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Celebrating Halloween with Kids: 7 Family Traditions

Celebrating Halloween with Kids: 7 Family Traditions

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I think I’m still in denial that it’s even time to start thinking about this, but holy cow, it’s almost Halloween!  I just love the holiday and have such great memories of spending it with my family and as I grew older, my best friends.  Now Halloween looks a whole lot different, of course…and I love it even more!  I swear that kids give you the perfect excuse to really dive head-first into these super fun holidays and feel no shame!  So, here are a few of my favorite Halloween traditions we’ve adopted for our little family so far:

1) Countdown chains: The kids start asking about Halloween in the middle of the summer every year so we always end up making a paper chain to count down the days.  I have a hard time getting our oldest to let me wait until October 1st to hang it up, but once it’s up she has a blast taking a link off every day and really gets excited to see it getting shorter and shorter.  We usually just do the standard orange and black chain, but this year I think we might go with something a little more fun like this cute witch or jack ‘o lantern:

Find this image and tutorial here.

Find this image and tutorial here.

Find this image and tutorial here.

Find this image and tutorial here.

2) Books:  We are a book-loving family and we have an entire collection just for the holidays.  On the first of October, we bring out the Halloween books and each night before bed they get to pick a couple to read.  They also each get one new Halloween book at the beginning of October and they’re old enough now that they’re picking their own, which is so much fun!  As they outgrow some of the books we’ll probably donate them, but for now they are all still very much loved.  Some of our favorites are "Room on the Broom", "Ten Timid Ghosts", "Spooky Pookie", and of course "Llama Llama Trick or Treat".  We also really love anything "Little Blue Truck" so I’m secretly hoping that they’ll pick this one to add to the collection this year. 😊

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3) Movies:  This is an ever-evolving list, but “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown”, “Hocus Pocus”, “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, “Casper”, and “Hotel Transylvania” are all family favorites.  We vary which movies we watch depending on who’s watching them (my three year old is still a bit spooked by “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, for example) and it’s a lot of fun to try new ones each year as they grow older.  I can’t wait until we can introduce them to “Harry Potter”!!

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4) Crafts: We usually do a few crafts to celebrate the season…coloring, cutting, gluing, all that fun stuff that they just can’t get enough of.  This can get a bit overwhelming if you spend any more than two minutes looking at Pinterest for ideas, so we try to keep it simple.

Cut and paste jack 'o lantern.

Cut and paste jack 'o lantern.

Making a fall collage from items she collected on a nature walk.

Making a fall collage from items she collected on a nature walk.

5) Fall festivals/pumpkin patches: This area where we live is just AMAZING when it comes to fall festivals for the kiddos in October.  I have so many photos from these, it’s ridiculous!  But we always have a great time and there’s plenty of pumpkin painting, hayrides, s’mores roasting, and scarecrow dressing to go around! 

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6) Family costumes: We’ve only recently started dressing up as a family.  It didn’t make sense to do it when we just had one tiny baby or when we had a two year old and a newborn.  But once they started getting older and started asking “What are you going to be for Halloween, Mama?” we gave in.  We’ve done this for the past two years and as much as I hate to admit it, it’s a lot of fun!  I don’t recall the adults ever dressing up when we were kids and I really think it could make for some fun memories for them so...why not?  As a side note, after Halloween we re-use as much of the costumes as we can (shoes, tights, headbands, etc), keep what we can for dress-up clothes, and sell the rest through community yard sale pages on Facebook!

Jack 'o lantern costume: wig, shirt, gloves, tutu, stockings Skeleton costume:  bodysuit (this isn't the exact one we bought, but it's close.  Also, my husband chose to wear shorts over his, lol) Witch costume: dress and hat, broom Black cat costume: bodysuit and hat

Jack 'o lantern costume: wig, shirt, gloves, tutu, stockings

Skeleton costume:  bodysuit (this isn't the exact one we bought, but it's close.  Also, my husband chose to wear shorts over his, lol)

Witch costume: dress and hat, broom

Black cat costume: bodysuit and hat

Mad Hatter costume: jacket, vest, shirt, bow tie, and hat can be found here; wig can be found here Queen of Hearts costume: dress, crown headband, flamingo (not pictured) Alice costume: dress (not the exact one we bought, but it's similar), headband, tights, shoes  White Rabbit costume: shirt, vest, bow tie, and shorts can be found here, hat can be found here Cheshire Cat costume: sleeper, hat

Mad Hatter costume: jacket, vest, shirt, bow tie, and hat can be found here; wig can be found here

Queen of Hearts costume: dress, crown headband, flamingo (not pictured)

Alice costume: dress (not the exact one we bought, but it's similar), headband, tights, shoes 

White Rabbit costume: shirt, vest, bow tie, and shorts can be found here, hat can be found here

Cheshire Cat costume: sleeper, hat

7) Handing out candy: Our kids are still really young so we trick-or-treat early.  Our neighborhood goes CRAZY at Halloween with the decorations, lights, inflatables, the works.  So, after the baby has had his fun and is ready for bed, we put him down and sit in the driveway to hand out candy to the older trick-or-treaters and enjoy the festivities (baby monitors are so freaking amazing, right?!).  Our two older kids love it because it’s one of just a few nights a year that they get to stay up late…and being outside in the dark??  Whoa!  They also usually end up spending a good bit of this time sitting in the driveway eating their candy together.

Having fun handing out candy...she didn't want to wash off her spiderman face paint fromt he fall festival so she was a spider-witch!

Having fun handing out candy...she didn't want to wash off her spiderman face paint fromt he fall festival so she was a spider-witch!

Farmer Papa and Fairy Layla helping to hand out candy.

Farmer Papa and Fairy Layla helping to hand out candy.

So how does your family celebrate Halloween?  Do you dress up as a family?  Throw a big party?  Make (or go to) a haunted house?  How did Halloween change for your family as your kids grew older?

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