My kids, aged four and two, in fact our whole family, are looking forward to celebrating Halloween in the USA. It’s a tradition only just developing in Australia, and we know that on this trip we’ll see more costumes, parades and excitement than ever before.
But the hype comes with a price. It’s only September and Halloween goodies are already in stores. There are pumpkins, dolls, decorations, chocolates and costumes, all five weeks before the main event! How can toddlers possibly understand how long they have to wait for Halloween when all these signs are telling them otherwise?
Recently I invented a concept that delighted my four year old son. A trick or treat day.
It started one morning when I couldn’t face baking despite the cold rain outside. To reduce TV hours it would have to be craft. Now, craft is not my forte and I’ve passed this limitation on to my son. He had his heart set on a real chocolate cake, and no amount of persuasion could make him believe a cardboard cake would be as much fun – particularly when it came to the eating. That’s when I came up with the idea of “tricking Daddy.”
My kids love tricks, from TV shows where cunning characters get up to mischief to their own attempts, which usually amount to saying something like, “Mummy, I am a sausage. Ha, ha, I tricked you!” So the idea of tricking Daddy went down a treat, and it was some time into the planning when I remembered as a good parent, I should talk to them about whether Daddy’s feelings might be hurt.
We decided Daddy was man enough to handle it. The kids were thrilled with the idea of running to the door when Daddy arrived home, telling him “We made you a cake, we made you a cake,” and watching his face when he realised it was made of cardboard. Hilarious! We spent a long time making the cake, almost entirely of cardboard, construction paper, sticky tape and glue (the sprinkles are tiny pieces of construction paper.) Then we spent some more fun time practising playing the trick on Daddy with me acting the patsy.
I confess it wasn’t until we went grocery shopping later in the day that I was hit by the idea of compensating for our trickery with a “treat” for someone. I’d been thinking about planting some bulbs for the woman who willingly leased her beautiful home and all its contents to a family with two small children. Australian conditions are not suitable for many bulbs and so the novelty of planting something that would survive the freezing winter and come up to delight someone in the spring was irresistible. The bulbs were out in big bags in front of the supermarket and it seemed like a sign. So we spent the afternoon digging holes in the garden planting “flowers for Naomi.”
It’s not Halloween yet but maybe your family would like to play a trick or create a treat for someone? It’s fun either way!
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Linked to Pinkoddy Halloween and Happy Family Times