Fun alternatives to trick-or-treating

| 15 Feb 2012 | 09:48

    Jack-o-lanterns and costumed kids are among the many things people instantly associate with Halloween. So is the tradition of trick-or-treating, where kids go door-to-door asking for treats that may make dentists cringe. While trick-or-treating is something most kids love, for parents the safety concerns can be overwhelming. Kids innocently knocking on strangers’ doors and asking for candy is not necessarily the safest way a child can spend an autumn afternoon. But parents concerned about their children trick-or-treating can embrace several fun alternatives to trick-or-treating that still embody the spirit of Halloween. Host a haunted house. A haunted house for kids and their friends allows children to dress up in their favorite costumes and enjoy their favorite treats while being scared witless. Parents can join in the fun by dressing up in their own costumes. At the end of the night, award the child who had the best costume, and be sure to send each child home with a package of goodies. Make your own Halloween treats. Invite kids into the kitchen to create their own Halloween treats. Make sure chocolate is a key ingredient and invite kids’ friends over for a tasting or even to join in the fun of cooking. Set the tone for the event a week or so before Halloween by hosting a jack-o-lantern carving that encourages kids to carve their own unique designs in their very own pumpkins. Go the retail route. Recognizing the safety concerns associated with traditional trick-or-treating, many of today’s community centers and malls open their doors to costumed kids on Halloween, providing treats in much the same way kids would get them if they trick-or-treated the old-fashioned way. Once kids complete their jaunts through the mall, they’re likely to head home with a bag filled with goodies and maybe even some coupons or gift certificates to their favorite stores. Camp out. Another safe and fun alternative to trick-or-treating is to host a campout under the full moon of Halloween. Kids can invite their friends over for some backyard camping, while Mom and Dad make s’mores and share spooky stories. Decorate the yard with fake tombstones and other Halloween-themed decorative items, and make sure each kids goes home the following day with his or her own bag of treats.