If you are the parent of child with cancer, you may be trying to think of ways for your child to celebrate Halloween in a safe, healthy way. Even with a child without a cancer diagnosis, you still may be looking for ways to makeover the holiday. Check out these questions and answers for ideas this Halloween.
How can we celebrate Halloween if my child is in the hospital for cancer treatment?
Ask the healthcare team if the hospital has anything planned for Halloween. Many pediatric treatment centers host trick-or-treating in the hospital or throw costume parties for patients to celebrate the holiday in a safe space.
If the hospital doesn’t have anything planned, talk to staff about what’s allowed. Here are some questions you may want to ask:
- Can you decorate your child’s room? (Think paper cutouts of monsters, black and orange streamers, trash bag “ghosts.”)
- Can your child wear a costume? If so, keep in mind issues like maintaining easy access to a port or IV.
- Are there any restrictions on foods you can bring for your child?
My child is not in the hospital but is a cancer patient. Is it okay to go trick or treating?
Ask a member of your child’s healthcare team. If your child’s doctor gives you the okay for trick or treating, ask if there are any precautions you should take. For example, should your child wear a face mask to protect from exposure to germs and illness?
What are some fun Halloween activities we can do at home?
If your child is not well enough to go out for trick or treating, think of activities you can do together at home. Here are some ideas:
- Watch Halloween movies— but nothing too scary!
- Make tasty Halloween-themed treats together at home.
- Get crafty and make masks out of plain white paper plates, markers, construction paper, and stickers.
- Carve or paint a pumpkin to make a spooky Jack-O-Lantern. (Carve the pumpkin yourself but your child can help scoop out the “guts” and plan the design.)
- “Camp out” in the living room with sleeping bags and a tent and tell ghost stories.
What are some healthier Halloween treat ideas?
Instead of stocking up on mini candies and chocolates, think of ways to incorporate fruits and veggies into your Halloween treats. Here are a few fun ideas:
- Dip apple slices in dark chocolate
- “Spiders” on a log (Peanut butter, celery, and raisins)
- “Ghost” bananas with dark chocolate chips faces
- Tangerine “pumpkins” with celery stems
- Layer oranges, pineapples, and top with whipped topping for “Candy Corn” in a cup
What should I do with all the left over candy?
After Halloween, especially if you have children, you’ll probably find yourself with a sack full of candy. Here are some ideas to put all that candy to good use:
- Donate candy to be sent to service men and women overseas or to be distributed at VA hospitals.
- “Buy” tick-or-treat candy from your kids. Pay them 5-10 cents for each piece. Let them use the money to pick out a new book or toy.
- Add bags of mini M&Ms to nuts and dry fruits to make your own trail mix.
- Bake cookies and used chopped up candy bars in place of chocolate chips.