The first Halloween as a mom is SO fun: the itty-bitty costumes, the jack-o-lantern-themed onesies and PJs and bibs and hair clips (oh my!), and the fabulous photo ops at all our local pumpkin patches.
But come October 31 you suddenly realize something: oh, hey, my kid goes to bed at 7:00pm and just started solid foods last week – she’s probably not going to be out knocking on doors and collecting chocolate!
(There goes the $45 you spent on the perfect costume – when and where, exactly, is she going to wear it?)
Given this little dilemma, my friends and I started a Halloween tradition a few years back. It’s worked out great for us, and I highly recommend it to other new mamas looking for ways to organize a celebration with their families and friends:
Halloween Breakfast Potluck at the Park!
What we do:
A Halloween costume party in the park for our kids, husbands, and any grandparents or friends who happen to be in town. Basically, we send out an eVite and the list grows from there. We do ours at Roadrunner Park, but there are so many local parks to choose from and all you need is some covered picnic table areas in close proximity to a playground.
When we do it:
This is key: it’s in the MORNING. When the kids are happy and cheerful and the mommies are caffeinated. Kids in the 0-3 age range have a hard time hanging with the nighttime Halloween party crowd. The time has varied since our kids have gone through various nap stages, but around 9:00 or 10:00am on the Saturday or Sunday before Halloween is perfect. We’ve never had to reserve space (although at some parks you may want to do so), because most of the birthday party crowds don’t snag the picnic tables until much later in the day.
How we do it:
We do breakfast and brunch foods, potluck style. Everyone signs up for something to bring and is responsible for their own serving stuff. Somebody gets plates/cups/utensils, somebody else figures out little party favors, and someone else does a few simple decorations. We’re talking SUPER simple (remember? these kids are not even going to remember this Halloween and will be more interested in the playground than the party itself).
Why it works:
I already mentioned the early-in-the-day factor, which is key. Doing it at the park is also a must: nobody’s house gets messed up, our Arizona weather almost guarantees perfection this time of year (especially in the morning), and having the playground, swings and sand nearby is perfect for babies and toddlers who aren’t yet into traditional Halloween party games. Another great benefit of the park is not worrying about how many people show up. We’ve had grandparents, out-of-town visitors, and all kinds of friends-of-friends join in, and no one has to worry about extra guests putting extra pressure on a hosting family.
The best part:
The absolute best part? The photos! Great natural light + happy and well-fed kiddos + a party time that doesn’t conflict with naps or bedtime = fantastic photos: