Halloween can be overwhelming…for parents trying to be “Pinterest Perfect,” for our already jam packed family schedules, and especially for kids who have special needs. That’s why I make a conscious effort to take a step back and keep things as simple as possible for one of the most hyped up holidays of the year. Now I’m not saying that I don’t give out candy at all to trick-or-treaters (I mean, do I want my brand new house to get egged?), nor do I avoid popping a big batch of popcorn and cuddling under a blanket to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Instead, I take these steps of how to simplify Halloween:
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*Search online garage sales, your grandparents’ basement, and consignment shops for costume inspiration. Oh, and don’t forget to put up last year’s costume (if in good condition, of course) for sale on a local online garage sale so you have some money to use towards this year’s costume.
*Craft your way to the big day. We love sensory play in our house because it is not only soothing for energetic kids but also for over tired parents. We love to make homemade play dough, but it doesn’t hold a candle to our most recent discovery: oobleck.
Why is oobleck so fun? It has both solid and liquid properties, and it is absolutely impossible to resist. To make, mix 2 parts corn starch with 1 part water. Add a few drops of food coloring to the water if desired, and you are done! For Halloween, we love to add those creepy plastic spiders you see everywhere, as well as the googly eyes you can find in the craft section at stores.
*Spend just as much time passing out candy and walking around the neighborhood on the hunt for it. Not only will everyone stay a whole lot warmer (it is a Chicago tradition to either snow or rain on Halloween…luck us, eh?), but you can also get a kick out of all of the creative costumes that come to your door.
*Make a super easy dinner for the entire family to help themselves using my favorite kitchen appliance, the slow cooker.
*Instead of a pumpkin carving mess, stick to easy pumpkin decorating kits. I mean, these kits are super affordable stickers are so much fun than sharp knives anyway!
*Set a schedule and stick to it. Don’t want to deal with whiny kids who don’t want to follow the neighborhood curfew? Then plan something fun to end the night, such as a contest to see who has the most treats, play a favorite movie and have a sleep over in the living room, pack up the family in the car with some hot cocoa and drive around to look at Halloween displays…the options are endless.
What is your favorite way to simplify Halloween? I’d love to learn your tips and tricks!