Ask most kids what the meaning of Halloween is and they’ll more than likely say ‘Dress up and go trick-o-treating’.
If you want to inspire your kids with a real history behind the tradition, we’ve gathered together a few tips to help create a history lesson while you indulge Halloween activities.
1. Know the facts
Before you teach kids about Halloween, you need to know some information yourself. Read about how Halloween began as a Celtic holiday (called Samhain) where ghosts would come back to earth and people would light bonfires and wear costumes to scare them away. It evolved into All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween.
2. Celebrate your own harvest
Use your garden to talk about how Halloween used to mark the end of the harvest season — and what that meant for people. Help your kids pick any leftover autumn vegetables and make a hearty harvest feast together. The veggies are also a great antidote to the overdose of Halloween sweets!
3. Keep it age appropriate
Older children, around 8 or 9, probably will be ready to hear all about the Celtic spirits, but younger kids could get scared. All ages could learn about the harvest holiday aspects. Decide what is best suited for your child.
4. Make it a family affair
Many of the harvest traditions, such as pumpkin patches and hay rides, are a fun way to incorporate family bonding. Take your kids to a fall festival or a pumpkin patch. They can have fun getting their faces painted and picking a pumpkin. Then take the party home and make jack-o’-lanterns.
5. Be personal
A great way to discuss Halloween history is through old photos and stories. Dust off the old photo album and talk about traditions from generations ago. What were some of your family’s traditions when you were growing up? What were your favorite costumes?
6. Get cooking
If you have a child who loves to help in the kitchen, this can be a great time to talk about Halloween history while prepping treats. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin cookies and roasted pumpkin seeds are classic treats.
7. Encourage creativity
Halloween is a great holiday for kids with huge imaginations. Everything from making decorations to choosing costumes allows their minds to roam free.
This is a great chance for you to help kids who may be scared realize that monsters are works of fiction.
8. Build a fire
During Samhain, Druids built bonfires to celebrate the holiday and burn crops as sacrifices. Wind down after trick-or-treating by gathering around your garden fire pit (or home fireplace) and telling age-appropriate ghost stories.
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