I haven't Halloweened so hard since my days at UCSB, and you know what...this Halloween was definitely my favorite of all time. Let me tell you why...plus the five useful takeaways I learned from this Halloween.
My son's preschool celebrated Halloween all last week, culminating in a mini "truco o dulce" and costume parade on actual Halloween day. At first I was exhausted, but now I kinda miss all the fun costumes and festivities...good thing the holidays are coming up! But I'm going to have to start thinking about what costumes to make next year!
This year though, I didn't realize they were dressing up all week, so Sunday night, when I got the reminder email, I quickly whipped out our arts & crafts kit and some extra red felt I had from a red envelope costume I made him for his first Lunar New Year.
So, I quickly made him a cape. As simple as it was, it was extremely satisfying - especially getting to use my snaps press kit, so that he could button it closed. We already had a mask we made, but we decided to make new one with different colors, which leads me to...
Elmers glue and felt are not friends. The sequins we put on his felt mask all fell off in the three hours he was at school. I mean, I think his friends must've also picked them off, but still. We knew the sequins wouldn't stay on, I just didn't expect ALL of them to come off. Also, I made a little lion head to stick on his cape, and ultimately ended up duck taping it to the cape.
So, if anyone knows the secret to getting things to stick to felt, please let me know!
I had already planned to dress him as a panda, and even made him a bamboo stick out of a paper towel roll, so that made costume #3 easy - Super Panda!
(I intended to dress myself as a bamboo, but we kept running out of green paint, and for someone who is not the craftiest...we've done A LOT of crafting.)
Costume #4 was also an easy one. My son's favorite BTS song and video, is the Mic Drop dance practice video. So, we dressed him as Jimin and I put some pink paint in his hair, plus made him a microphone out of a toilet paper roll and a ball of tin foil. Apparently, he kept "dropping the mic" at school, which now leads me to lesson #2.
If you send your toddler to preschool with a crafty prop, it'll probably come home demolished or not at all 😂. Every prop that went school with him came home destroyed in one way or another. Mask - sequin-less. Bamboo - had to re-staple the leaves on every time he wore his panda or super panda costume. Mic - ripped apart.
But you know what...
Crafting your kid's costume is fun, exciting, and does not require a lot. So, even if you're terrible at DIY and arts & crafts like I am, it's perfectly manageable. Plus, a two-year-old doesn't really care. They just wear what you tell them to wear. They also resist whatever you tell them to wear, but that's an every day thing. And once they know that it's meant to stay on, unless it gets in the way of playing, they keep it on.
Plus you can combine costumes or take your "trash" and turn it into art, which we often do here. Had he not been sick one day, I would've probably made him one more costume, but I guess we can save that one for next year.
Now, a couple lessons from actual Halloween night...
Taking your child trick-or-treating for the first time is one of those joyous "firsts" you'll never experience again. I didn't actually intend on taking our son trick-or-treating through the neighborhood, because Lord knows I do not want all that high-fructose corn syrup in our house. Plus, he's two...he doesn't know what trick-or-treating is. For all he knows, it's just him and his classmates walking to nearby stores to collect candy (which his what they did earlier that day).
But one of our neighbors decorates her house with an insane amount of Halloween decorations, and another friend of mine, who lives nearby, prepared some goodies for him, so I wanted to take him to at least those two houses. Of course, on the wya to my friend's house, some trick-or-treaters were already out and houses were ready for them, so I couldn't resist taking him house to house, too. Omg, the excitement on his face completely melts my heart. And he was so good at just taking one or two candies at a time, and even put back candy that others had dropped on the floor.
It was also sweet to see the decorations that excited him and the decorations that freaked him out.
So, if you're ever thinking..."do I really need to take my two-year-old trick-or-treating?" Yes. Do it. It's so worth it, just to see and experience it all through their eyes. They're just old enough to be aware and learn the words "Halloween" and "trick-or-treat," but young enough to also not totally get what's going on, and what's real or not.
When you come back with a pile of health problems, quickly put everything in a a separate bag and donate to an organization that will send candy to the troops! I found a few and some have local drop-offs, while others allow you to ship a box to them. Of course, if you must...sneak a few of your faves for yourself first. I won't like...I'm only human and couldn't resist that Almond Joy I haven't tasted in at least a decade.
And that was Halloween 2022 with my two-nderful toddler. I was never a big Halloween person, but now I'm definitely looking forward to it again next year. I think I'll be sad when he one day asks for a real costume though haha.
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