Celebrate Halloween With Your Au Pair

by cv harquail on October 28, 2014

Special Halloween Edition

au pair halloween advice holidays celebration costumeHalloween 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 pair3. 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 luch5. 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??


Repeataupair October 28, 2014 at 1:04 pm

I love this article !! I encourage au pairs to do crafts during that period, I have done a lot and they all have been liked by the 5, the 8 and the 10 yo.
Some ideas:

Spiders with black piper cleaners, black paint and a polystyrene ball
Ghosts with the leftover balls and some napkins
lanterns with modge pod, napkins with halloween design and a glass jar
small pumpkins and black glitters, makes some easy awesome decoration
pompom monsters, make a pompom with orange yarn, little ears and eyes and you have it !

We are also doing some treats this week, we covered strawberries in white chocolate and black icing to make ghosts, robbers, spiders, etc.
We are going to do cupcakes, some food coloring and white icing will be fully used.

I went to pick up pumpkins with the kids and my host mom sent me to buy decorations, we decorated the front door and the yard, grave yards, cemetery, window stickers, spiderwebs, etc :) It’s looking really cool and it is a lot of fun for me and the kids, great bonding time too !

I’m still looking for a couple of last minutes things to do through the week but had lots of fun so far.

TexasHM October 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Great ideas. For whatever reason, APs LOVE Halloween so a couple of years ago we started doing family costumes (inc AP). I figure happy AP = happy me so I can dress up one day a year and the kids love it too. There are tons of family costume ideas online that are super cute and simple and it has also had the pleasant side effect of limiting the costume chaos and mind-changing. We pick things with lots of characters/options and the kids love picking their individual while still being part of the group. Last year Toy Story, this year Wizard of Oz (and Oz Great and Powerful) and actually another host family is joining us and there were so many characters from Oz they easily picked ones we hadn’t already covered so we will have almost the entire land of Oz trick or treating together. :)
Carving pumpkins is another sure winner. We teach them carving tricks, give them patterns to help if they want and teach them how to roast the seeds as mentioned above. That’s been a huge hit too!

Taking a Computer Lunch October 29, 2014 at 7:47 am

Now that I have teenagers who wouldn’t be caught dead trick-or-treating with a parent around, I encourage my APs to find a friend with younger children and go trick-or-treating with them. Our city has some pretty raucous adult celebrations, too, and I encourage our APs to head there later in the evening. I try to give the morning off after Halloween, so the AP can sleep in. We have elements for costumes, but most have bored our APs, who get in the spirit and head for the used clothing stores to pull together their own.

Our LCC books a trip to a local pumpkin patch just before Halloween, so we make carving a family activity. I have a couple of neighbors who go all-out for Halloween decorating, too.

Returning HM October 29, 2014 at 8:46 am

Usually our APs have joined us parents about 10 paces behind our younger child as he trick-or-treats, but this year, we are giving our AP the day off so that he and a friend can go down to NYC and watch the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village. I figure it’s a chance of a lifetime to see that “happening” in action so it’s worth giving him the day off. :-) Anyone who is near NYC and doesn’t need AP in the afternoon/evening might want to send him or her too…it’s quite the event!

WiAuPairMom October 30, 2014 at 10:09 am

Love this post! We took our AP trick or treating with us this past weekend and she loved it! All she kept saying as that it was just like in the movies. Sunny warm day for WI, trees had beautiful fall colors and tons of kids running through the neighborhood ringing doorbells. They do not celebrate Halloween like this in Germany so she was excited to be able to dress up. She also went with us to pick out the kids costumes and carve pumpkins with us. The kids think it’s fun, I have more help and the AP gets to experience something she only sees on TV or in the movies.

AlwaysHopeful HM November 2, 2014 at 8:38 am

I just noticed the part about telling your au pair “why” The Great Pumpkin show is a great tradition. I know THAT it is, but not WHY. Can anyone let me know, so I can pass it on? :)

WarmStateMomma November 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

I prepped a couple of simple Halloween crafts for our AP to do with my toddler. They both loved it. Our AP put together a costume and we all dressed up and went people-watching at a huge outdoor Halloween celebration while we were on vacation. We also put some bloody handprint window clings on her bedroom window, which gave her a good scare (and laugh). Halloween was a lot of fun for all of us, although I think she would have also enjoyed going to a haunted house or zombie chase-thing with friends if we had been at home.

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