Do you ever notice that when kids cheerfully chirp, “Trick or Treat!” that they really should just say, “Treat?” No kid wants to be tricked because they leave the front door feeling disappointed and duped. They want the treat! The goods! The candy! Halloween is the Black Friday of sweets for kids and they want to have a good haul. They want to leave happy and repeat the process next door. For you the parent, there’s some opportune ways for Halloween to be a treat for you too, and not a trick so you can also feel happy.
Children have the annual opportunity to dress up as their favorite role model, hero, or chance to embody an alter ego. They invest so much thought, energy and excitement into deciding who they will be. Underneath their outfit, most children truly believe they are who they are dressed as in their costume. This is a subtle and often overlooked opportunity to bond with your child and get a little more mileage out of the costume. Immerse yourself in the world of the costumed character. Act like another character in that world and create memories together through that play to recall later. There is power in the purity of the opportunity to play like this. This helps strengthen the bond you have with your child. These provide sweet moments to recollect together in the future.
Children’s costumes may also provide insight into their perceptions of the world and how they place themselves in it, thus inviting opportunity for explorative conversation. If you haven’t already, take time to learn about the costume. What’s that character’s world? What’s their role? Is there a villain? What are the character’s strengths and passions? What are the character’s weaknesses? Draw from the qualities, characteristics and personality traits of the Halloween persona and engage in explorative conversation with your child. Who are their princesses in their lives? Their Captain America’s? Who are the villains in their life? How do your child’s heroes handle emotions or conflict? What gives them energy like when a vampire draws blood? How do they feel trapped or stuck like a mummy? What are the things that mess up their lives like the Creepers in Minecraft? These insights provide possible parallels to how your child perceives him or herself and how they engage in the world.
Depending on your child’s answers, it’s an opportunity to label your own child’s qualities that match their Halloween persona. These not only show how attuned you are to their outfit, but with who they are as well. It provides them opportunity to strengthen their self-esteem, or help them to discover traits and characteristics they didn’t know they had. This can be your biggest treat and provide insight and direction as you continue to raise your child.