Halloween didn’t used to be a big deal in the UK, but that’s all changed. From ‘competitive costumes’ through to trekking through the streets with your little ones to take in all the best decorated houses, Halloween can cause all kinds of problems, but not if you use our great guide.
Use safety as a game
In the weeks leading up to Halloween, your nanny can use the planned fun of Halloween as a way to help your children develop a robust attitude to safety – for example planning a route for your trick or treating can help your children understand using a map and why you might avoid certain areas because they are badly lit, you don’t know where they lead. Working on costumes can include questions about wearing sensible shoes and designing an outfit that won’t obscure vision or be a trip hazard – and also that won’t terrorise smaller children. It’s all a great learning experience. You can go into why you don’t eat the sweets you collect as you are going around until you get home and can check their wrappings are secure etc.
You can help your children understand that only houses with lights on – and preferably with decorations outside – should be visited and teach them never to go inside a stranger’s house.
Be age conscious
What older children take in their stride can be terrifying to younger ones, so you and your nanny can plan different routes for trick or treating with the older ones ranging more freely, while the little ones only visit ‘safe’ houses where you already know the families and can trust they won’t open the door dressed like Walking Dead characters or scare your babies with home made horror treats like jelly worms or marshmallow eyeballs.
Prep like a pro
Our top nanny candidate from the USA grew up trick or treating and has some excellent tips such as: feed your children a big, easy to eat dinner (she recommends macaroni cheese!) to stop them begging to snack on their treats as they walk the streets. She also says that you should slide a couple of treats into your own bag so that if your children start to whine and play up you can give them a ‘treat’ you can guarantee is safe. Something that takes a bit of eating like a fruit roll is ideal, as it will take them longer to munch through it.
Craft the season
Your nanny is ideally placed to help your child design some Halloween decorations, create a playlist, make some parts of their costume from scratch and even assist in cooking a pumpkin pie or a rich pumpkin soup as part of the run up to the big day.
Be pet aware
Because Bonfire Night is just around the corner, it’s a good time to remind your children about pets, and wildlife more generally, and their needs at this time of year. Make sure they know that pets should never be fed sweets (Xylitol, which is found in many sweets is fatal to dogs, chocolate can damage their organs badly and onions are bad for most animals but really dangerous for cats). All animals are likely to be upset by fireworks and should be protected from loud bangs.
Photograph courtesy of Jarek Tuszynski via Wikimedia Commons