The haunted houses, hayrides, costume parties, and trunk-or-treat events are rapidly wrapping up. All that’s left of the spooky season is the pinnacle of Halloween activities: door-to-door trick-or-treating happens on the day itself, Wednesday, Oct. 31 (hours vary by community in the Champaign-Urbana area).
Which means, for some parents, the real scares are just beginning.
These are the folks who, for the first time, will decide to send the kids out to manage the candy begging all on their own.
OK, so scary may be a strong word to describe this prospect. Still, is it just me, or have there been a rash of soul-crushingly awful stories about crimes against children in the news lately? And, how can these not cross your mind when you finally relent and let the kids go off on their own?
Or, are you having the opposite experience–are you encouraging reluctant not-so-little ones to make the route by themselves this year without a sore thumb of a mom or dad hanging curbside for each door knock? Because, honestly? I’m pretty sure that’s the boat we’ll be in some day. I can’t see my kids ever begging us to go out alone; at some point we’ll probably need to suggest it, probably pretty strongly.
Ours are (sadly) not kids who spend a lot of time chumming it up with neighborhood pals; they don’t have within them the confidence of being able to navigate the streets alone. And, secretly, I’m very glad about that (see terrifying news stories, above. Or, don’t. In fact, you might be much happier if you don’t).
As a mom, I don’t think I’m super helicopter-y. Still, I’m glad that the decision to send the kids out on their own is one can I’m able to kick down the road, at least for another year.
Am I being a big, huge weenie? Or, do you think the world really is a scarier place than it used to be?
On a happier note, here are a few tips for making the most of your (mid-school week) Halloween night:
It’s easy to forget that the world at large is pretty excited about Halloween, too. But many folks are, so this 31st, stop in at a few of your family’s favorite hangouts to see how they’re celebrating. You may be delighted to find a librarian dressed as a pirate, or treats being handed out at your local fair trade retailer (a shameless Ten Thousand Villages plug, I admit it. And yes, we are handing out treats this Wednesday).
Let your kids hand out some treats, too.
I was delighted to find that my kids like dishing out treats almost as much as they enjoy getting them. Try budgeting some time (either before or after they go door-to-door) for your own kids to do treat duty; that may just be the thing that makes the experience for them.
Don a costume yourself.
I’ll admit; I may not take my own advice on this one. Scratch that: I’m going as a massively pregnant person. Possibly, one wearing a witch hat.
Every year, I end up wishing I had actually put a little thought and effort into a simple get-up that would delight myself, if no one else. So, this year I’m adding my own name (and possibly my husband’s) to the list for post-Halloween clearance costume shopping.
If Halloween gives us all permission to be kids again–and it does–you bet I’ll be milking it.
Rachael McMillan teaches sixth- and seventh-grade history at Campus Middle School for girls. She also tutors at The Reading Group and serves as the education coordinator for Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer in downtown Champaign. She is totally in love with her Chambana life, which she shares with husband Scott, second grader Jack, first grader Kate, and a soon-to-be-born baby boy her kids have named Bob.