The Associated Press Spooked by the thought of your teenager at loose ends on Halloween? Therapists say the best solutions help teens too...
Spooked by the thought of your teenager at loose ends on Halloween? Therapists say the best solutions help teens too old for trick-or-treating to take on a little adult responsibility but still have fun. Here are several strategies:
Take younger siblings trick-or-treating. This is “always an out,” says family therapist Carleton Kendrick. It gives teens an excuse to dress up and collect candy.
Ask your teens to hand out candy at home. Challenge them to dress up and outdo you in entertaining the visitors.
Have them set up an elaborate Halloween scene at your house. Kit Bennett, founder of amazingmoms.com, suggests asking your teen to rig up a graveyard scene with sounds and lights. “They’re going to want to stay put,” she said. “They’re going to want to see how their plan is being implemented.”
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Help them arrange to volunteer that night at a nursing home or homeless shelter. They can pass out candy or perform a Halloween-related skit. Public Halloween events also need volunteers and will often accept the help of teens. Volunteering is a way to “confer a little bit of maturity to a child who is seeking that,” Kendrick said.
Host a Halloween party. “That gives you the control,” Bennett said. She suggests a pumpkin-carving party or a scary-movie party. Avoid the slasher-style horror movies; stick with campy old monster movies. If you’re more ambitious, you can order mystery party kits online and have the guests solve a “crime.” Or arrange a Halloween-related scavenger hunt in your yard. You can also hire a psychic to give spooky readings.
Take them to a Halloween-related event such as a hayride, corn maze or organized festival hosted by your town, a local museum or school.