10.30.13 Liz Pearce, Director of Parent Engagement
Children’s Museum of Richmond and Commonwealth Parenting
To minimize candy overload, feed your kids dinner before trick-or-treating. Now’s your chance to review the ground rules for Trick-or-Treating.
Teach your kids to only go to houses where the lights are on, and to accept treats at the door but never go inside a house. This is a perfect time to shadow your 8 – 10 year old child from a safe distance, and observe his decision-making skills.
If you aren’t trick-or-treating with your child, make sure you know their route and set a curfew. You can even have them check-in by cell phone at certain predetermined spots. Another opportunity to check their level of maturity and trustworthiness.
Halloween events, even those that are designed to be fun rather than scary, can be full of potential triggers for children’s phobias. Follow your child’s lead and don’t push him or her to overcome her fear. Find a job at home for children that are reluctant to trick-or-treat. Encourage your child to face his or her fear on her own terms, with you right behind them all the way.
The liquid inside glow sticks is made of dibutyl phthalate, and is meant to stay inside — toddlers shouldn’t chew on them, and older kids shouldn’t break open the sticks and use the fluorescent liquid as body paint. Encourage your risk-taking kid to look up dibutyl phthalate on the internet to see just exactly what it is.This should discourage him or her.
Have fun on the days before Halloween by “ghosting” your neighbors. Put a few treats in a Trick-or-Treat pumpkin, insert a paper cutout of a ghost, and leave it at a neighbors door. Their job is to put the paper ghost inside their window, and then “ghost” someone else who doesn’t have a ghost inside their window. This is great one-on-one time with your child, putting together supplies and walking around the neighborhood.
Sort candy with your child and save it in Ziploc bags for the future. Remove all candies smaller than the size of a grape from your young child’s bag, and double check older siblings’ bags.Multiple parenting benefits – counting with your child, planning ahead, delaying gratification, etc.
If you have extra candy left over, call nursing homes, homeless shelters or assisted living facilities and inquire if they take candy donations. Showing your child how to donate to those less fortunate boosts character and kindness.
Another idea for extra Halloween candy – chop up the candy, freeze and use as a mix-in for ice cream or cookie recipes. This is a great way to enjoy the candy for months to come.