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Preparing Foster Children and Newly Adopted Children for Halloween Fun

Is This Your Child's First Halloween?


Most Halloween fun comes from the traditional things like carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating.

Most Halloween fun comes from the traditional things like carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating, but many foster children have never experiences many of these fun activities!

Photo courtesy of Christina Dolezal

Halloween is a fun fall holiday, but for kids new to the holiday, whether foster or adoptive, it can be scary and not in a good Halloween way!

What can you do to help prepare new foster children or newly adopted children for Halloween?

Some Kids Have Never Gone Trick Or Treat Before

For some kids in foster care or who have been adopted internationally, Halloween can be over-whelming. One of my foster sons had never gone trick or treat before. Helping him get ready for the night was very exciting for us both. He turned out to be a very dashing, and of course, scary Vampire!

What Can You do to Help Kids Prepare for Halloween?

  • Read books together about fall, Halloween and trick-or-treating. For ideas visit Top 10 Halloween Books for Children selected by the Children's Book Guide.

  • Stroll down the Halloween section of stores and pick out fun props for decorating or get ideas to create spooky stuff on your own.

  • Enjoy Halloween movie favorites or television shows like It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown or other holiday hits offered on TV.

  • Carve a pumpkin together. Allow the kids to select the design and punch it onto the pumpkin. Make sure they understand that adults do the carving.

  • Look through magazines or online for costume ideas.

  • Let the kids choose their costumes or help create them. Make sure they can easily walk in the outfits, that there is nothing to trip on and that masks have large eye holes. Make-up is a better option as it doesn't obstruct vision.

  • Create fun and gross Halloween treats together.

Preparing to Go Trick or Treat

  • Go over safety rules like:

    • crossing the street
    • only go to houses where the porch light is on
    • don't eat candy before it's checked by an adult
      (Some hospitals offer free x-rays of candy to check for razor blades and other foreign objects.)

  • Teach your kids to trick-or-treat at houses where your family is familiar with the occupants.

  • Accompany the kids or have an older child, like a teen, go with them.

  • Talk about the fun some houses put into the night with scary music, lighting, or costumes. Being scared is more fun when you know it's fake.

  • Go over manners with the children, remind the kids to say, "Thank you" and to not disturb any fun props that a house might have on display in the yard or on the porch.

  • Set a time limit to the trick-or-treating so that the kids don't over do themselves or get enough candy to last until next Halloween.

  • Set out a fun dinner before the kids go trick or treat. Be creative and of course, gross. For example: put cheese-whiz on a pretzel and call it "buggers on a stick". Serve chilled grapes and call them eye balls. We love this tradition.

In the end if it all just gets to be too much for your child, look at other fall fun ideas that are not so scary. If your child is not allowed to celebrate Halloween, due to birth parent's request or religious reasons, find some ideas on what to do on October 31, instead of trick-or-treating.

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  5. Halloween Fun Can Be Scary for Foster and Newly Adopted Children

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