9 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with your Au Pair

by cv harquail on October 29, 2011

Special Halloween Edition

au pair halloween advice holidays celebration costume Halloween is one of my favorite holidays to share with Au Pairs. Unlike some holidays, Halloween doesn’t seem to trigger a whole lot of nostalgia and homesickness. For au pairs who ‘do’ Halloween in their home countries, it’s a chance for her to share traditions from her culture. And, if your au pair is new to Halloween, you get to introduce her to all the fun.

Over the years, we’ve done a lot of different things as a family to celebrate the holiday and the season, adjusting as the girls have gotten older. Halloween is one holiday where including our au pair in whatever we’re doing has increased the fun every time. Here are some Halloween activities you might consider:

1. Get your Au Pair a costume. At our house, I’ve always encouraged our au pairs to “get in the spirit” by putting together a costume. We’ve done the purchased costume from Target, the costume assembled from the kids’ dress up chest, and the completely original cardboard box “creature.”    

2. Bring your au pair to a Halloween Party. My daughters’ school has an annual Fall Festival, with a haunted hallway and square dancing, and we’ve always dragged our au pairs along. In part this gets me another set of eyes to watch the girls run around the auditorium, but also it gets our au pairs out into the community to see the Halloween fun that goes beyond just the candy.

halloween_with your au pair 3. Have your au pair greet the trick-or-treaters. One of our greatest Halloweens was when our 6 foot tall au pair dressed up as a witch and stood on our front porch, surrounded by jack ‘o lanterns and big fake spiders. She kept absolutely still– looking like a Halloween decoration– and at the moment the trick-or-treaters’ feet hit our steps, she let out a wild cackle.

Kids in our neighborhood still talk about it. One of the best scares ever.

4. Enlist your au pair to help with the candy distribution and collection. Having our au pair be on duty for Halloween evening means that we can take turns being at home to hand out candy and walking around with the kids to collect treats. Being the person who answers the door lets your au pair see the whole variety of costumes and kids, while going around the neighborhood (sometimes) lets her see what other people’s homes are like (another cultural exchange).

halloween luch 5. Find some Halloween crafts for her to do with your kids — like making scary food for the preK party.

6. Bring your au pair to a pumpkin patch.

7. Teach your au pair how to carve a pumpkin. Teach her how to salt & toast the seeds. Please also teach her to keep her face away from the pumpkin while she carves. Safety first.

halloween au pair pumpkin carving advice

8. Ask your au pair to play math games with the kids as they count, divide and trade their candy.

9. Invite your au pair to watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Explain to her why this show is/was such a tradition, and why it’s so sad. (This will also prepare her for traditions related to Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Rudolph, and The Grinch.)

What have you and your au pairs done to celebrate Halloween??


franzi November 1, 2009 at 5:17 pm

i actually went trick or treating with my kids and the parents handed out the candy at home. it was a great way to acquire lots of unknown candy ;-)

it was fun for the kids to have someone to walk around with who was also dressed up and excited about this new experience.

in the aftermath, we also did the “check the candy, we don’t eat stuff that appears open” thing together and like CV suggested did some math when counting and trading the candy.

NewAP Mom November 1, 2009 at 6:06 pm

All of these are great ideas. But also, at least where I live, Halloween is actually a bigger deal for the single, young adult crowd than it is for the kids. So in addition to what’s listed here, I think one of the best things I could do is encourage my au pair to get some of her friends together and check out the events for the older crowd.

PA au pair mom November 1, 2009 at 11:59 pm

Our au pair went around our neighborhood with the kids and helped them get candy. then she went to an overnight halloween party with her au pair friends.

best of both worlds.

Jenny November 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm

Our Au Pair went to the pumpkin patch, carved pumpkins, roasted seeds, and trick or treated the block with us. She and a bunch of other Au Pairs bought costumes in hopes of going out. She is 21 but many in our cluster are not. It was really hard for me to find something for them to do for under 21 but still adult. They ended up going to an 18+ club but said it felt like it was full of 15 year olds. Hmmm…we got an over 21 Au Pair so we didn’t have to worry about this, but didn’t consider that she wouldn’t have one over 21 year old friend to go out on the town with! They don’t know any young Americans yet to go to house parties. What’s an Au Pair to do?

Clara November 4, 2009 at 11:21 am

I just cannot get over how big I was !!!!!

cv November 5, 2009 at 11:26 am

And you looked quite beautiful in that princess dress!!!!

NoVA Host Mom November 4, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I actually had a different experience. I think it is religious-based for her, but our AP did not wish to participate in Halloween at all. I had figured that even if it is not your thing, maybe watch from the sidelines to see how others do things. You know, the whole culteral exchange theory. Nope! She did not come with us to the club event (kids party) the week before, and did not even wish to give out candy to the neighborhood kids. I took our daughter out alone (her first time trick-or-treating) and my husband stayed behind to do the candy.

Overall, though, I sort have come to accept and even expect this. She had the same reaction to our daughter’s 1st birthday and her baptism. Of course, both times she waited until the day of to tell me she would not be attending. This is a little bump in an otherwise happy scenario, so I can leave it be. But it has caused me to remember to ask about these things ahead of time for the next AP, just so I can at least be aware of what might be coming.

IWe October 30, 2011 at 8:08 am

During the last years Halloween became more and more popular in Central Europe and also the trick-and-treat custom. But very often, especially in big cities older kids and teenagers react rowdiishly and with violent attacs if you don’t respond to their expectations. Therefore I would recommend to ask the au-pair about her Halloween experience.

Another reason may be that the values which Halloween represents might be contrary to hers and thus she doesn’t want to be involved. Here a liberal American Jewish perspective about that:

Taking a Computer Lunch October 30, 2011 at 12:24 pm

When my son was little I encouraged my APs to join him for at least a little of his trick-or-treating – that way she could see the traditions, the homes decorated, and have some of the American experience. At least one of my APs went trick-or-treating herself. Now that my son is older and doesn’t want to be seen with an adult, our APs miss that aspect, although I encourage them to hand out candy and walk around the neighborhood. With children’s Halloween celebrations ending early (we tend to turn our lights off at 9:00 and spend the rest of the night upstairs to discourage people from ringing our doorbell endlessly), I encourage our APs to participate in the adult side of Halloween. Some have been invited to parties, others hit the city with friends. As more and more Americans state that they prefer Halloween to Christmas as their favorite holiday, I encourage our APs to explore why.

Colorada au pair October 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

Well I love halloween. Since I am a kid and now :) I am from Colombia and there we also celebrate halloween the same way you celebrate here. However, there are little differences that are awesome to experience. For example, I dicovered here the candy corn and I absolutely love it … I had never before decorted a pumpkin and put it out the house, we baked pumpkin cake with the kids and shared with the neighbors. Also, we did something really fun, we created some little ghosts made of paper and hang them on out trees outside. We went trick-or-treating with my kids and some of my au pair friends. I felt so glad to be invited to my host family’s church halloween party where we shared snacks and talk about the history of halloween in America. Of course I also explore the adult side of this day, I went to a marriot halloween party where my friends and I participated in a halloween constest (AND PROUD TO SAY THAT WE WON THE SECOND PLACE IN THE GROUPS COSTUME CATEGORY) we were all dressed like tetris lol. So we had to walk in a funny way to fit, that caught the attention of the judges :) …
IT WAS A NICE HALLOWEEN with my american host family and au pair friends :)

Comments on this entry are closed.