Guest post by Christine Lindstrom of Lindstroms on the Road.
Halloween is just around the corner and the kids are getting excited. What’s not to love about a holiday that combines playing dress up and being given lots of candy? Celebrating Halloween on the road looks a little different, perhaps, than it would if we were living in a “sticks and bricks” house, but not as much as you might expect. Yes, Halloween is a little different every year, but most of the core traditions are about the same.
Here are some ideas to help you have a fun, simple Halloween celebration with your family, wherever the road leads you this year.
Some people will spend months sewing and creating ingenious, homemade Halloween costumes. Others will spend a lot of money ordering an elaborate costume. The lack of space, small budget, and on the go lifestyle that often come with full time RVing make it hard to do either one, but that does not mean that a quality, creative costume is out of reach.
Our favorite place to get Halloween costumes is a secondhand store. When we find store-bought costumes, at least we know they have survived one trick-or-treat already and are still in decent shape. With a little luck, you can find a ready costume your child loves. But perhaps even more fun is giving kids the freedom to leave the “costume” section and get creative with what they find in the rest of the store.
As RVers, we love things that serve more than one purpose. Pajamas that look like a superhero costume with a detachable cape? Perfect, especially for little ones that might fall asleep during trick-or-treating. We also love building costumes out of things we already have at home, whether dress-up items or regular clothes. Most roadschooled kids are already pretty skilled at thinking outside the box, so let their imaginations run wild!
Trick-or-treating has changed a lot since most of us were kids. Concerns about safety and being out late on school nights have led many communities to schedule the neighborhood trick-or-treating to the weekend before or after Halloween, often with suggested times or curfews. The rise of the “trunk-or-treat” idea allows kids to go “door to door” in costume collecting candy but without walking all around the neighborhoods on dark streets. There are countless variations on Halloween happening around the country, finding different solutions for the “problems” of traditional trick-or-treating on neighborhood streets after dark on October 31.
Regardless of your opinions on these trends, they do make it easier for a traveling family to find opportunities for their kids to go trick-or-treating. Check community calendars online or look for fliers on bulletin boards near where you will be on Halloween. Libraries, schools, churches and other community groups often sponsor Halloween activities, especially the weekend before Halloween.
Many campgrounds and RV parks will also allow trick-or-treating on the premises on a specific date and time. Last year, we took our kids trick-or-treating in our RV park and it was great! Anyone who wanted to participate posted an orange pumpkin flier in their RV window, so the kids knew which doors they could knock on. On a sunny afternoon in Southern California, many were also sitting outside to pass out candy. It had a fun, community feel to it! We met our neighbors and the kids came home with more candy than they could carry!
Fall is the time for pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple picking, and all kinds of harvest-related activities. Traveling families have the opportunity to experience the fall season in different regions and climates, and to visit some of the best pumpkin patches and corn mazes in the country.
If you search the internet for “fall bucket list” you could easily believe that your kids are missing out on dozens of essential fall activities. A better suggestion is to choose one or two, especially taking advantage of activities that are exclusive to the region of the country you’re currently visiting.
The harvest season brings many opportunities to learn about farming and food production and preservation. Many of the same farms that offer pumpkin patches and corn mazes will also provide opportunities to learn more, so be on the lookout.
Inquiring minds will often ask about the origins of the Halloween holiday and how the traditions came to be the way they are today. Do a little research to be prepared to answer, or maybe visit a library together to investigate these questions further. You may also encounter, especially in southern border states, differences in cultural traditions. Learn more about the Mexican celebration of el Día de los Muertos, for example, and extend this to include learning some basic Spanish phrases.
Explore why it is getting dark earlier and earlier at this time of year or why the leaves change to such a rich tapestry of colors before falling off of the trees. Older kids might be interested in reading classic “spooky” literature such as the works of Edgar Allan Poe or “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” at this time of year. As always, be creative and use the things that are all around you!
Holidays can present special challenges while on the road, but also many wonderful opportunities! Happy Halloween!
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