“Around the house” Trick-or-Treating
A solution for Halloween during Covid
by Robyn Stevan
When my girls were little, Halloween was such a favourite holiday, that one year for a Halloween party, I rigged an “around the house” trick-or-treating with all of the dolls and animals “handing out treats” behind different doors. The girls then “travelled” through the house (which, really was just the upstairs 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, and a closet), shouting out “Trick or Treat” as they knocked on each door, and opened up to find one of their dolls or animals with a bowl of treats. They would take one and move to the next “house”, and so on, until their little pumpkin bags were full. It was easy to set up, allowed me to choose what treats they were consuming and was endless fun for the girls (it was so popular, we even set up a modified version of this “game” well into March one year!)
With recent Covid restrictions, I realized that this idea could also offer a solution to parents not wanting to take little ones out in the neighbourhood, or at least for those who want to limit their exposure but still have the Halloween experience. Every house has many doors, and even one-room apartments can pretend that the doors on kitchen cabinets are different “houses”!
So here’s what you do: Position dolls or animals behind different doors in your home. This can be as elaborate or as simple as you’d like, depending on how long the kids can be distracted (or depending on how long your little one naps!) while you secretly put everything in place! A cloth draped over a lampshade, a small night light, or some well-placed twinkle lights can do wonders to quickly transform a space and help create the mood. Sometimes, I even dressed up the animals or dolls (that is, simple ghost costumes with a pillowcase, a witch’s hat from a cone of black construction paper, etc.), or used some of the Halloween decorations in different rooms. Then, I cut out simple pumpkin shapes out of orange construction paper to tape on the outside of the doors to signify which “houses” could be knocked on.
When everything was ready, for an added touch, I put our own lighted pumpkin at the foot of the stairs going up to the second floor to all of the ”houses”. My girls would get into their costumes downstairs, and when ready, head up for “trick-or-treating”. For a child of kindergarten, or even grade 1 or 2 age, this kind of activity works very well, and the amount of treats “acquired” are manageable.
Speaking of which…
“Candace, the Good Witch” or
“Candace, the Halloween Fairy”
If you do decide your child will go out for Halloween, here’s another idea that a Waldorf parent once shared with me for managing the heaping mountain of candy that your child comes home with. Aka, the “haul”.
For all those parents of children aged 9 and under, “Candace, the Good Witch” will become your friend. “Candace”, or “Candy”, for short 😉 has to feed the “Great Pumpkin” and so is happy to collect any excess candy.
So, after trick-or-treating, when your child dumps their “haul” on the living room floor and sorts through all of the bounty, have them choose a small pile of favourites—you choose whatever amount feels appropriate for your household. Then, your child puts out on the balcony/window (witches fly), or on the front porch the rest of the candy to offer to “Candace”. While they sleep, Candace, of course, comes around and scoops up all of the candy to offer to the Great Pumpkin; she, in turn, leaves a little something behind as a thank you. Sometimes my girls would get some nice socks and a book. Or other times, they would get some healthy treats instead of their more “junky” candy. One year, my daughter excitedly exclaimed, “Mommy, look! Candace shops at the Big Carrot, too!”
In whatever traditions you develop or enjoy, may you and your family have a safe and happy Halloween! Read more on creating your own family traditions here
Robyn Stevan is the parent of two Waldorf Academy Alumni, a former WA teacher and a founding member of Soulpepper Theatre.