If there’s one holiday that my husband will never skip, it’s Halloween.
Even long before we had our son, he’d start talking about the holiday in August. He knew what day local stores would put their Halloween decor online, he knew when the Halloween pop-up shops opened (and where they were located), and he always bought a costume — even if we had no plans for the actual day. He loved taking me to scare mazes or spook fests and one year, I even threw him a Halloween-themed birthday.
When I found out I was pregnant four days before Halloween, we celebrated that night by going to a fun, “spooky” mystery walk-through at Lyndhurst mansion in Sleepy Hollow. We also started referring to our baby-on-the-way as our little pumpkin, a nickname that has stuck with him to this day.
Last year, our son was four months old in October and I was nearing the end of my maternity leave, so we had time to make his first Halloween one to remember. We had a hard time settling on one baby costume—baby Halloween costumes are the cutest as well as being surprisingly affordable—so we got him a special giraffe costume for the day, in honor of his favorite toy, Sophie la Giraffe.
The point is, we love Halloween. And whether you’re celebrating with an outing this year, or just hanging at home, here are some ideas to make Halloween a spooky good time for everyone.
Deck the Halls with Child-Appropriate Halloween Decorations
We’re also going to go all-out in decorating our home with non-scary mummies, silly witches, mummies, and cute ghosts. Think fun—not scary—light-up ghosts and pumpkins—that my husband and I have basically decided will set the whole tone for this year’s Halloween in our household.
Smiling Pumpkin Fun
LED Pumpkin Halloween Lights
Want to set a spooky scene without getting too scary? These smiling pumpkin Halloween lights will do just the trick! They're durable and waterproof, so you can hang them outside to delight trick-or-treaters (plus, they have an option to run with batteries, which is super convenient). Or, hang them up inside and blast some Halloween music with your kids. Two modes: flashing or steady, for extra spooky fun.
Make Your Own “Haunted House”
Our son is still a little too young for kids Halloween movies, but we’re already compiling a song list, which includes, among other things, “Monster Mash” and the Halloween edition of “Baby Shark,” a song that our son already likes to “bop” and twirl around to for our own family-friendly version of a haunted house.
Paint all the Pumpkins
We’re not sure if my husband and I are going to carve a pumpkin, but one thing is for sure: we’re going to let our son decorate his own pumpkin with stickers and washable paint (no pumpkin guts required).
Get Your Paint On
This washable finger painting kit has everything you need to get your little one started on a buddy creative career--or just keep them entertained for an afternoon. The kit includes 4 non-toxic washable colors, perfect for finger painting, and 10 sheets of glossy painting paper. Recommended for ages 12 months and up.
Read Some Spooky Stories
My son is at the age where he loves flipping through board books, so I’ve started a little on-theme book collection with titles like “Never Touch a Spider,” “Goodnight Goon,” “The Legend of the Great Pumpkin” and “Eek! Halloween!”
The Legend of the Great Pumpkin Peanuts Book
It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. This Halloween book is a classic and even if your child doesn't quite understand the magic of Charlie Brown just yet, they will still love the fun words, silly dog, and colorful characters that abound. Plus, it's just good, clean, Halloween fun.
Brew up Some Halloween Goodies
We didn’t really do a smash cake for our son’s first birthday (which was also during quarantine), so I’ve decided to look into recipes for fun fall-flavored smash cakes, like pumpkin or apple-cinnamon, that we can bake at home and then let him destroy. I think it will be a lot of fun letting our little pumpkin destroy his own little pumpkin cake.
I love ready-made Halloween baking kits, like graveyard brownies your toddler can decorate all on their own. Takes the work out of a day that’s meant to be all about celebrating with spooky fun—however that looks this year.
And for the easiest ever Halloween goody trick, try this: pick up a pack of graham crackers, some edible googly eyes, and a can of frosting and let them create all the googly-eyed creatures they want. Our family did this and had an absolute blast!
Graveyard Oreo Kit
We're a huge fan of Halloween fun that combines the best of all worlds: a craft that toddlers can make on their own, baking made easy, and a delicious desert when all is said and done. My kids LOVE this kit and I love that it's under 10 bucks and includes everything we need for some Halloween fun, candy, icing, and cookies all-in-one.
Take a “Spooky” Family Portrait
We’re going to kick things off this Halloween season by taking a spooky family portrait. After exhaustive costume research and lots of debate over the merits of monsters vs. robots vs pirates, my husband and I have decided that the theme this year will be Frankenstein’s monster, his bride, and the mad scientist. Our son will be the scientist — of course.
We’ve pre-ordered our adult costumes and ordered an adorable mad scientist jacket and stuffed mouse for our son. I’m still on the look-out for a prop, like a beaker, that would be safe for him to play with but haven’t had much luck. (I’m not giving up yet though!) We’ve also ordered a Frankenstein costume for our dog—if she’ll tolerate it —and we’ll try to get her to pose for the photo too, though who knows if she’ll sit still that long.
And hey, maybe this will become a family tradition—at least until our son doesn’t think it’s cool anymore.
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