Halloween is a fun tradition for many families, including my own. My kids are always excited to show off their costumes to our closest neighbors and spend time walking door to door with their friends. But before we head out, I want to make sure their tummies are full and they have enough energy to make it through the neighborhood.
I’ve rounded up some of our quickest and most favorite Halloween dinner ideas. When my kids were just toddlers, these fun recipes were also a fun holiday themed activity and eating our creepy morsels was part of the fun.
MUMMY PIZZA from “Cents”able Mama uses store bought ingredients to make this fun dinner fast!
BAKED QUESADILLAS from That Fit Fam are perfect for your little cheese lover! Serve with some carrot sticks or an apple sauce pouch for a quick meal before heading out the door.
SWEET AND SOUR BAT WINGS from Sprinkles and Sprouts. How spooky are these?? Marinate overnight in the fridge and put in the oven in time for your pre-treat dinner.
If you have time to make all of these at once you’ll have a variety of fun things to offer the kids before heading out for candy. We usually don’t serve a dessert since we know we are going to eat a bunch of candy as soon as we get home. Happy treating!
What’s your favorite Halloween recipe to make?
Roxanne Ferber is a twin mom, blogger and freelance writer. She spends most of her time making food her kids won’t eat and fantasizing about how a beach vacation where naps are required. You can find her at The Whatever Mom on Facebook and on Instagram. For more recipe ideas, follow her on Pinterest.
I know Halloween is over and we are already on to Christmas and that in between holiday known as Thanksgiving. So, why am I still going on about Halloween? Well, I learned a lot about how driven I am as a mom to make perfect memories at every holiday. And by perfect I mean making my family look like everyone else’s. As in going to all the same parties and activities. Navigating the social scene as a parent is way different for me than it was for my parents. I wrote this the weekend before Halloween when the pressure was high to get in on all of the festivities at once.
My how times have changed since I was a kid. We got dressed up for one party in a costume that my mom made from things we found around the house, and we hit one neighborhood for candy. We got what we got and we liked it. We didn’t complain! Not even when we were forced to pick up a penny with a fork (some adults idea of a good time on Halloween). Now it seems there are parties everywhere from church parking lots, to your local library to main street businesses. It is almost overwhelming to choose the perfect party to attend so that you don’t miss out on the fun. I’m an adult with a full case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I can only imagine how the hoopla at every holiday makes a kid feel! I don’t want to be the only one not posting my pics of free swag, or fun stuff we picked up at some party. I don’t want to be the only parent sitting on the sideline from having a fun filled day and making warm, perfect memories for us to rummage through in ten years. But I am.
Our weekend plans did not happen; mostly because they were only MY plans. No matter how much fun I threw at my kids this weekend they were not having it. One kid wanted to go to the pumpkin patch, the other kid didn’t and neither kid wanted to walk in a parade. My kids hate crowds and really noisy places. All of the fun things required us to join a mass of strangers and make things, or dress in a costume to ask for candy. I thought these all sounded like great ways to participate in Halloween. No one in my family felt the same way. And honestly, it felt a little soul sucking. I am not much of a homebody. I like to be home now and then to relax from the hustle and bustle of being social. I love the feeling of being out of the house all day enjoying time with friends, being outside and enjoying new experiences. But that is not how my kids are hardwired, and frankly neither is my husband.
Very early in the day on Saturday I became completely frustrated and about to throw in the towel on having a fun weekend making memories when my kids totally surprised me. One kid pulled out a bag of Halloween crafts we had yet to finish, while my other kid asked her dad to cue up the Halloween play list. Then a kid suggested,” why don’t we make some goody bags for our friends and teachers at school? We definitely have enough of these crafts to share! “And so the project began. When I looked up from my stickers and pom-poms I could see my kids rockin’ out and jamming along to the Munster’s them song, jumping up to dance to Thriller and completely enjoying themselves. This is their element- being at home.
By Sunday I gave up on getting us out of the house to participate in festivities. I left to go grocery shopping and returned to a fully decorated house, “they insisted” my husband reported. There were all their favorite hand print pumpkins hanging about and they hung the Halloween garland I completely forgot about. As I unloaded the groceries my daughter asked me if we could make an apple pie with the apples still left from her school apple picking trip. “Sure,” I said.
Again someone cranked up the Halloween tunes and we got to rockin’ in the kitchen, all of us together as a family. It was literally like a scene from a movie depicting an exaggerated picture of family togetherness. My daughter was singing into her wooden spoon in between stirring, my other daughter was busting out some dance moves on the spot, while I hummed away at peeling the apples. My husband dutifully played his part as the bumbling dad trying to make everyone laugh with his (not so) cool moves. It was … perfect. It wasn’t what everyone else was doing that weekend. But it was what we were doing… together. And when everyone is trading their cookie cutter weekend stories, we’ll be sharing memories that are uniquely our own.
How do you let go of the feelings of missing out on special things during the holidays?
The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia
If you have never heard of sensory processing disorder you are not the only one. Most parents do not know what this is until their child is diagnosed with the disorder. The difficulty is that even with a diagnosis, you as a parent may have no clear and final definition of what makes your kid tick. Every kid is different and it can take time to identify your child’s sensory triggers.
According to the website Understood.org, children with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) “may be oversensitive or undersensitive to the world around them. When the brain receives information, it gives meaning to even the smallest bits of information. Keeping all that information organized and responding appropriately is challenging for them.”
As unique as your child is, so is the way their brain processes things like smell, taste and touch. Some kids never notice the feeling of a tag on their shirt, or the seam in their socks. But there are kids who are so distracted by this sensation that they can cry or scream, or even become aggressive. If you have a kid with sensory issues you are not alone! One in twenty children live with some varying degree of sensory processing disorder. Navigating daily life can be a struggle, let alone having to wear an itchy costume in a crowded, loud setting.
Both of my children have mild sensory issues which mostly involves volume levels and large crowds. When they were little I didn’t take them very far on Halloween. The year we let them choose on their own which houses to stop at was the year they decided they liked trick or treating. Now we let them take us as far as they want to go, we carry extra snacks and we call it quits when they get overwhelmed. We begin our evening slow and head home in time to hand out treats.
I polled some of my mom friends who are in the know about sensory processing and the sensory demands of Halloween. The best piece of advice: is to not force your child beyond their limits. Halloween activities are for their enjoyment and it is OK to let them enjoy activities in their own way. If your child can only handle wearing a small piece of their costume, or no costume at all, let that be enough. My friend Erin shares that one year she let her son go as himself at his request. “Thankfully the people around us accepted that. And he had a great Halloween because he could do his own thing.”
Select a costume that is mask free, or does not require face paint. Let your kids use their own familiar clothing as part of their costume to help them enjoy dressing up. For kids with auditory sensory issues, using noise cancelling headphones works great. For kids who are sensitive to bright lights, start your trick or treat night as early as possible and take advantage of the day light. If your child tires easily map out a short route, or bring along a wagon to let them take a break. And again, it’s OK if you cut your time short and head back home early.
Being a parent of a child with sensory issues can feel overwhelming, but imagine being the child who is struggling to process so much sensory information at once. It can provoke a lot of anxiety not knowing what is happening next. Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant Gina Bergdall suggests allowing your child to carry a fidget toy. This will allow them a constructive “place to focus their anxiety on.” Bergdall also shares these tips provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
It may also be helpful to pick only a few places to trick or treat and review that plan with your child before hand. If they know they are only going to 5 or 6 houses nearby, they can feel a sense of control ticking the number of houses off the list. Seeing familiar faces can also make them feel more at ease.
HOW TO EMBRACE
If your child is overly sensitive to crowds or noises there is no rule that mandates they go trick or treating. You can make some really amazing traditions right at home. Bake some great treats, make a fun meal together, or if they want to, let them help with handing out candy. Invite the grandparents or family over for pizza and a movie. There is no wrong way to participate in Halloween! Staying at home where it is familiar may be just what your child needs to celebrate comfortably.
I get it moms! Having to make these kinds of accommodations often feels like our children are missing out on experiences other kids get to have, or the experiences we had as kids. But really, the holiday is about our kid’s enjoyment. If that looks different than the way other families celebrate, that’s OK. Embrace your unique traditions! If your child is comfortable at home watching Halloween specials and eating popcorn, join them! Deciding to follow their lead helps them feel capable! Plus, sharing a special night in together as your Halloween tradition is way more relaxing than walking around in the cold wearing a cookie cutter costume.
The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer toHudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured onMamapedia