October 31st is fast approaching and whilst children excitedly start planning Halloween their parents thoughts turn to far more practical matters.
So, asks national charity Parentline Plus, what do families up and down the country get up to, and how can parents help their kids to have a ghoulish but happy Halloween?
The charity asked parents in an on-line poll what they would be doing this Halloween. With 365 parents responding, a majority 53 per cent of parents said their children would go trick or treating, 20 per cent said they would have fun in the home and a significant minority of 27 per cent of parents said they would not celebrate the event and would treat it like a normal day.
But whether we like it or not, Halloween has become a big event on the calendar and in the aisles of the supermarkets, a world-away from the more under-stated duck apple of yesteryear.
So, Parentline Plus has put together some top tips for parent by parents on hot topics such as how to keep trick or treating safe, limiting sugar rushes and keeping pester power at bay in shops and supermarkets.
“Halloween has become a big event over the years” says Dorit Braun, Chief Executive for Parentline Plus “parents want to have fun with their kids and ensure they are safe but it can also be a headache, especially as it is a school night – to get them into bed on time, make sure they don’t annoy the neighbours and don’t spend the weekly shopping budget on fangs
The charity says its Halloween campaign is designed to share parents’ ideas with other parents on hot topics as all its information and services do. Parentline Plus top tips for parents by parents
Be prepared for pester power when out shopping. Supermarkets have loads on offer so set a budget on what you are going to get with the kids before you go.
If you have time make things – there are loads of ideas on the internet.
- If you don’t fancy them trick or treating find out what the alternatives are. Schools, libraries and websites will be advertising children’s events and parties in local parks which are great fun and take the pressure off you.
- Have your own party, it doesn’t have to cost the earth and you can put on games such as apple bobbing and best costume competitions.
- Set your alarm clock for a cut off time when your children will stop eating sweets and when it’s bed time so you can calm them and get them off to sleep at a reasonable time on a school night
- To avoid your kids overloading on sugary sweets set ground rules beforehand
- Tell them they will not get any more sweets for the rest of the week and encourage them to ration them, or help them do this if they are young
- If they will be sharing out the sweets with siblings, cousins or friends, ensure they know beforehand so they won’t feel cheated
- Encourage relatives and friends to mix sweets up with alternatives such as boxes of raisins
- Set ground rules -If you are allowing older children to go trick or treating in all
the excitement even the best behaved children can forget their fun and games won’t
be appreciated by everyone
- Don’t knock on a house more than once and no knocking on windows
- Agree in advance what tricks they will use – you may have to ban some!
- Help them to understand that some people may be frightened or trying to get babies to sleep
- Set a curfew and agree what area/streets/houses they can go to
- To avoid scaring them, casually remind them not to go in strangers houses and to run and tell someone if they are worried about anything
- Ensure you talk to them about the dangers of fireworks and encourage them to come home if they see anyone messing around with fireworks