Have you heard of Booing? Until a few months ago I was completely in the dark about it, but it’s becoming quite the thing these days. Slowly but surely, neighborhood by neighborhood, Booing is becoming a tradition, and with good reason. It’s fun for the whole family, stirs up the same excitement as a game of Secret Santa or the impending arrival of the Easter Bunny, and builds a sense of community. In the middle of the second largest commercial holiday in the country (History.com estimates that Americans spend $6.9 billion annually on Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations) it’s nice to have something that teaches kids about the gift of giving.
A Booing How To
For those who get Booed this Halloween, or for those who would like to begin the tradition:
1. Make two copies of a Booing poem and the “We’ve been BOOED” signs. (Included in the materials below.)
2. Prepare two personalized treat buckets with fun Halloween goodies, treats, and toys. Most Learning Express locations are Booing Headquarters, providing everything you’ll need.
3. Stealthily deliver the bucket of treats and signs to two neighbors or friends that don’t already have a “BOO” sign on their front door or window. Ring the doorbell and RUN!
4. Watch and see how far and quickly the BOOs spread by Halloween!
Download Booing Materials.
Booing really started to pick up about four years ago, and little is known about how it came about, but its roots can be traced back to the 1980s. According to Associated Content staff writer Timothy Sexton, the one thing that is certain is that, “It is a uniquely American contribution to the history of Halloween.” Booing also goes by the names “Ghosting” and, my personal favorite, “Hobgobling.”
Beyond the Boo
For more quality family fun around Halloween time, I’m a big fan of craft projects. Disney’s Family Fun website has some great suggestions. I’m particularly intrigued by the ghost lanterns made out of empty milk cartons. There’s also a section where you can upload photos of your own inventions.
No post about a family-focused Halloween would be complete without a few words to the wise about Halloween safety. Here’s a list of things to remember:
• Use makeup instead of masks. Hypoallergenic, non-toxic face paint is a better choice than a mask, which may obscure your child’s vision and hinder breathing. If you do opt for a mask, cut oversized holes for the eyes and mouth, and encourage kids to take the mask off each time they cross the street.
• Avoid oversized costumes and shoes that can cause tripping. Choose comfortable shoes and make sure clothes don't drag on the ground.
• Select light-colored costumes when possible. This makes it easier for drivers to spot trick-or-treaters. For costumes that have to be dark, accessorize with a white pillowcase for stashing loot and standing out in the dark.
• Attach reflective tape to costumes to make them easier to spot. A few strips on the back, front, and bucket should do the trick. If your child is planning on biking or skateboarding, stick some tape on that as well.
• If you’re not going to be with them, ensure emergency information—name, number, and address—are somewhere on your child’s clothing or on a bracelet.
• Choose accessories that are smooth and flexible. Look for swords, knives, and other accessories that don't look too realistic or have sharp ends or points.
• Accessorize with a flashlight, watch, and cell phone to help kids see where they’re going, know when to head home, or make a call if they’re in trouble. Make sure they know their curfew and how to contact you.
• Depending on where you’re located, the weather on Halloween night can vary drastically. Have a matching colored turtleneck at the ready that can be worn beneath the costume in case it’s a chilly night.
Stay Safe on the Trick-or-Treat Beat• Make sure children under 12 years of age are supervised by an adult or teen chaperone if you can't take them around yourself. Teens should have a curfew.
• Safety in numbers! It’s best for kids of any age to travel in groups of three or more. Plan a route with your child, making sure they know to call you if they deviate from the plan. Keep the route to familiar streets and houses, working up the street then back down without crisscrossing. Set a time limit when they should come home or call you.
• Remind kids to visit well-lit, familiar houses. Make your child promise to stick to the stoop and never go inside unless the grownups are family friends. Remind kids to say “thank you” for their treats!
• Review pedestrian rules. It’s easy to overestimate your child’s ability to remember to cross at corners, wait for walk signals, and stay on the sidewalks. Between the evening’s excitement and the novelty of being out at night, reviewing traffic safety is a good idea. Remind them to walk, not run between houses.
• Decorate the walkway or steps with lanterns instead of candles. Battery-powered light sources such as light sticks are just as decorative and not as dangerous.
• Let adults do the carving. Give your child a marker to draw the pumpkin pattern, but keep knives in your own hands. If you plan to use a candle in the pumpkin, small votives are the safest bet. Stash the lit pumpkin on a sturdy surface away from anything flammable and don't leave it unattended.
• Remove tripping hazards on your porch, walkway, and driveway. Clear your lawn of hoses, branches, bikes, wet leaves, or wires that could trip trick-or-treaters.
• Keep pets inside. Between the noise, visitors, and pranksters, Halloween is not very pet-friendly. Keep dogs and cats in a closed, quiet room if possible.
Sift Through the Loot
• Check candy wrappers. Pinholes, tears, or unusually loose packages can indicate possible tampering.
• Remove choking hazards for young children, including hard candies, small toys, peanuts, or gum.
• Don't let your child eat anything that isn't sealed. Unless you know the source, throw away homemade or fresh food items.
• Keep candy and wrappers away from your pets. Chocolate can be deadly to animals, and they can choke on hard candies and wrappers. Store candy well out of your pet’s reach.
• Regulate candy intake. Set a daily limit on your child’s consumption and set a deadline for when leftover Halloween candy gets thrown out.
Have a Boo-tiful Halloween!
- Toy Talker