1. Oct 30, 2012 5:30pm

    How to Deal With Your Kids If Halloween Gets Canceled

    While the adults worry about boring things like getting the power turned back on and pumping water out of the living room, kids up and down the East Coast are freaking out over the thought that Halloween might be canceled.

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has already promised to reschedule Halloween his ravaged state is not in tip top Halloweening shape by Wednesday.

    Other governors have thus far remained mum on the topic. (New York City’s famous Village Halloween parade has just been canceled for the first time in 39 years.)

    Until you receive word that your state’s king has consented to shuffle around holiday observances in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, it may be best to start operating under the assumption that Sandy Claws has indeed put the kibosh on this year’s celebrations

    Here are some suggestions of things you can do to help your kids cope:

    • Remind your kids that some children lost everything in this disaster.

      Unless your children are extraordinarily compassionate, this probably will have little effect on them. (Also, if they’re old enough to have learned compassion, they’re probably too old to go trick-or-treating.) You might be saying “Some other little girls don’t have a bed to sleep in tonight” but all your daughter is hearing is “I said you could walk around the neighborhood in a swooshy, sparkly dress and now I have decided you can’t.” If your children are moved by your call for sympathy, invite them to sit with you in a contemplative silence. Otherwise, keep on moving down the list.

    • Skip the treats, embrace the tricks

      As you spend more and more time cooped up with your partner, odds are good that the two of you will slowly drive one another insane. Use the kids to enact small revenges against them, via some classic Halloween pranks. Put shaving cream in Dad’s expensive shoes. Cut off all the bristles on Mom’s hairbrush. Put Dad’s hand in a cup of warm water while he’s sleeping. Call Mom’s cellphone from the closet every five minutes and ask if she has Prince Albert in a can.

      If you would prefer for your home to remain animosity-free for as long as possible, render the tricks more innocuous but react in a big way. Who put all these toys…back where they belong?! What’s all this shaving cream doing…in the sink?! Etc.
    • Trick-or-Treat is dead; Samhaim lives on

      Explain to your kids that Halloween has not in fact been canceled. Before their screams of delight grow too loud, hasten to add that this is because Halloween is a spiritual holiday and the governor can only cancel city-sanctioned observances like trick-or-treat night. Use this occasion to explore Halloween’s historical origins, beginning with the Gaelic festival of Samhain. Discuss the process by which Samhain was corrupted into Halloween, drawing comparisons between Christmas and the Roman festival of Saturnalia.

      Build cleansing bonfires for your children and livestock to pass through.

    • Scare your kids

      If your kids are a little older, maybe their favorite part of Halloween isn’t tricks and treats but thrills and chills. If you haven’t used up all your candles, re-light a few and tell them some spooky stories (if possible, Google ones that are state or town specific). Host a little séance and pretend to get possessed or actually get possessed. Look up diseases on WebMD and convince your kids they have them.

    • Hello, Neighbors. Give Us Candy

      Go around to a few neighbors and ask if they wouldn’t mind your kids coming around and trick-or-treating tonight anyway. If they don’t have candy of their own, let them use the candy you were going to hand out. Your kids will have fun even if they only end up with fifteen funsized Milky Ways and zero other types of candy; children, like all beasts, live for the thrill of the hunt.

    • The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick Maker

      Google how to make candles and then make them.

    • Play Hide-and-Seek

      Maybe what your kid loves about trick-or-treating isn’t the candy or the costumes but the hyphens. In addition to having just as many hyphens as trick-or-treat, hide-and-seek is also the most fun game—play it with your children. This is a particularly good activity if your kids are getting a little loud, because a large part of hide-and-seek is remaining neither seen nor heard.

      Don’t play this game outside for the time being. Too many dangling branches and power lines.

    - Caity

    Image via Shutterstock

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