Never mind Christmas – for lots of children, Halloween is the most wonderful time of the year. As a holiday, it has it all – a week off school, free treats, spooky costumes, a festive reason to scare your parents out of their skin… the list goes on. This year, however, things are a little different. With the COVID-19 pandemic still raging, Halloween can seem in danger of outright cancellation. What’s Oiche Samhain without trick-or-treating?

If you’re worried about celebrating Halloween with your foster child, look no further – Orchard Fostering are here to help. We understand the importance of ensuring your children have a satisfying and safe spooky season. Read on to discover a range of activities to help your foster children have a happy (and healthy) Halloween.

Replace trick-or-treating with a scavenger hunt

Trick-or-treating is out this year. With COVID restrictions, it just doesn’t make sense to start knocking on your neighbours’ doors, rummaging around in bowls of treats. However, this doesn’t mean your foster child need be deprived of the thrill of discovery in the dark.

Instead of relying on the neighbours, set up a scavenger hunt for your foster child around the house, in your garden, or even in your local park. We’ve mentioned before about getting out for walks with your foster child – your scavenger hunt could double up as your exercise for the day.

Create a treasure map, or a list of clues, directing your foster child to their treats. Head out after dark, and help them uncover their treasure. If you’re worried about the darkness, you could illuminate your treasure spots with glow sticks – adding a ghoulish glow to proceedings.

Design your own frightening face masks

We’ve all spent the past year getting used to wearing face masks. Decorating face masks makes for a great Halloween craft for foster children – it’s fun and practical. All you need are a packet of cloth face masks and a set of fabric markers (make sure the markers are safe to inhale).

Encourage your foster children to design their own spooky face mask, adding whatever Halloween inspired designs they can. This activity doubles up as an educational piece for your foster child, too – you can have a conversation about the importance of masks and why you’re wearing them. If your foster child is too young to wear their own mask, they can always help design them for you.

Have a spooky Zoom watch party

One of the true joys of Halloween is sitting in a room with your friends and watching a scary movie from behind a couch cushion. There are tonnes of Halloween movies for kids out there to watch, like Paranorman, Hocus Pocus, and The Addams Family all readily available online.

While you may not be able to replicate the atmosphere of a crowded sitting room, you can still help your foster child watch a family-friendly frightfest with their friends. It’s a simple process, and guaranteed to be a hit:

  • Start a meeting with your foster child’s friends on Zoom.
  • On the same device, start streaming your movie.
  • Head back to Zoom and select “Share screen.”
  • Select the screen you want to share and make sure to tick “share computer sound” on the same menu.
  • Hit ‘Share’ and pay the movie.

Everyone in the meeting will be able to watch along and react – so make sure to have some couch cushions at the ready!

Have a family costume party

Nothing beats making your own Halloween costume. This year, however, your foster child may be a little put off by the idea. Why make a costume if you can’t show it off to your friends and neighbours while trick-or-treating?

This is where you come in. Get the whole family together one day prior to October 31st and start planning your costumes. You could do your own personal costumes, or you could take it upon yourselves to do a family costume – the Addams Family, the Simpsons, the Incredibles, the Universal Monsters, the options are endless.

Work together on your costumes, and throw a family costume party on the big day. This will give your foster child something to look forward to during an otherwise boring mid-term break – and create a sense of occasion around Halloween.

Go traditional and carve some pumpkins

Pumpkin-carving is an Irish tradition as old as Halloween itself. Initially, jack o’ lanterns were carved out of turnips, and connected to the old Irish folk tale of Stingy Jack – a man who bargained with the devil, and roamed the countryside with only a hollowed-out turnip to light his way.

The jack o’ lantern is one of the enduring images of Halloween – and a great way to while away a few hours this mid-term break. Carving pumpkins is simple, fun, and extremely messy – the perfect activity for your foster child.

Cover your work area with plenty of newspaper. Take a knife and carve the top off your pumpkin. Pumpkin insides are goopy and gross – so leave the gunk removal to your foster child. Set aside these insides, and you can roast the pumpkin seeds afterwards for a Halloween snack.

Get your foster child to draw their design on the front of the pumpkin. You’ll have to take charge of the cutting, but reassure your child that the design is the important part. If you want to avoid carving altogether, you can always just draw on your pumpkin with a black marker. Once you’ve carved your pumpkin up, place a tealight inside and pop it out at your front gate, on your porch, or in your window.

Halloween will be tough this year – but if you follow along our tips and tricks above, you can make it a spooky season to remember.

If you’re interested in helping us build brighter futures, don’t hesitate to contact us today.