Practical Tips for Parents on Halloween...Commentary

Halloween is the beginning of the holiday season. For very young children, children who are two or three or even four, holidays have an unknown agenda; it's excitement for the first time. Go slow and talk to them.

Too often adults forget that young children don't know what to do with a costume or a bag full of candy or about that scary pumpkin that seems to be on fire. So sit down on their level, get their attention and talk to them.

It's all new, and going slowly and showing young - youngs the details of trick or treat or dressing up or going door to door to beg for treats can be just a marvelous experience if it's not taken for granted that young children know what to. Some kids are shy.

A little kid is short - his vantage point looks up, so what you see and what he sees are two very different things. That silly looking witch with the green face and the lighted eyes looks really scary if it seems nine feet tall and you've never seen one before.

Also, remember, his legs are really, really short, so for every step you take, he's taking three. Energy? He's got it all and you don't on an ordinary day? By the time he's tried his costume on fourteen times and practiced asking for treats at every door in your house, he's going to be pooped, besides after dinner is a lot closer to his bed time than it is to yours.

I always fed mine early and then let them consume as much junk as they could hold. I never remember one of mine throwing up or getting a belly ache.

About 3:00 p.m. is a good time for dinner on Halloween, and a good dinner is one that is ultra plain. Try this: take his favorite noodle, a teaspoon of chicken bouillon and a cup of hot water - stir. Thicken it with ½ tsp corn starch and water (stirred together before you add to the soup) and if he likes chicken, throw in a couple of ounces of chicken.  Offer him some good crackers and two of his favorite fruits. That will sit well as the basis of junk eaten the rest of the night.

Costuming is fun if the shoes fit and the outfit isn't too long, too hot, too many parts, and if the hat fits snugly. Nix the gloves, holdables and masks for little kids - too much. They will be concentrating on accessories rather than candy, and the object is to collect candy and have fun.

If you are planning a homemade costume, try this: Take the most outrageous half yard of fabric you can find and hot glue one edge over with a thin bead of glue making what they call an open channel. With a crochet hook, (you can use a bent wire) drag a tie through - string, elastic, an old shoe lace, and make an audacious skirt. Another half yard of fabric with a hole in the center makes a great top or cape.  Then use old belts and jewelry to liven it up. Make a trip to a second hand store for a big hat, or to the local five and dime for a buck's worth of crown or tiara.

For a boy, use pajama bottoms and an adult sized t-shirt and a big leather belt, and you have a knight.  Use cardboard  and tin foil to make swords, shields and armor.

Kids love homemade costumes because they are a project made with love, time, interest and joy from the apple of their eye - the parent.

Treats should be forbidden on Halloween until after trick or treating.  Don't forget to examine all candy and apples before letting kids eat them.

And before costuming - it's toilet time!

Be safe with kids. Go to houses in respectable neighborhoods, preferably your own, and meet the people. Most people are good and have a real delight in seeing little kids enjoy the holiday.

This is a child's holiday; let him enjoy it.