Putting your child to sleep on Halloween can be very difficult. They have had a fun evening trick-or-treating dressed up in spooky costumes and eating sweets, so they aren’t always too happy when it comes to an end. Halloween is fast approaching and falls on a school night this year meaning that a lay in is not possible. We want our children to be able to get up in the morning for school feeling fully rested but also have fun on Halloween. So how do we make this happen without any tears or protest?
1. Start the Trick-or-Treat early
In the UK it should be dark by 5pm which is a good time to go out. Normally one to two hours is enough time for your little ones to make the most out of the trick-or-treating. Try to plan dinner time as close to your normal routine as possible. You may have to move the time to accommodate for Halloween activities. If you are moving it later, consider taking a snack to prevent any hungry children. The earlier you can come home from trick-or-treating prior to bedtime the better. This is because your child will have more time to settle and unwind. I find it can be helpful to give children a notice before ending the trick-or-treating. For example, you can tell them when they have 10 minutes until home time. This way they have some time to process that they will be going home soon.
2. Follow your normal sleep routine this Halloween
Once it gets within an hour or half an hour of bedtime start your child’s normal sleep routine. If you think your child will resist sleep on Halloween it is a good idea to begin the routine 15-20 minutes earlier than usual. We have to remember that nobody enjoys ending a fun night and many children can become very overstimulated on Halloween. Starting the bedtime routine earlier means if there are any tears or tantrums you have more time to work through these heightened emotions. Do try to keep to your child’s normal school bedtime as much as possible. If you do not already have a bedtime routine, activities before bed such as a bath followed by reading a calm book can help your child relax before they go to sleep.
3. Sugar and Sweets
I’m sure that most children would stay up late and eat sweets until they were sick if they had the chance. Sweets are great fun but to ensure good quality sleep on Halloween we need to moderate the amount of sugar that our child eats. Sugar is converted by our bodies into energy which leads to feeling overstimulated and restless. Excess sugar has been shown to decrease sleep quality and lead to more night-time awakenings. I would recommend limiting the amount of sweets and also the time to stop eating sweets. It can take one to two hours to metabolise sugar after eating, therefore try to stop with the sweets two hours before bedtime.