Think Halloween is just for having fun and eating lots of treats? It is. But it can also provide a great opportunity for kids to practice a number of life skills they’ll need as adults.
What’s not for a kid to love about Halloween? Dressing up, spending time with friends, enjoying the community. And the candy – yes, who could forget the candy…
But Halloween also presents an opportunity for kids to practice a number of life skills they’ll need as adults.
Here are five that spring to mind:
You might not consider creative thinking a “life skill” per se. But experts around the globe tell us that creative thinking will be an essential skill when our kids graduate and enter the job market.
Planning Halloween costumes is a great chance for kids to think outside the box and get their creative juices flowing. Just as important as getting kids to brainstorm unique ideas for costumes is helping them think through how they’ll create whatever they choose.
Realistically, not every parent has the time or means to help their kids make a costume from scratch. But even modifying a store-bought costume a little can help kids begin to think outside-the-box (literally) and make their costume even just a little bit more special.
Need a few ideas to get you started? Here are 36 easy homemade costume ideas from the DIY Network.
The cost of a costume or supplies used to make a costume can add up. Getting kids involved in the purchasing process provides the perfect opportunity for them to learn budgeting skills. They can work with you on considering the cost of different items, making trade-offs, seeking out bargains. This all ultimately furthers their understanding of what it means to handle money carefully.
Here’s an idea for how to do it:
If you already know how much you can afford to spend on a costume, tell your son or daughter this amount before you begin shopping. Then, bring them with you as you head off shopping for supplies, or let them sit with you as you scroll through pre-made costumes on Amazon.
Taking advantage of small opportunities like these to get kids thinking about managing money will help them understand the fundamentals of budgeting when they’re living on their own.
Depending on your child’s age and where you live, Halloween can be a perfect opportunity to let your child begin to experience more independence by going trick-or-treating on their own and self-navigating their way around the neighborhood.
Every family has to determine the right age to allow kids to trick-or-treat independently. For our family, we let our oldest trick-or-treat on her own around age 8. What helped was having her wear her Gizmo watch which lets us get in touch with her when we need to and also provides a GPS to let us see where she is in the neighborhood. (We bought our watch on discount – if you’re looking for a less expensive option see: Touch Kids GPS Tracker SmartWatch)
Since our neighborhood doesn’t have street lights and can get very dark at night, we also insist that our kids wear glow-in-the-dark bracelets and necklaces and they also have fun carrying light up torches.
Be sure to talk to kids about your family rules about trick-or-treating, such as sticking to a pre-planned path and at what time you expect them home. Here are 5 Trick-or-Treating rules to consider discussing with kids before they head out on their own.
I’ve got to admit that the candy part of Halloween is my least favorite. What kid really needs more candy — especially a whole bucket full?
I can’t claim that we’ve come up with the perfect solution for handling all that candy at our house. But this is what we’ve tried — and it seems to work:
On the night of Halloween, the girls essentially eat as much candy as they feel like – no delayed gratification here. But then we moderate candy intake to 2 pieces of candy a night after dinner.
We’re hoping the discipline that starts the night after Halloween is what will teach them delayed gratification – which is especially important in today’s “buy now, pay later” world. But we also want to avoid inadvertently increasing their desire for more candy by making it completely off limits. And we want to help them learn about moderating daily sugar intake in general. (And yes, I realize for many people even what we allow would be too much).
Thoughtfulness and Generosity
Given my distaste (no pun intended) for all the candy we end up with every Halloween, this year I’m hoping to try something new.
More and more charities accept Halloween candy donations. This can be a double win because not only does it reduce the total amount of candy in your home, it’s also pushing kids to be generous with something very tangible – their “hard-earned” candy.
There are a number of non-profit organizations that accept Halloween donations and mail them to U.S. troops overseas:
Making the most of every opportunity
Life skills are learned with practice, and Halloween is just one occasion for kids to grow in their independence and understanding of what it takes to be self-sufficient.
Using every opportunity we can to ask ourselves – Is this a chance for my son or daughter to take on more responsibility? – will begin to set our kids up for success when they’re living on their own.
Happy Halloween everyone!