As much fun as Halloween can be, it’s a potential stressor and worthy of a few Halloween Hacks for parents.
A holiday derived from our deep desire to connect with the cycles of life is one of the more celebrated days of the year.
The National Retail Federation estimates over 6.9 billion will be spent by consumers on costumes, decorations, candy, and other items.
And to think my family thought a jack-o-lantern per family member was a lavish indulgence!
Since 2007, Halloween’s seasonal partner has Daylight Savings Time where we turn our clocks back an hour for autumn daylight savings time. Some hypothesize that is was the retail industry that lobbied for this: an extra hour of daylight for trick-or-treating means more candy in the treat bowl..
These are artificial templates on our lives, however. For the past few weeks, my internal clock has been waking me up at 5:30 and it’s pitch dark – darker even than at night because the street lights are off.
I find myself having to clear a whiff of irritation at this arbitrary impinging on my sleep cycle because of the time change.
If an adult practiced in impulse control (good) and sublimating my intuitive interior clock (bad) for work and other responsibilities is irritated by this, imagine how a child or teen feels.
According to Ronald M. Bazar’s new book Sleep Secrets: How to Fall Asleep Fast, Beat Fatigue and Insomnia and Get A Great Night’s Sleep there are seasonal patterns for sleep. Mr. Bazar’s blog can be found here.
These seasonal sleep hours vary according to your distance from the equator. The farther you live away from the equator, the more you are affected by the seasonal changes and will have to adjust. In autumn, it’s optimal to go to bed early and get up early, according to Mr. Bazar. Hence my internal clock waking me up at 5:30.
So what’s the easiest hack to glide into this imposed and random system? What strategies do we employ to prepare for Halloween weekend and setting our clocks back an hour on November 1st?
There’s the path of least resistance: If you’re parenting a child who isn’t in school, let the child adjust on his or her own. Just remember you’re the one missing out on that extra hour of sleep Sunday morning.
For the U.S. – mark this date: Monday, October 26
This is when you use Sleepytime Club’s Bedtime Blueprint and reschedule your day. Download it here. Plan everything 15 minutes earlier. On October 28th, print out another copy and schedule everything another 15 minutes early. On the 30th, 15 minutes earlier and again on the 1st.
And don’t judge yourself on perfection. Awareness is most important.
Which leads us to the third strategy…
Just adjust. Be aware, tweak things the week of November 2nd and honor that you, your family, your community, and your pets dance to interior clocks that connect with the sun, moon, and planets.
Thomas Alva Edison’s invention has been around less than 150 years out of 10s of thousands of years homo sapiens has adjusted to greater rhythms.
Halloween Hack #1:
Along with the 1 pumpkin per family member and the joyful evening together creating jack-o-lanterns with personality, there was the pride we took in making our own costumes. These were usually rummaged from old clothes and having parents with strong Depression Era memories – involved burnt cork for whiskers.
My daughter was obsessed with Sailor Moon. And I must confess it was a guilty pleasure for me. One year at her request, When she was in 1st grade, I made a Sailor Moon costume that was amazing. It took me hours and must have cost me over $75 – including the long blonde wig. I made it a little bit too big so she could put long underwear on underneath.
The next year we moved so Halloween was with a new group of kids. As the holiday approached, I asked if she was willing to be Sailor Moon again and…here was the catch…I would pay her ten bucks!
That was a fortune for her! We even repeated it the following year. By then, she was in fourth grade and more interested in creating a costume with her friends.
Halloween hack #2:
I was completely unprepared for the volume of Halloween traffic our neighborhood got when we moved. I thought 125 giveaways would do the trick but it was gone within an hour of the Halloween celebration. These kids moved in like locusts.
Fortunately, the little ones – the ones for who Halloween is an empowering celebration – are out early. It was the kids who came later that missed out on the candy. I remember around 9 PM a 40-year-old woman on a bike showed up for treats.
The next year, I decluttered all the little plastic tchotchkes my daughter had accrued from fast food outings and birthday parties. Trick or treaters got a choice between candy or a toy. The majority chose toys.
Now that was a win-win-win.
I decluttered, the kids got toys and the parents gave me a thumbs up. Who needs more sugar in the house?
The only person left disappointed was that 40-something woman on the bike.
So prepare – don’t beware!