Halloween is one of those festive holidays. Decorations abound–displays in store windows; on suburban lawns; in New York City’s postage-stamp-size yards, even on the sidewalks of NY outside of two restaurants I passed today.
When our parents are young-old, chronologically or psychologically, they’re usually out and about interacting with others, with plenty of exposure to the black cats, ghosts, witches, pumpkins etc.–at grocery stores and super markets, gas stations and malls–and, of course, bakeries and candy stores.
I remember my parents coming back to visit in late October one year. They were mobile and could drive. They were in their ’70’s. Halloween night stands out, with the excitement that each ring of the doorbell created for these active seniors. With that in mind, I share ideas for involving aging parents in the Halloween fun.
Invite aging parents to your home to marvel at
the trick-or-treaters’ costumes.
Dad loved answering the door bell’s ring–then seeing the little kids in costume. Their high pitched’ “trick or treat” elicited his compliments about their scary look, great costume etc. They beamed at the compliments as they took their candy. Dad beamed back. Mother, in the background, seemed happy to replenish the candy supply. She too had a big smile on her face as she watched these excited little kids having such a good time.
It was then I realized what a fun night Halloween could be for older parents at their adult childrens’ homes. From watching the grandchildren get made-up and into costume, to answering the front door and dispensing candy (we had healthier treats in later years), it was pure fun–double fun when the kids come home with their loot to be examined by all.
Celebrate Halloween with parents at their home
Halloween can make old people living alone, and those who don’t like to go out, apprehensive about the tricks and answering the doorbell. Can an adult child arrange to be at his or her parents’ home during the trick or treat hours? I know my parents felt stress when the doorbell rang late at night. Older age=feelings of vulnerability…..but we can lessen that on Halloween, making it possible for the old folks to enjoy the kids and costumes while we are at their home (and have possibly provided the treats). And if few children ring the bell, you have been with your parent(s) and that in itself is a gift (as we know).
Take old/older people out for a ride to view the decorations
I wrote 2 posts on short drives with elders– on Halloween in suburbia–viewing the home decorations and lawn displays. A dry run to preview the most festive streets and homes is almost a must. Seeing the lit displays at night is more dramatic.
Arrange for young children in costume to visit
relatives and friends in care facilities
My brother is probably the oldest father in the PTA. Until last year he loved joining his daughter as she and her friends went trick-or-treating in costume. When she told him last Halloween that she was going to a party with her girlfriends, he said he felt bad not being part of these middle schoolers’ experience any more. Can we take our children, in costume, to brighten up the lives of people where “trick or treat” no longer happens?
Take a pumpkin to the care facility
An option to the quick decorated pumpkin as a gift for someone–whether living in a care facility or not–is the hollowed-out pumpkin. Fill small jar with water and use as a vase inside empty pumpkin. Just add some chrysanthemums. They’ll think you came from the florist. And it will brighten up any room.
Holidays provide opportunities we can take advantage of– to jump-start aging parents and add some joy to their lives.
Halloween Treats (no tricks) for Aging Parents, Grandparents–Us Too! Includes going for rides to see displays and decorations–city and suburban
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from respected universities–plus some fun stuff–to help parents age well.