Somewhere between the ages of 9 and 10, children may hesitate to participate in Halloween activities. It's not that they're no longer interested, it's that they don't want to be perceived by their peers as uncool or babyish. If your tween seems less excited about Halloween this year, there are ways to involve him in fun activities. Here's what you need to know about your tween, Halloween, and celebrating in a way that's both cool and fun.
1. Give Him a Job
The best way to include older kids in Halloween fun is to give them a job to do. Your son may be reluctant to dress up and trick-or-treat with his little sister, but he may be interested in taking command of outdoor decorating. Allowing him to turn the front porch into a jack-o-lantern gallery, or a creepy haunted mansion may be just the project for your tween. Halloween is a creative holiday, so be sure he has all the tools he needs to decorate, carve, and create.
2. Throw a PartyDepending on where you live, older children may or may not be allowed to trick-or-treat. Some communities suspend the activity for kids 10 and older. Other communities may say anyone above the age of 12 can no longer participate. That doesn't mean older children can't celebrate, however. Allowing your tween to host a tween Halloween party is one option, as is a Halloween co-op. A Halloween co-op is much like a progressive dinner. At a Halloween co-op, tweens take turns at each other's homes, where they sample a Halloween treat, make a craft, dance to Halloween music, or play a game. The advantage of a co-op is that it keeps tweens moving from house to house, and no one family has to be the sole host.
3. Host a Movie FestivalIf you're not up to a full-blown party, throw a tween Halloween movie festival for your child and her friends. Invite friends to watch a tween appropriate Halloween film such as Halloweentown or The Nightmare Before Christmas. Serve popcorn, candy, sodas, and give each child a Halloween-themed goodie bag as they leave. Of course, decorating before the movie premiere will surely put the children in the mood. You can put your tween in charge of that, too.
4. Conduct a Pumpkin Decorating ContestYou may not want to turn a bunch of tweens loose with pumpkin carving tools, but a pumpkin decorating contest is safe and easy fun. Your tween and her friends can decorate pumpkins with paint, markers, glitter, fabric, jewels, and other supplies found at your local arts and crafts store. Handout awards for the scariest, prettiest, cutest, and most interesting pumpkins. Bowls of candy, popcorn, and other treats should be readily available.
5. Entertain Younger Trick-or-TreatersIf your tween won't be allowed to trick-or-treat this year, but wants to dress up, allow him to hand candy out to the younger trick-or-treaters. You can even put him in charge of choosing the treats himself. If your tween has younger siblings, he might want to escort them as they make the neighborhood rounds, serving as a Tween Halloween Ambassador to younger children. Or, have your tween write his own ghost stories to share with younger neighborhood children. That will surely get him in the mood for all the festivities.
6. Your Tween, Halloween and New TraditionsSome of the Halloween traditions you had with your tween when she was younger may no longer capture her interest or attention. But you can always establish new traditions as your children mature. Your tween may no longer be interested in walking the neighborhood with you as she tricks-or-treats, opting instead to go with friends. But there are still activities you can enjoy together, such as baking Halloween treats, or carving the pumpkin together. Just remember, for your tween, Halloween is another opportunity to show you that she's growing up and moving on. Helping your child accept and welcome new traditions and changes is a great way to prepare for the many other changes the next few years will bring.