parent opinion

'How I decided if I should let my two daughters Trick or Treat this Halloween.'

Tick tock, tick tock. The metaphorical clock in my mind seems to be getting louder as the time to make my very important decision is growing closer and closer.

This significant life question that I have managed to avoid even having to contemplate, until now, is just around the corner.

The research has been done, the pros and cons put out on the table for all to see and with little procrastination time left a decision must be made.

*deep breath*

To ‘Trick or Treat’…. that is the question:

Pro: It can teach children to interact with their community.

Living individual and separate lives is pretty common these days. We go to work or school, do specific activities and then come home. Often getting out into our neighbourhood and interacting with our community, or even our neighbours is something that is often left on the way side.

On a side note does anyone actually know their neighbours anymore? It is also something that is inherent within trick or treating so it can be a good way to introduce kids to your local community as you venture to different places and have them interact with new people.

Con: The Halloween Grinches.

Not everyone gets in the spirit of Halloween, especially here in Australia where the event is really only just taking off. Sometimes people are not ‘treat prepared’ and may not be welcoming of the little monsters clawing at their doors.

We don't have any Halloween grinches in this household. Image: Supplied.

Pro: Learning about road safety.

Why not use the trick or treating journey to learn a bit about road rules? Empowering kids to be active road (or footpath) users at a young age is a skill that will definitely be used for a lifetime as they move on to riding bikes on the road and then as *gulp* drivers.

Con: Potential health and safety risks.

Letting children out of the house, to knock on stranger’s doors so they can ask for lollies that will most likely be unquestionably eaten, can raise many alarm bells and rightly (or responsibly) so. But as parents we are pretty ‘on the ball’ and with appropriate supervision and some rules and guidelines about boundaries, places that are off limits as well as restrictions on quantity of sugar consumption and thorough ‘lolly audits’ can probably solve most of these potential hazards. Or if you are a sweet tooth you can always confiscate all the loot for ‘their safety’.

Pro: Learning good manners.

Knocking on someone’s door and asking for lollies can actually be a pretty good way to have your kids practice their manners (and improve confidence). Not just the regular “please” and “thank you” but a friendly “hello” or even perhaps a “how are you?” could be thrown into the mix.

Despite the connotations of the holiday, Halloween is the perfect time for a refresher course in manners. Image: Supplied.

Con: Is it too scary?

Wandering around the neighbourhood with other people you may or may not know, dressed as scary or potentially inappropriate characters might set off nightmare alarm bells in your parental brain. Halloween is definitely not for everyone and some kids might be negatively affected by it more than others. If your kids were more into Paddington than Hotel Transylvania then maybe give it a miss.

Pro: It encourages creativity and individuality.

What says these two things more than dressing up in a costume as your favourite Halloween character? Letting your kids choose a character that appeals to them and to use costumes, face paint and some coloured hair spray to transform them is such a fun way for kids to have a chance to express their ‘inner monster’. If you are particularly imaginative and have the time (and skills) you can always create the costumes from scratch. Or if you are like me *”lazy” cough* have a nice family outing to Kmart (only for the costumes of course).

Okay... One more Pro.

Now I know I have finished this event analysis with two extra positives which I suppose means my decision is made. The last ‘pro’ is FUN! (well at least for the kids).

Whether you are a fan or not, I’d say 99 per cent of the child population would be. So one night out of the year where we venture out of our homes, into the metaphorical darkness (or real if you don’t have daylight savings) in some crazy costumes and collect/eat too many sugar filled foods can’t be all bad right? And remember you can always wear a mask and pretend you’re not really there.

Where do you stand on the Halloween debate? Share your thoughts in a comment below.

Want to get into the Halloween spirit? Here's how to make a Halloween pumpkin.

Video by MMC