Over the years, children have taught me many important lessons. Instead of doing an entire newsletter, we wanted to share our experiences with this short but important article. Halloween can be a very exciting holiday for many children; it can also be a time of stress and fear for others. For children who have had any problems with their vision, have had surgery, or have multiple problems, there are some important little things to remember that can make this an enjoyable experience for everyone.
First, we have found that decorating pumpkins, rather than carving them is not frightening for children. The act of cutting into a pumpkin to carve out the face can affect some children in a negative way. It is often thought of as quite brutal for some children as they see the pumpkin as a "head" and
many children who have had surgery find the carving and subsequent scooping out of the contents of the pumpkin uncomfortable. Instead, decorating the pumpkins can be fun and creative. Here are some suggestions for decorating
your pumpkin, or each child can have their very own pumpkin for decorating:
- With a felt tip marker, draw a face (parents can help with this). Fill in the area with colored paint or sprinkles that are glued on. Let your child choose the color, it does not have to be black. Poster paint works best because is won't wash off outdoors if you choose to paint the face.
- Hair can be made of straw, string, yarn or any material you and your children find. Craft stores are full of interesting textures to use for the hair.
- The face and expressions can be made of candy, for example, thin licorice can be glued into a smile for the mouth. Candy corn can be used for teeth. The nose can be a giant gum drop. Eyebrows can be of some other interesting textured material. Have fun and let the creativity flow. Invite friends over for a decorating Haloween Party and let each child take home their pumpkin.
- With regard to costumes, we have found that face paint rather than a mask works well for children who have had visual problems. Face paint is something most children are exposed to from an early age. Let them decorate
their face to match their costume. Don't worry if it does not look as it should to you. For most children the act of decorating their own face if all the fun. You can offer your help if they ask.
- Costumes should be comfortable and not confining. For children who have ever been in a hospital, restrictive clothing can be anxiety provoking. Sleeves should be normal length so the children have easy access to their
hands and costumes can be make of anything that your child thinks is fun. Sometimes just dressing up in mommy's clothes or daddy's clothes is great fun for children. If they choose a super-hero, capes can be easily made with a large square of material that has velcro on each end at the top and attached round the neck area. Children can help in the design of the
Halloween is the beginning of a season of multiple holidays each with challenges for every family. We hope that you find these suggestions easy and reasonable and that you and your children have a wonderful day and evening filled with laughter and creativity. We would love to hear your ideas on how you have created interesting costomes for your children and how
you have learned what works best. After all, you and your children are out best teachers and we look forward to hearing from you.
Happy Halloween to all of you.