, there is nothing better than to curl up with some hot apple cider, a bowl of popcorn, and watch a movie! One that is special, not scary, of course.
Tip #7: Find time to treat yourself!
However you choose to celebrate October 31st, it will be special if you spend it with those you love. It does not have to be all ghouls and goblins! Instead, it can be your crafty and filled with pumpkins. If you do decide to brave the crowds of the costumed masses, save a little chocolate for yourself. Pair it with a nice glass of wine after you tuck your little monster into bed!