Making Halloween Less Scary

girl in halloween costume


It's scary out there.

Halloween at every age can be scary. Think about it..

Preschool children are afraid of the monsters, ghosts, witches, and ugly costumes walking down their street or hanging in the stores. Elementary children understand the costumes, but scare themselves with movies and scary stories. They also know the stories of possible "bad" stuff in candy and treats. Parents check all treats for contamination and drive their children around the neighborhood so no harm will come to them. The elderly sometimes turn off all their lights so pranksters won't target them. Halloween isn't the same as it was 30 years ago, when young children walked the neighborhood and brought home candied apples, popcorn balls and pumpkin-shaped cookies. Now all the candy found in treat bags has been purchased at the store and individually wrapped.

Yes, times change. So our celebrations need to change also. Since it is so scary out there, bring the fun and laughter inside. Have a Halloween party at your local community center or a smaller version at your place. When children feel safe, they will enjoy themselves.

So, what happens at the party?

The old-time activities such as bobbing for apples, going through a "haunted house" and hayrides are still popular events. You may want to add new twists to the party by providing not-so-scary movies, group games such as "Halloween" charades or drawing Halloween characters as you would do with the game "Pictionary."

How about a "haunted" scavenger hunt? This activity can be geared to the older elementary kids. With the help of other adults, put together clues to search for such items as bat wings, human brains, severed fingers, spiders, or whatever "haunted" items you want to create. Brainstorming with others will lead to clever items such as chocolate cookies and black stringed licorice formed into spiders. If you make the "haunted" items edible, the kids will have all the treats they need to fill their treat bags.

Other suggestions could be:

Brains - peach or orange flavored gelatin cubes

Severed fingers - sugar cookie dough shaped into fingers with white frosting at tips for the nails and red frosting at severed area.

Eyeballs - Cream cheese formed into balls with chocolate M7Ms pressed into the center.

You take it from here...

Besides games, have the children make Halloween crafts or food items like caramel apples. Keep the melted caramel warm on the stove, have them pick out their apple and provide a stick and the dipping begins. You may want to provide nuts for them to roll the apple in also.

For some fun candy treats make ghosts from white confectionery coating and black cats out of coco lite confectionery coating with a ghost, cat, house chocolate mold. Easily melt the chocolate in the microwave and pour into molds. Just a few minutes in the freezer and the "scary" chocolates are ready to pop out.

The best events are for larger groups with lots of adult helpers. Maybe a local kids' club would like to sponsor the event. Include the children in the planning stages for their "Halloween" party and let them be creative in their decorations. Anticipation of fun will bring even more kids, as the word gets around

Halloween celebrations have changed. This year make it a time for fun - not pranks; a time for safety - not fear. Bring the children in out of the dark and let the fun begin!