Having a Not-So-Scary Halloween: A Brief Guide for Parents of Young Kids

A Halloween Masterpiece!

I. Love. Halloween. 

Autumn is everything to me. Last year was a real Halloween teaser for me and my husband. Very “G-rated” one might say. We are used to playing horror movies and visiting Knott’s Scary Farm as many times as possible. Alas, my daughter was only 9 months old. Becoming a parent means reigning it in… a bit. But, you better believe I took her to the pumpkin patch, dressed her in festive attire throughout October, and played Hocus Pocus on repeat. If you have a little (or littles) like me, here are a few things you can do to make this time of year magical and not the least bit frightening: 

  • Have a Halloween music playlist at the ready for car rides or at home activities. Mine includes The Nightmare Before Christmas soundtrack, Grim Grinning Ghosts (Haunted Mansion theme song), and the classic Monster Mash!
  • Build a respectable Halloween library. Our favorite books include Room on the Broom, Little Blue Truck’s Halloween, and Vampirina Ballerina
  • Make festive snacks! I felt too silly doing this for my 9-month-old last year but I am excited to make banana ghost pops and tangerine pumpkins this year. Also, if your family is a fan of pumpkin, consider adding 1/4 cup to your waffles or pancakes with a few shakes of pumpkin pie spice. Yums!
  • Take note of any children’s Halloween movies or episode specials that you have access to on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, YouTube, etc. (I’ll definitely make a separate post listing all the ones I play on repeat.)
  • Plan a few at home Halloween activities. I have pinned a few crafts and activities you can check out on my Halloween Guide board at our Corona Moms Blog Pinterest page. In a few years when I can trust my daughter to wield a pair of scissors, she will be my official paper bat cutter. 
  • For that matter, plan at least one big Halloween activity to really get into the season. Invite extended family to pumpkin carve at your house (freshly baked pumpkin seeds, anyone?). Visit a local pumpkin patch and take festive pictures. If it’s in your budget to visit, Knott’s Spooky Farm and Disneyland decorate their theme parks so festively. 
  • Finally, try out a family costume! That is if your children are willing. Last year my husband and I were Hogwarts students and our baby girl was a snowy owl which I handcrafted myself. With enough felt, hot glue, scissors, and imagination, you can do anything!

    Villanueva Family Halloween 2017

This is just a few ways to get into the spirit with your very young ones. I can’t wait to start introducing spooky stories to my daughter. I am definitely going slow here. My goal is for her to love Halloween and not be frightened by it.

So let’s hear it mamas: What do you do to make Halloween fun for your kids? 


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Originally an Orange County native, Sarah attended and graduated from UCSD with a BA in Political Science. From there, she and her family moved to Corona where she earned her Paralegal Certification and started a career. Currently, Sarah is a stay-at-home mom to a wonderfully curious 1.5 year old who will stop to pick every flower. She and her husband are high school sweethearts and enjoyed many years before deciding to settle down. He puts up with her Halloween obsession and is rewarded with her other redeeming qualities - an affinity for late nights, projector movie screens inside the house, and brewery hopping.