Ideas for a Family-Centered Halloween

09/19/2016 0204_unicorns_bybraedonflynn

Halloween can be a great opportunity for families to get creative, be silly, and connect with each other. I partnered with Pottery Barn Kids to create some parent costumes to go with their kid costumes. Below you’ll get a peek at those costumes along with tips for things to be, do, and create with your family this Halloween!0097_sharkmermaid_bybraedonflynn

Be.

Be silly. Play is the work of a child, it’s how they make sense of the world around them, communicate their feelings, and bond. Sometimes it’s hard to be silly while adulting (adulting=the act of being a grown up!) We can easily get distracted by our adult worries and/or self-conscious about really playing. Also, playing can be exhausting! As adults we often have to re-learn how to play, and there’s no better teachers than our children.

Get into costume. Get into character, follow your kids lead, they will show you the way to imaginary play. By transforming yourself or the world around you, it can be a great opportunity to work through things or communicate with each other. For example, my daughter experiences anxiety when it comes to swimming. One of her favorite games is to pretend she’s the swim teacher (usually either dressed as a fish, shark, or mermaid). As the teacher, she takes the lead and teaches me how to swim. I pretend to be petrified of swimming, and through the giggles and lessons she discovers what it feels like to be in control of something that typically frightens her. An added bonus is that through her being “the teacher”, I get a glimpse into how she might want us to teach her.

0105_sharkmermaid_bybraedonflynn

Do.

There are so many things to do and explore in Autumn. Here are a few ideas!

Visit a pumpkin patch. My favorite patch in San Diego is the Rancho Bernardo Pumpkin Station. They have a field of pumpkins still on the vine to pick, picture perfect sunflower fields, goats and chickens, and a corn maze! There’s also a tractor that takes you through the sunflower fields and christmas trees! Carving a pumpkin can be a great time to show older children safe tool handling and gives younger children a wonderful sensory opportunity with the pumpkin guts. Since it’s still September and pumpkin patches may not be open yet, here’s a list of the best apple picking farms in Julian!

Decorate your home. Lay out your decorations and let your kids decide the plan for the spooky transformation. When kids have a say in how their home is decorated, they can develop the responsibility that comes with caring for a home. Speaking of spooky, talk to your kids about the difference between spooky and scary. “Spooky” is fun, “scary” is just scary. Giving kids the language to distinguish the two can help them communicate their experiences. Also, it may seem obvious to point out the fictitious nature of monsters, but we don’t always remember to say it! Monsters (as portrayed in books and movies) are not real, and reminders of that can help ease fears.

Learn. Autumn brings potential teaching opportunities. Use the season to teach  why we have seasons and the origins of the holiday (follow your kids lead, if they are asking questions, they are ready for some age-appropriate answers!) Get outside, go on nature hunts, turn the foliage you find into paint brushes! Cook with your kids, this is a great way to talk about seasonal produce and kitchen safety/creativity.

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Create.

Create new traditions and share the old ones. Pull out old photo albums and share your childhood traditions and costumes with your kids. Grandparents can play such an important role in family life, and this is always a great way to get them involved too (through photos, stories, visits, or phone calls). Create your own traditions! Your kids won’t remember that you didn’t let them eat all of the candy, they will remember the traditions and time spent together though.

Create family costumes. Go check out the blog post on Pottery Barn Kids for this year and last year’s costume ideas I styled! Moral of the story though, is to get dressed up. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, you don’t have to spend a lot of money, the simplest things bring the biggest smiles, promise.

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Happy Halloween season folks!

Photos: Braedon Flynn | Hair/Makeup: 1011 Makeup

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