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Take the Scary Out of Halloween This Year — Do This Instead.

Parents, let’s give ourselves a break from the scary this Halloween. Instead, have some fun by focusing on the big picture — our kids and quality time.
Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
October 30, 2020
Minute Read

As of this week, the top-selling children’s costume on Amazon is the Grim Reaper. I suppose if any year’s most popular costume were to be a Grim Reaper, 2020 makes sense, but please. Let’s give ourselves a break from the scary this Halloween and have some fun instead.

You and your kids have been through a lot. These times are stressful for everybody for different reasons. As the holidays approach, it’s crucial that we focus as much as possible on gratitude, good, truth, and beauty. And this can start with Halloween.

Make Costumes Fun, Not Scary

Instead of the Grim Reaper or other creepy, scary creatures, encourage your child to dress as her favorite hero or heroine, or a character from her favorite T.V. show who spreads positivity. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on your child’s costume. That’s not an option for many of us right now anyway. Don’t stress about that. 

One of my favorite Halloween stories is about one of my friend’s now-adult daughter. When she was a little girl, she wanted nothing more than to be a fairy princess for Halloween.

Her mom pieced together an outfit out of her leotards from gymnastics and her father went down to his woodshop and put together a wooden “wand” complete with a star on the top. She loved it. She felt beautiful and twirled and pranced around the house.

On Halloween night, the mother and daughter went to a Girl Scout party where all the other little girls would be dressed up and showing off their best costumes. When they got to the party, her mother immediately noticed that the other little girls were princesses, too! But their costumes were not homemade.

They were the nicest money could buy, complete with tutus, flashing battery-powered wands, and gossamer wings. She looked down at her daughter, slightly embarrassed, and braced herself to explain. But her daughter didn’t say a word or even notice. She twirled and proudly showed off her outfit and the wand her Daddy had made for her by hand.

Mom realized that it didn’t matter to her daughter that her costume wasn’t as nice as the other girls. What mattered was the love and attention that went into the making of it.

This is what your kids will remember about this Halloween, not how cool or fancy their costumes were, but the love and interest you showed them.

Focus on Community

Halloween is an ideal holiday to safely meet up with friends, family, and neighbors because it’s centered around the outdoor activity of trick-or-treating. Even if you’re not trick-or-treating this year, you could schedule a socially distanced front-yard get together with your neighbors. Bring your own drinks and snacks, gather around a fire pit, and make s’mores. Whatever you do, spend some quality time together.

If COVID has taught us anything, it’s that we need one another. Don’t miss this opportunity to safely gather with your neighbors. Ask your kids if they can think of any of your neighbors who might be lonely. Older adults and single people have probably been missing their regular social lives. Invite them to spend time with you this Halloween. Including others will get you and your family in the holiday spirit early this year. And we all need a little bit of that holiday spirit.

Halloween 2020 will look different for a lot of reasons, but this doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate it well. Focus on fun rather than scary activities and costumes and use this unique holiday to meet with your neighbors, check in on them, and include the ones who might be lonely. When you shift your perspective, this could be one of the best Halloweens your child has ever had.

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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