Don’t Be Scary - 5 Fun Ways To Make Halloween Preschool-friendly
17 October 2019
Halloween is fantastic holiday, full of magical creatures and activities. That’s why it’s important to remember that your preschooler is still learning to tell the difference between fantasy and reality. For example, two-year-olds often think the moon follows them! And young children truly believe that real monsters live under their beds.
For this reason, when you celebrate Halloween with your preschooler, it is very important to not emphasize or focus on the holiday’s scary parts. While you can’t avoid the masses of Halloween merchandise, you can steer clear of including anything frightening for your child. The ability to tell the difference between what is real and what is not will grow naturally over your little one’s preschool years. There will be plenty of time for “scary fun” when your child truly understands that it’s not real and is just make believe, around the age of 5. So take advantage of this special time to focus on fun!
With that said, here are 5 everyday ways to have a boo-tiful, preschool Halloween:
- Chat about Halloween. Preschoolers will wonder about all the new and different things popping up in the stores and around your community. Explain that Halloween is a holiday for doing fun things together, like dressing up, seeing friends and getting special treats. You can also make the most of the holiday by reading children’s books that feature “scary things” in a preschool-friendly way. Look out for preschool books that can be an appropriate read during your Halloween season, like Have You Seen My Monster by Steve Light.
- Focus on celebrating Fall together. Halloween is only one small part of the celebration of the season of fall. Changes are all around during Fall, so focus on this special time of year by doing simple things. Take a walk outside to watch the birds fly south. Watch how the colored leaves fall to the ground. Cut a few tree branches, take them home and put them in a vase for a fall bouquet. Or, go to the grocery store and buy a small, preschool-sized pumpkin to decorate. Drawing a face on their pumpkin with markers is both easy and safe for your preschooler. And, celebrating Halloween as part of the change in season is a great way to encourage your preschooler’s change perception and seasonal awareness skills, too!
- Keep it low-key and low-sugar. Halloween can be an over-stimulating experience for preschoolers, who thrive on routine. Too many Halloween parties and sweets will unsettle most young ones, often causing meltdowns and misbehavior. So, plan ahead to limit the number of Halloween events in your preschooler’s routine. One or two parties will be plenty! Plus, this will help you limit the number of treats collected. (Counting all those treats together can be a fun math activity too!) It’s healthy to limit the number of treats your preschooler can eat after Halloween as well. Just tell them, “You can choose one piece from your bag each day.” Of course, out of your preschooler’s view, use your judgement and discard anything that is truly too sweet or not fitting for your child.
- Have a small Halloween get- together. Instead of taking your little one to a big Halloween party which is often much too much for preschoolers, plan a small, informal gathering featuring snacks made together. This way you can create and celebrate your own healthy snacks over the usual, sugary Halloween treats. Check out our Food Experiences activities for suggestions on easy snacks for little ones to make. And our article, Sweet Plan - How to Control Sugar in Your Child’s Diet, has simple ways to ensure healthy eating for your little one everyday!
- Let your preschooler choose simple, familiar costumes. Your preschooler will definitely enjoy dressing up and “becoming” a person or character. Halloween costumes can be preschool-friendly if your focus is on characters and people that are familiar, and not frightening to your child. So, ask your preschooler what favorite storybook character, animal, or person in their life they would like to dress up as. Let them decide! You can also avoid scary, unfamiliar costumes by creating your own easy, costumes. You can make a Paper Bag Vest, create an original hat with our Mad Hatters activity, and find other DIY costumes our Let’s Dress Play Up Guide. This way, your preschooler is totally in charge of who they want to be. Also, it’s a good idea to show off their costumes a low-key way, again by limiting the number of places you visit. You’ll make once-in-a-lifetime memories by simply sharing your preschooler’s special Halloween costume with friends and family!
Boo! There you have it! I hope these ideas help you enjoy this special time in your child’s life by having a fun Halloween together. Let us know how it went right here!
Want to know more about how your preschooler learns about the difference between real and make-believe? Check out our age-specific articles, Those Remarkable, Terrible Two's, Three's Are Thrilling, and Fours Are Fabulous for even more practical info and ideas to fit your kiddo's development!