Halloween ghost

A ghost is set up for the Boo-levard on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2015, in the Minne Lusa neighborhood in Omaha. The neighborhood group decorates islands with candy and activities for the children.

It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing and football is in full swing. That means Halloween is just around the corner. Trick-or-treating is a great experience for your younger kids (up through grade school).

But what about Halloween activities for teens?

Teenagers out trick-or-treating can be frustrating for both parents of younger kids and neighbors distributing candy. Many of these teens are taller than the parents and don’t have a costume. They can get in the way of little kids struggling to make it to the door with younger siblings in tow. Often, they are out much later than the little trick-or-treaters, and are ringing doorbells long after homeowners have either run out of candy or packed up for the evening.

Once kids are past the school party age (usually at seventh grade and older), start looking for other ways to enjoy Halloween. Here are some tips for a fun (and safe) Halloween for teens:

1. If your 13- and 14-year-olds want to participate in trick-or-treating, encourage them to make the experience fun for youngsters. Allow your teens to take a younger sibling or cousin trick-or-treating, or encourage them to dress up and pass out candy to younger neighbors. That way, they have fun and you get extra help and maybe even a break on a busy night!

2. Offer fun and safe alternatives so your 15- through 18-year-olds can enjoy the holiday. Older kids may just want a fun way to celebrate with friends. Many church groups host Halloween parties. Encourage them to visit a “haunted” attraction with friends, invite people over to watch classic horror movies (Young Frankenstein, anyone?) or host a costume party in your home. Provide lots of tasty Halloween-themed snacks and some supervision.

3. Whatever activity you and your teens choose, make your expectations for safe behavior crystal clear. Just because your teen’s wearing a costume doesn’t mean your regular family guidelines are suspended. This means keeping the evening safe, legal and moral. No drug use or underage drinking; adults need to be on the party premises; and don’t do anything or take photos of anything you wouldn’t want to share with your pastor and grandma.

Remember, older kids enjoy holidays, including Halloween, too! Appreciate and recognize their desire to celebrate by suggesting and encouraging activities that let them have a fun and regret-free time with their friends. For more information about raising teenagers, click here

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Laura Holmes Buddenberg joined Father Flanagan's Boys' Home in January 2000. As a training manager at Boys Town, Buddenberg works as an administrator, writer and trainer, specializing in teen dating and relationships, media awareness, family spirituality, abuse and other issues affecting today's families.

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