Tricky Halloween for Your Kids

50s girlAutumn approaches and here in Austin, Texas we have finally experienced a bit of a break in a long hot summer.

I love October through November. I love the colors, the smell of cinnamon everywhere (or is that pumpkin spice??) and quality of the light as it hits the trees, but in Texas it is often drab, and usually very short. Oh well, January is often lovely, so I suppose there is a balance in everything!

When our daughters were small, they dressed up for Halloween every single year. Even as babies they had their little costumes and I took great delight in our Halloween trips up and down the street where we taught them the proper etiquette of “Trick or Treat!”

It was interesting to me as they grew, to see that they shared my flair for the dramatic and fun when it came to costumes and most importantly, the appropriateness of the attire. My older daughter’s observation was that the holiday seemed to be an opportunity for girls to be “skanky” when they usually were not.

I looked around with her perspective and found that was true, and that the costumes offered as they grew into their teens were often very sexual in nature. We would go to a local costume store to figure out what they were going to be this year, and were often challenged to find something that wasn’t low-cut, high cut or simply tacky. The titles of the costumes said it all. “Sexy Witch, Sexy Sorceress, Sexy Ghost, Sexy OWL…”

Say what? I was amazed that they could even make that last one! My friends with boys said that often the same issues cropped up for them when it came to blood, gore, and violent personas.

What can you do to help your kids make appropriate choices within your value system and budget when it comes to costumes?

  •   Talk about it before you go to the store and agree on what you are comfortable with, balanced with what they think they want. If you wait until you get there, you will be overwhelmed with the choices and may make an impulse buy you will regret.
  •   Be clear on why you feel the way you do about any given issue. Remember, they can’t live up to your expectations until they know them.
  •   Set a budget and stick to it. If a costume idea takes more than what you have allotted, agree ahead of time that you will help them create something that will work instead.
  •   Put yourself in their shoes (if you can) and find a balance between “what everyone else is wearing,” and what your family values dictate. Consider giving a little here to gain a little there.
  •   Be safe, be smart, and check over all of the candy before allowing your kids to eat it. Anything unsealed should go in the trash and we found limiting the girls to five to ten pieces (depending on size) when they got home cut down on the horrible sugar highs, but gave them a very celebratory feeling!
  •   Have fun with it!

If your family values don’t include Halloween as a holiday, consider allowing your child to have a small party with other like-minded families and just celebrate Autumn. It may go a long way toward making them feel that they have not “missed all the fun.”

Have a wonderful Autumn and Happy Halloween!

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