Rosie to the Rescue: Have a No-Stress Halloween

Check out blog posts by Rosie Pope, star of Bravo’s “Pregnant in Heels,” every week at Parents.com! 

Every year I find myself getting childishly excited about Halloween. I just finished decorating our home with cobwebs, goopy gunk, spiders, and skeleton balloons. As I tried to fall asleep last night, slightly freaked out by the skeleton shadows the balloons were creating on the wall, and anxiously wondering whether the costumes were going to arrive on time (and feeling a little guilty that I was not going to be hand-making them, as I would be in the fantasy I have of myself as a mother!), I started wondering why we insist on celebrating Halloween with young kids.

Halloween is fabulous fun for a lot of children, especially those who are a little older. But for toddlers and young kids, Halloween can often end up being rather stressful and full of tears. If it’s not the expensive costume you’ve bought that your kid doesn’t want to wear, then it’s the candy and arguing about how much can be consumed. But let’s be real: We’re not going to cancel Halloween for a few difficult years. So here are some of my Halloween-with-kids rules:

Thoroughly enjoy dressing up your babies in anything you like. They won’t know what they are, so there’s no issue with causing a complex. Also, they won’t put up a fight, and you can take as many pictures as you like! This phase won’t last very long. Bask in it!

Make sure your kids eat lots of wholesome things during the day, because battling about treats will only end in tears. Decide how much candy they can eat and when, and make sure it’s super-generous. They’ll be so shocked you said they could eat 20 pieces that they may not even get there, and certainly won’t try to bargain for more.

Stick to accessories if you know there are going to be costume problems. A good old Spiderman glove, a tiara, or even a soft sword can go a long way for a 4-year-old with costume anxiety.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just get out there and have fun with your kids regardless of what they end up wearing. And if there is that person who asks, “Well, what are you supposed to be?” and your child is soooo clearly not dressed up because she had a total meltdown, sweetly say “Wouldn’t you like to know?”, wink, take some candy and dash out of there.

Remember: It’s only one day. If all else fails, talk about the real underlying meaning of Halloween: to rid our worlds of bad spirits and welcome the good. Whatever meaning you personally want to give those spirits, it is a wonderful message of good and new beginning—even if the costume didn’t work, the skeletons freaked out your little one, and everyone ate too much candy!

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