Celebrating Halloween After a PCS

Fall is underway and before we know it, Halloween will be peeking around the corner. From choosing costumes to stocking up on candy and pumpkin spice, it’s a holiday that’s only a few weeks away.

However, if you’ve recently PCS’d – or are about to PCS – celebrating the end of October may not be your top priority. There is plenty to get done and finding costumes on top of planning events is just one more thing to add to your list. Luckily, as a military family, Halloween is celebrated no matter where you go. From trick-or-treating on-post to haunted houses, it’s likely that your base has several of the above ready to take place.

Check with your local MWR or neighborhood Facebook pages to see what’s taking place, and when. Then all that’s left is to get your costume(s) ready. 

Your boxes may not be unpacked, but who says you can’t still celebrate Halloween in style? Whether you’re a family with young kids and want to hit up early, candy-heavy events, or are childless and intend to plan a night of spooky cocktails, you can plan accordingly.

Plan for Allergies — the Teal Pumpkin Project

Remember that many kids will have allergies to various treats. Not to mention stranger danger when offering up goodies. If you opt for candy, ensure that everything is individually wrapped. You should also have a few options so that kids with food allergies or sensitivities can still enjoy. Or, consider something like a small toy, juice, etc. to avoid major allergies.

The Teal Pumpkin Project is a growing movement that spreads awareness about child allergies and keeps kids having a good time. Put out a teal pumpkin so families know they can stop at your house, and allergy-prone kids can still partake in the fun. Just because they can’t have a certain candy doesn’t mean Halloween shouldn’t be enjoyed. 

Some candy-free options include spider rings, finger puppets, vampire fangs, pencils or notebooks, and stickers. 

Check Out the Local Fun

In addition to Halloween events taking place on post, you can also check out Halloween or fall-related events going on in nearby towns. Depending on where you’re located, there may be parades, candy sharing, craft sales, parties, and more. Check out local websites (including newspaper sites), social media pages, and more. If all else fails, ask folks what’s available. Sometimes the best insider info comes from those who’ve lived there the longest.

As you’re trick-or-treating, remember to remain patient with families who may be struggling. Crowds or new routines can be difficult for those with special needs, and a little grace can go a long way. 

Trouble with a Costume?

If you have recently moved or are waiting on your HHG, finding a costume may seem trickier than it should. Don’t fret, however. There are plenty of simple costumes you can make from simple items.

Take a look at this comprehensive list of last-minute costumes. Or this list of costumes that can be made out of simple household items. Use what you have, or spend a few bucks at the dollar store and voila! A homemade costume awaits.

COVID tips

With COVID on the rise, however, you’ll need to celebrate with caution. Check local guidelines as to how you should be proceeding. Masks are encouraged. CDC guidance also encourages social distancing, remaining outdoors, and regular handwashing. 

Last year brought on challenges for celebrating like we had in years past, and this year has brought its own standards. Take a look at what they may be (and if they are subject to change) so you can plan accordingly.

Of course, you can bring your own holiday memories with you too. This family watches a campy (and age-appropriate movie) and plays Apples to Apples. Many who have been stationed overseas bring new Halloween traditions back with them. 

A recent PCS doesn’t mean Halloween doesn’t get to be celebrated. Take a look at these tips to see how you can celebrate with families of all ages, including how to get creative with costumes.