This Halloween, your tween won’t even consider dressing up, declaring, “Halloween is for little kids!”
That’s normal, says Joel Young, M.D., a Beaumont Health psychiatrist with practices in Rochester Hills. “They want to distinguish themselves from their younger brothers and sisters,” he explains.
How should a parent react? Young, who is the father of three, says respecting this developmental stage is key – and points out the holiday’s resurgence with high schoolers (so if you’re bummed, wait a few years!).
Till then, help your tween feel like she’s not a little kid anymore with these alternatives.
Let her go with a group
Your tween may want to trick-or-treat without mom and dad trailing her. Consider allowing her to venture out with just her friends.
Party at home
Throw a Halloween bash! Have your child invite friends over to watch scary movies or just hang out. Maybe your tween can plan out a freaky menu like cookies made to look like fingers and hot dogs cut up into spider shapes.
Enlist her help to pass out candy
She’ll feel more grown-up if she gets to pass out the candy instead of collecting it.
Let him set up a scarefest in your front yard
From plastic spiders and cotton webs to glowing hands, there’s plenty of outdoor decor your tween can use. Urge your child to get creative and come up with creepy scenes using what you have laying around in your garage or basement (minus any power tools or saws, that is).
Hold a family movie marathon
Snuggle in to watch as many Harry Potter movies as you can before everyone falls asleep, or some other kid-friendly Halloween flick. After all, part of the appeal of Halloween is being able to stay up later – even if it is a school night.
This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for 2016.