This Halloween is definitely going to be a tricky proposition. But even though it will certainly be different, it’s still a perfect time to encourage your child’s growth in many ways, especially with the important skills of being FLEXIBLE.
Without the usual trick or treating, parties, festivals, or haunted houses, your child (and maybe you too, like meJ) might be feeling disappointed. But with some creative thinking, there is still fun to be had and opportunities for social, emotional, and executive functioning skill building!
First and foremost is the ability to problem-solve and be flexible! This can be done by modeling flexible thinking yourself and getting your children to collaborate with you on some creative and alternative plans that are doable during this pandemic.
In our house, I’m emphasizing to my kids that just because they’re accustomed to a certain routine, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate. We are talking about how to get unstuck when we are used to something being a certain way. We’re also focusing on what it feels like to have a rigid mindset versus being more open and inventive so that we can brainstorm and come up with new possibilities.
Here are some ideas for getting into the Halloween spirit while also building social and emotional learning:
Decorate small pumpkins with different facial expressions using stickers or Mr. Potato Head pieces and have your child guess how the pumpkins are feeling. This gives kids a chance to identify different emotions, build their emotional vocabulary, and practice being an emotional detective.
Carve pumpkins to display various emotions. Make up stories for why the pumpkin feels that way. Then have a Zoom contest to judge the most scary, angry, happy, and cute pumpkins.
Bake cookies, cupcakes, or other treats decorated for Halloween. In the spirit of flexibility and creativity, try making substitutions in your recipe.
Zoom Costume Parade:
Create a costume that’s connected to the current world situation, like a superhero that fights Covid. Help your child express their thoughts and feelings through talking, writing/drawing a story, or acting it out with their costume. Invite a group of friends to show their costumes on screen.
Flexible thinking and the ability to understand and express emotions are powerful tools that kids can use throughout their lives. Use the upcoming holiday to help develop these skills, and have a fun, scary, and safe Halloween!