For children, the success of Halloween can be measured in the quantity of candy collected in their pillowcases. Older children may plan their trick-or-treating ahead of the holiday, strategizing which blocks to hit first, identifying the houses that hand out full-sized candy bars and coordinating meetup points with friends. Younger children may be content with being wheeled around their neighborhood in a wagon pulled by their parents.
What is important for trick-or-treaters and their chaperones is when to trick or treat. Both River Forest and Oak Park have designated hours for trick-or-treating each year, which are not always the same. This year, the neighboring villages differ from each other by one hour. River Forest trick-or-treaters can start ringing doorbells at 3 p.m. but must stop by 7 p.m. Oak Park trick-or-treaters can continue soliciting for candy until 8 p.m. yet they cannot begin trick or treating until 4 p.m.
Keep All Hallows Eve is more about the treats than the trickery by being mindful of those hours, but mindfulness can extend beyond the hands on a clock. Not every child participates in Halloween the same way.
While it is traditional for kids to don the duds of their favorite cartoon princesses or superheroes, not every child is comfortable with that. Kids with sensory sensitivities may not feel comfortable in costumes or face paint but would still like to trick-or-treat.
Regardless of whether your child dresses up, take a picture of them before trick-or-treating. The photograph will be a keepsake to be enjoyed for years to come. It could also come in handy should a child get lost.
Parents of nonverbal children may consider making a sign to explain that they are, in fact, trick-or-treating but may not be capable of speaking those words out loud. Autism Speaks has signs available for printing on its website.
Being scared can be fun; being traumatized is not. Halloween decorations, some of which emit spooky noises, are pretend. Sometimes children need to be reminded of that.
Adults have a lot to think about when it comes to Halloween safety, but the holiday should be fun for them too. Kids: remember to share that hard-earned candy with your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers – any of the adults that love you. They deserve a special treat too!