- Trunk-or-Treating. Many parents from school, church, or maybe just within their own network, will often set up a “Halloween village” in a nearby, safe, well-lit parking lot. The car trunk becomes the front door, and kids just go from car to car in their costumes collecting their goodies. The parents? They get to socialize with the other parents. They also get to keep an eye on their kiddo the entire time, eliminating any anxiety – and who doesn’t appreciate that? Finally, two big bonuses: It maximizes treat collecting in a short period of time… and getting happy kids to bed at a reasonable hour on what is usually a school night is always a good thing.
- Halloween Block Party. Related, how about a Halloween block party? Either formally ask for a permit to shut down the street or just do it informally if appropriate. This has a lot of advantages of the Trunk-or-Treating, especially in that you get to socialize with your neighbors – which most of us just don’t do enough anyway. If Halloween falls on an inconvenient evening like this year’s Tuesday? Consider doing it on the weekend, making it clear that this is the kiddos’ big Halloween celebration, with a minimum time going out on the actual day.
- Halloween Dance Party. Host a party with their friends and you rs, and dial up all the fun Halloween-related songs. You can have a dance contest, costume contests, and play games. It can be a smaller, more intimate affair which means less stress and more fun for you. Have all participating parents bring extra goodies to create generous goodie bags for the kids to leave with, and the kids will feel great about it – likely better than the door-to-door stuff with older kids, which little kids can sometimes find stressful.
- Group Trick-or-Treating. Finally, one of us around here swears by “couple” or “small group” trick-or-treating. Invite one or two families over for a quick bite, ideally something easy, like a big pot of chili or order a pizza. Then half the parents walk with the kids around the neighborhood while the other half sit together on the porch handing out candy. Halfway through the night, switch! This offers another opportunity to socialize, making the event fun for the parents; and kids like going in small groups – little ones in particular.
Above all, have fun out there! And a quick reminder: be sure to talk about safety with your kids – you probably want to do this a couple of times, not just before they head out, as they are probably so excited they aren’t focusing. Make sure their costume is safe and comfortable; stay away from masks that cover the whole face or anything bulky that may not be great to walk around in all evening.
And don’t forget that when they return from their night out, you should sit down with them and go through all their candy together. But not for the reasons you think – it’s for you to take “10 percent off the top.” After all, you have been acting as their “Halloween agent” and deserve your cut!