Special Halloween Edition
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.
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).
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.
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??