Many think Thanksgiving is the kickoff for the holiday season, but I’ve always considered it to be Halloween – my favorite holiday! Some of you may enjoy Halloween as much as I do. Some of you who’ve always looked forward to Halloween may be caregivers to a loved one with a serious condition or illness. Maybe the person you care for has always loved Halloween. You may be wondering how to celebrate Halloween this year…IF you should celebrate this year. Should you just turn off your porch light and not bother with it? That would certainly be understandable given all the additional challenges and tasks you now have.
But, as long as it brings joy, why not keep that light on as long as possible? You may have to celebrate a little differently to accommodate physical limitations, but celebrating is certainly still possible.
Here are some ways to celebrate Halloween that allow you or the person in your care and their family to join in the fun! All of these activities can be scaled up or down to accommodate varying physical abilities and energy levels.
What’s Halloween without making a jack-o-lantern? Depending on limitations, pumpkin carving with sharp instruments may not be the safest option for you or someone in your care. A great (and longer-lasting) alternative is pumpkin painting.
Seeing children of all ages, dressed in costume, engaged in such a classic tradition can be such a joy! This breath of fresh air can allow you to reach outside your situation and embrace the excitement of the evening.
If you know families with young children from your neighborhood, church groups, or other social groups very well, invite them by to trick-or-treat personally. It’ll encourage you to get into the Halloween spirit and will put your mind at ease that you have some set visitors stopping by to see you throughout the night.
Make sure to have a friend, neighbor, family member or caregiver on-hand to assist with Halloween fun and festivities. This allows the senior or patient to answer the door when they’re up to it and take a seat (maybe near the door so they can still see the trick-or-treaters) for a break when they need it.
Wear that costume!
If you’re feeling up to it, by all means, don a costume to greet trick-or-treaters! You can purchase a costume, but I’ve found there’s always things around the house that can be brought together to make a great costume. Make sure to wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
If you like Halloween, but… (or even if you don’t like Halloween)
If you just aren’t up to greeting lots of loud kiddos that particular evening, leave a bowl of candy on your porch (or move it to your neighbor’s porch with a sign on your door telling them where to find it) and prop up your feet for a scary movie marathon – modern or classics – and some popcorn!
Safety experts don’t advise just turning off your lights because this could signify to people with ill intentions that either you’re not home or that you’re in a situation that prevents you from interacting with others at this time.
Once you’ve had your fill of candy, you can enjoy some healthier Halloween treats.
- Make sure to have a friend, neighbor, family member or caregiver on-hand to assist with Halloween fun and festivities.
- Avoid opening your home to strangers, even a parent and a child needing to use the restroom or phone, because even seemingly nice people can have ulterior motives.
- Make sure to wear well-fitting masks, costumes and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips and falls.
- Consider painting pumpkins to avoid having to use sharp implements to carve one.
- Keep all exterior and interior areas well-lit to avoid falling hazards.
- If you choose to not hand out candy this year, leave your lights on! Not doing so can alert people with ill intentions that either you’re not home or that you’re in a situation which prevents you from interacting with others at this time (such as an illness, injury or frailness).
- Once your candy bowl is empty, be sure to place a sign on the door when finished that reads “Sorry, out of candy”, but keep the porch and yard lights on as a measure of security.