My kids love Halloween. They like the costumes, the trick -o - treating, the Fall weather, and all of the spooky decor. I am ok with the holiday, though in our neck of the woods it snows. So, I have to think about whether the costume will fit over snow pants, how to help the kiddos navigate icy sidewalks and snowy mounds, as well as, prepare for the typical chaos a holiday brings. With three children who have health challenges, holidays, even Halloween, can be stressful. So, here are my favorite tips on how I survive this boolicious holiday!
1. Candy Alternatives: Some kiddos, like my daughters, have to be concerned with food allergens. It means having their candy checked, not only for sharp objects, but food allergens that could make them sick. In many cases, the small holiday candy doesn't have labels. So, when we get home from trick - o - treating, I check all of their candy. If I am at all concerned about a piece, I pull it aside. I tell my kiddos nope to those pieces. Many offer alternatives such as stickers, small toy treats, a healthy alternative, or money. I think that is great too. You can also help by offering non-food treats to your trick - o - treaters. Most major stores carry pencils, erasers, fake fangs, and other non-food treats. We greatly appreciate this as our kiddos automatically know that the items are safe for them. Having a Halloween party with friends and family? Be kind and label your food or keep the boxes so that ingredients can be determined. It is very helpful for the worried parent who is trying to keep their kiddo healthy and safe.
2. Identification: We have qr codes on our children's shoes. Whether you use a QR code card or some other form of ID, it is a really good idea to have something on your child. Our Halloween's are always dark and icy. They like to run ahead to doors and I'm slower at keeping up as I glide along behind them. If you get separated, that ID helps keep them safe.
3. Comfortable Costume: Watch for scratchy labels (or cut them out,) layer clothing to keep kiddos from overheating (especially if you are going inside and outside a lot,) be prepared for the weather (pack gloves/hats for rapidly changing temps,) and avoid head gear that covers or impacts vision.
4. Communication: Not all kiddos communicate the same way. Especially if they become separated from their family, in the dark. Make sure to have a variety of communication tools. Whistles are great for when they need to draw attention and get help. Visual cards that have pictures and words are very helpful for when they are unable to communicate. They can point to the pictures and/or words to express their thoughts. I like to use Lessonpix. :)
5. Schedule: There is quite often a lot of chaos on holidays. It helps greatly to have a solid plan for the evening. Where you are going to go, what to expect, and how you are going to handle any problems. It is also helpful to have a contingency. You go to start trick - o - treating and it is pouring rain. By pre-planning an alternative, such as a local mall event, and by communicating that in advance, you are helping to prepare your child for the unexpected. While we can't plan for everything, we do have the ability to communicate what we can plan. That is super helpful to our kiddos.
In our family the plan is to trick - o - treat indoors this year. It has already been snowing and I want a year of indoor warmth. The kids know those plans. We are also going to have a small family scary food buffet dinner. They also know what to expect for that fun event. It takes a lot of planning and thought, but the more we can communicate with and prepare our kiddos, I think the more they can enjoy the holiday.