At my house, we LOVE Halloween, I mean, really love it. The adorable children in costumes, pumpkin goodies, pilfering candy from strangers, sorting each type of treat into separate piles at the end of the night… its all fun! Right?
Well, let’s get real. Every part of the Halloween experience isn’t necessarily a “treat” for the whole family, especially with toddlers and preschoolers. In my house, we dove into Halloween in September by pulling out all of our costumes, pumpkin decor, and trick or treat bags. You’ll be able to easily spot me with my kids in public. Just look for the mom at Target with two little boys a.k.a. spiderman, pirate, or ninja turtle in tow. If it were up to my kiddos, I’d be carrying a trick or treat bag as a purse. Everyday. For two straight months. Help me.
When daily life consists of more costume changes than an average day at the Halloween store, parents- you know you are in for an exhausting Halloween season. If I could tally the times that I help my “I can do it myself” four-year-old in and out of his ninja turtle costume, the count is seemingly up in the thousands. By 8am, I feel as though I have asked “Do we really neeeeeed to find the nunchucks, AND perfectly secure the turtle shell, AND put on the elbow pads, AND carefully place the eye mask?” for the 80th time. Then, the fun of “Let’s pretend we are trick or treating” begins. At my house, this is where we have to gather all of our earthly possessions to be given as a bounty to pretend trick or treating minions. Fantastic. I’m totally game to stack all of our matchbox cars, fast-food trinkets, bath toys, dirty clothes, and sippy cups in the middle of the living room in an attempt to play along with my children for an hour. “Mommy, KEEP PLAYING! We are still trick or treating!!” Oooof. Need. More. Coffee.
Sometimes it is hard to play along as I’m thinking of the dishes, the mountain of laundry, and the grout that needs to be scrubbed in the bathroom. But, by diving into this pretend play scheme, I have fostered my child’s social-emotional development in a way that enriches their life. I am nurturing their creativity, I am igniting their imaginative play skills, and am teaching the invaluable skill of turn-taking. And, in the end, I am teaching them the importance of responsibility and rule-following when they have to help me clean up the massive trick or treating aftermath!
So, embrace the Elsa, Minion, Jake, Turtle, Doc, Ghost, or other popular character obsession in your child’s life and rock the world of imaginative play!