Halloween is a popular holiday nowadays but what do you do if you kid hates scary stuff, is easily anxious, gets freaked out by his own eye balls and can’t cope with anything remotely spooky?
It can be a challenge if you want to do something fun as a family at Halloween, join in with school or with friends or do dress up…
As Halloween was originally a pagan festival, it’s roots are not in scary things (you know like the ‘evil’ version of Halloween) but rather based on fertility, ritual and fallow ground. So how can you get involved with Halloween without scaring your kid? Here are some ideas:
1/ Go door to door with baked treats (but not tricks!) like Halloween biscuits or cupcakes
2/ Watch Halloween movies together (like Hocus Pocus, Ghostbusters etc) and make popcorn.
3/ Visit a pumpkin patch to pick out a Halloween pumpkin.
4/ Carve your pumpkin together, you can even create a non spooky theme for them like make them look like animals or something cute!
5/ Alternatively you can paint your pumpkin instead of carving it – this can be bright, cheerful and as decorative as you like.
6/ Bake Halloween cookies
7/ Go on a Halloween walk in your local park in the day time or as its just getting dark. Take lots of torches and lights and plan songs to sing as you walk to keep it jolly and jovial.
8/ Dress up together in non scary Halloween costumes! They can be anything really, they can be animals, Disney characters, characters from their favourite book, a policeman, fireman or knight! They don’t have to be Halloween themed!
9/ Make your own Halloween decorations for the house! These can then be as non scary as you like – bright pumpkins, stars, moons – be creative in how you can represent Halloween without the usual ghosts, spiders and witches! Use orange and purple streamers or make your own halloween coloured paper chains!
10/ Halloween bingo! Draw a different Halloween scene for each number or create your own Halloween themed Bingo cards using Halloween silhouettes!
11/ Halloween themed I spy game. Write out some Halloween objects (e.g pumpkin, skull, spider etc.) on separate pieces of paper and then hide them in different rooms of your house. Go on a Halloween themed I spy treasure hunt!
12/ Halloween story telling. Collect Halloween stories to read together. You can also use Halloween songs and rhymes to create your own Halloween story time event! Look out for Halloween books in libraries or second hand book shops
13/ Halloween themed board game. Get creative and make your own Halloween themed board game! Draw different Halloween symbols (e.g ghosts, bats, spiders) on separate pieces of paper and get players to collect Halloween symbols whilst avoiding Halloween spooky objects (e.g tombstone, skull) You can make this as non scary as you like but can also use it as a way to introduce some of the more ‘spooky’ items in a fun way.
14/ Halloween colouring in. There are some Halloween templates available online. Print them off and get your child to colour them in! Try not to use Halloween colours (e.g black, dark blue) as these can be hard for young children to identify and if they are already feeling anxious about it, you can use other colours – bright orange, pinks and purples to give them a different association with Halloween.
15/ Play games such as apple bobbing and sweetie mouth dangle. This involves hanging penny sweets on the end of different length string. Tie the string to a horizontal stick and blindfold the player. They have to use their mouth to get as many sweets off the strings in a minute!
16/ Create a Halloween countdown activity – this can be a picture of anything you like which you create or use a ready-made picture you find. We created a house collage and created a 7 day countdown and so had 7 doors on our house and used stickers to stick to each door. We then stuck a matching sticker for each door onto a Halloween themed storybook or activity sheet and hid these around the house. On each day your child can hunt for the matching sticker and do the activity / storybook for that day.
17/ Who doesn’t love a treasure hunt, and a treasure hunt is definitely more fun than scary! Hide non scary clues around your house and garden along with a treat. Write riddles or use hot and cold clues to help children in their quest. Or you can download the Hocus Pocus Treasure Hunt here which has ready-made clues, riddles and even (non-scary) videos from Merlin the Wizard – maximum fun for kids and ready-made, easy fun for adults!
We hope these ideas have been helpful. Remember Halloween isn’t about scaring people, it’s about having fun! And it’s fine to remind your own kids about this so they don’t feel embarrassed by not liking the scary bits! It’s also a great opportunity to remind them that its ok to feel scared and we all fee scared and the most important thing is to ask for help when we feel scared or worried.
Have a great non-scary Halloween! Let us know what activities your child liked best!