Family Halloween

It’s the spookiest night of the year, but not everyone wants to highlight the creepiest of creepy with our families and children. Not many 4-year-olds want to watch the wrath of masked serial killers or the bloodshed of an axe-wielding maniac’s victims. This guide will aid students with families or those just weak at heart and stomach, to the not-so-scary side of Halloween.Some haunted houses can be an alternative to the usual creep-fest. Freestanding haunted houses tend to be over-priced, over- rated and too much for smaller children. However, haunted houses in shopping malls provide great entertainment for children. They are not too scary, and usually have shorter lines than others.Another alternative is to find out what your church is doing. Most churches in the Huntsville and Houston area have Fall Festivals or the equivalent, which offer a safe, friendly alternative to traditional Halloween activities. These festivals usually have candy, hayrides, games, contests, prizes, music, booths, moonwalks and many other events. The cost to attend is minimal to free. Visit online for a listing of participating churches.For students with children, treat-or-treating is the usual activity.In addition to the basic trick-or-treating safety guidelines, such as only going to houses with the light on and being cautious of strangers, remember to warn children to never go inside someone’s house, carry a flashlight and try to map out your trick-or-treating route before you go. Let a family member or friend know what that route is and when you plan to be back. Always check candy for pinholes and tampered packages, and throw away candy that is homemade, loose or that is wrapped in paper taped or glued together. As an extra precaution, some area hospitals offer free “candy X-rays,” which can spot razors, needles and other harmful objects that might be lodged in your child’s candy.A Halloween party at home might do the trick and treat this year. Games, ghost stories and costume contests might fill the evening after a hearty dinner of spaghetti and eyeballs, werewolf fingers, cobweb cookies and witches’ brew. For spooky Halloween recipes, visit the Web site, and for party ideas and decorating tips visit course, there’s nothing wrong with staying home dressed as a couch potato. Go to Blockbuster or Hastings and rent “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” or “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” and eat left over candy. There are plenty of Halloween specials on television to watch. Sometimes it’s nice to just answer the door on Halloween and see all the great costumes kids are wearing.Halloween is only as spooky as we allow it to be, and many will be looking into more kid-friendly versions of the holiday. Halloween can still be enjoyed without the company of John Carpenter and Michael Myers.

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