How to Halloween with the tweens

We started a tradition on our block when the kids were little. Every Halloween, we’d all meet at a neighbor’s house, take pictures of our Trick-or-Treaters, then walk the neighborhood together, pulling a wagon for when small legs got too tired or candy bags got too heavy. Then we’d return to visit, swap candy and share chili, cornbread and snacks.

Now our kids are almost teens. How do we stay involved in Halloween, but still give our growing tweens the independence they crave?

Start with the costumes. Even if you haven’t been a “hands-on” costumer before, it’s a great way to do a project with your tween and ensure a super cool costume that’s completely unique. If popular Internet memes and video games inspire your kids, use them!

I’ve made Patapon characters from hula hoops and black cloth and a Nayn Cat out of paint and cardboard, complete with an iPod speaker to play that annoying song as our son ran around. A friend’s son became Domo, the lovable brown creature from Japanese commercials.

If your tween has a favorite TV show, use it for inspiration. A neighbor’s daughter loves Doctor Who. With her long red hair, she was a natural to portray the Doctor’s popular companion, Amy Pond. A thrift store outfit and a “Hello, My Name is” badge and she had a great costume to show her fellow fans.

This year we updated our party. Adults still walked the neighborhood, but we lingered behind, visiting and letting the kids run ahead.

A science teacher mom brought a great new treat to the “after party” dry ice! Even the coolest tween couldn’t resist wacky science with dry ice, colored water and plastic cups.

If this was our kids’ last `official’ Trick or Treat, I’m glad we got to share it with them and be “cool” parents at the same time.

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