Halloween is one of those simple holidays. There are no religious overtones, and for the most part it’s a day that parents and kids look forward to and celebrate year after year. We go trick-or-treating to homes of the neighbors we know and those we don’t. Everyone seems to enjoy it — the young, the old, the social and the not-so-social, including those who rarely open up their homes but for this yearly occasion.
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For those of us on the East Coast this year, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, Halloween 2012 will be a bit different. Going door-to-door saying “Trick or Treat!” isn’t exactly possible across wind and flood damaged streets, with downed trees, debris, and power outages. Most moms and dads — if they are lucky enough to remain safely at home — won’t want their kids outside at all.
So the question for us parents is, how do we handle this? I want my kids, my older ones at least, to know what is happening and to have an awareness of the responsibility we all now have to rebuild. On the other hand, I don’t want to scare them. And what about my 4 and 5-year-olds, are they old enough to handle this?
I’m not a psychologist so I’m going on instinct alone here. Last night, I sat down my 7 and 8-year-old sons to watch the news. They had been worrying about Halloween, and as we watched, I told them how lucky we are to be safe at home with food to eat and power. We talked about how it would be nice for them to give their allowance to those people whose lives have been turned upside down. When one of them protested over Halloween, we told him it just wasn’t that important this year, when others are suffering.
At the same time, I do believe in keeping things normal for my kids and maintaining traditions even in tough times. So tomorrow we might have Halloween at home. I’ve got some candy stored away and right now, I think we’ll go room-to-room rather than door-to-door. They can put on their costumes and play the trick-or-treaters and my husband and I can play the folks giving out the goods. It will be a bit different, but we know how lucky we are.
I hope that other children will come up with some cool Halloween ideas despite the situation and that their homes next year will be back in shape to receive trick-or-treaters again.
Sending my love to all, please stay safe!
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