Halloween is a fun and exciting holiday for children, but the late night trick-or-treating, massive amounts of sugar, and excitement can throw a wrench into even the best sleeper’s patterns.
Try to avoid letting your child become over-tired or overstimulated before bedtime on Halloween night. This is especially true if you have small children. The sights and sounds of Halloween are new and exciting, so consider starting your Halloween rituals early. If you are on good terms with your neighbors, consider pre-arranging an early time for your child’s Halloween experience. This ensures that they can show off their cool costumes before dark (what a great way to be seen!).
If you are concerned about the amount of sugar that your child may consume, consider providing your neighbors with a fun healthier snack or even a small toy, so that the holiday is not all about candy. Make sure that you start your Hallowed Eve with an early meal before all the excitement starts, as well. Focus on balanced choices so that your children have enough “fuel” to make it through the night.
Control the Chaos
If your child is interested in raiding their loot when they get home from trick or treating, you can handle it two ways:
1. Allow them have all they want once you arrive home. Some parents find that keeping the treats from their children will only make them want it more. You can however encourage them to eat some less sweet treats, such as chips and gum if it was offered.
2. Try to save the sugary snacks and chocolate treats for the next day, and perhaps allow a set number of pieces on Halloween night.
If you are opposed to your child consuming all of the their candy, have some toys or special healthier treats on hand for them to ‘trade in’ his candy for something even better. In some areas, local dentist offices also do a “candy buy” and provide children with a special reward in exchange for their loot.
Keep The Bedtime Routine
Once you’re children are done examining their spoils, you need to start the bedtime routine. Make sure that you turn off all the lights in the front of your house, cover your doorbell with a note saying “children sleeping, please do not ring bell,” and you may even want to put a bowl of candy out for trick-or-treaters. This will ensure that any kids out after dark can help themselves without disturbing your sleep routine.
In the spirit of the holiday, you can even do your bedtime routine by flashlight, which would be fun and a little different for your children. Additionally, turning the overhead lights off in the house will encourage the release of melatonin in your children, which will help your them feel sleepy.
Consider Moving Bedtime A Few Days Early
This year Halloween happens to fall two days before the time change for many of you, which can be a double whammy for sleep. If your child ends up staying up a bit later on Halloween Night (as long as it is within 1 hour of their normal bedtime), you can try to maintain that same later bedtime on Saturday as well. Couple this with keeping your child in the dark or dim light a little longer in the morning before turning on the overhead lights. This may help your family adjust to the time change a little easier this year.
Andrea Strang is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach and Postpartum Doula with over 10 years of sleep consulting experience working with adults, babies, and children up to 6 years of age. Visit our website for a free 15 minute consult: www.KinderSleep.com.
photo credits: katypearce; Justin Beckley via photopin cc