It seems like every year the holidays start sooner and sooner, and this year is no exception. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled out in the stores, and Moms are hard at work, stressed and excitedly planning. The holidays are a time for family fun and creating traditions and it’s nice to see all the smiles it brings on your children’s faces. But with it come concerns, and this Halloween was no exception. In fact, her concerns are year-round concerns, but heightened during Halloween.
What was Mom concerned about? Four things: healthy eating, safety, the family budget and having good, clean fun.
First was “How do I get my child to eat healthy in the midst of all the candy? Should limits be set? Or is Halloween one time when a parent can be a little more lenient?” Most parents prepared by filling their kid’s tummies with healthy food before setting off to trick or treat. A few brands got into the spirit of things. McDonald’s decided to give away apple slices instead of candy and Kool-Aid made limited-edition “Ghoulaid.” M&M’s offered Halloween-colored candies. Thankfully, the candy industry decided this year was all about the bite-sized portion.
Next was “How do I keep my child safe while trick or treating?” Mom sites across the web were filled with tips and helpful information. According to About.com, roughly four times as many children aged 5-14 are killed while walking on Halloween night compared to other nights. For parents not walking with their children, GPS and mobile apps like Trick or Tracker allowed parents to track multiple children and receive alerts when they stepped outside of a prescribed area.
And every study shows Moms are concerned with the family budget. So also top of mind was “How do I save money? Costumes for all my children don’t really fit in my budget?” The National Retail Federation predicted spending for Halloween at $6.86 billion with Mom spending on average $72.31 on costumes and decorations. Several communities set up costume trading centers -- the perfect solution for the eco and environmentally conscious Mom. ThredUP hosted its annual virtual Halloween costume swap. Mom only had to pay $5 + shipping and handling. Last year, over 2,000 costumes were swapped.
But let’s talk about costume selection. “What happened to encouraging children to use their imaginations to make their costumes?” It’s given way to TV and pop culture favorites. Sure, there were the usual superhero and Disney costumes. But there were also the “Charm School” witches with thigh-high stockings and short, short, pleated mini-skirts that brought to mind “The Bad Girl’s Club.” With vampires all the rage on television and in theaters, of course there was a plethora of vampire costumes, but Moms had to hold the line on what was age appropriate. Lady Gaga is very talented, but a four year old dressed up like the controversial pop star is not the kind of photo every parent wants to post on Facebook for all the friends and family to see.
Baby Center did a poll of 2,198 of their parents and, not surprisingly, found 52% of parents would veto a risqué costume. Twenty-two percent would kill the desired costume if it were too scary, violent or just plain gross. And a big no would be given if it was just not warm enough.
Well, Halloween is over and it’s time to move on to Thanksgiving. At least the Pilgrims dressed conservatively, so Moms can leave the costume challenges behind till next year.