Looking for New Traditions? 6 Ways to Celebrate Halloween with Your Aging Loved One!

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When asked about their favorite seasons, most people would talk about summer, fall or maybe winter. But for me, the best season will always be that two month period between Halloween and New Year’s Eve.  Yes, it can be a very hectic, cold, and stressful time of year, yet it is also the time of year that reminds us of what is really  important.   Presents are great, but this time of year is my favorite because I get to make new memories and celebrate old traditions with my family and friends.

Though I love this time of year, the holidays can also serve as an acute reminder that as our families and friends age, many of our old traditions must change. The holiday activities my 93 year old grandmother is able to participate in is ever evolving and many activities she could do last year are no longer possible for her.

So from now until the New Year, I am going to write about the activities I am planning on doing with my grandmother to get in the festive spirit. Below are my top six ideas of Halloween traditions you can still enjoy with your aging loved one. Please feel free to try one of my Halloween traditions and tell me what your favorite ones are!

1. Pumpkin carving night. Invite all your family members and/or close friends to your house for a pumpkin carving party.  You can let people choose if they want to actually carve out their pumpkin or simply paint it.  Everyone can bring their favorite snack or Halloween drink.  Those that do not want to carve can still enjoy visiting with loved ones and reminiscing about their favorite Halloween memories.

2. Senior Center Halloween Party. In almost every community there is a senior center that throws a Halloween party.  Encourage your parent/grandparent/friend to attend.  If they are nervous or uncomfortable with attending alone, try to attend with them.  Not only are they likely to have a good time and meet other people in the community, but they may feel comfortable returning on a regular basis without you.

3. Night of old Halloween movies, and cocktails. There is nothing my grandma loves more than cozing up by the fire with a old movie on

5. Baking night. Bake or buy cookies and get simple supplies to decorate them.    Then you can  share them with family, friends and neighbors.  If your loved one is in a new community or neighborhood, this can be a great way for them to introduce themselves and meet new people. and a martini.  So put on the movie, mix some drinks and get comfortable for the evening.

4.  Trick or Treating at your local mall.
If you still have young kids or grandchildren, why not take them trick or treating at the mall?  It is a warm, safe, and easy place to do an evening of trick or treating.  Plus your aging loved one will enjoy just sitting and watching all the kids trick or treating.  This type of trick or treating is easy, and stress free for both you and your aging loved one.

Grandma relaxing with a cocktail on a cruise in 2009.

6.  Invite them over for  Halloween night. Halloween night can be scary for aging adults home alone.  They may feel vulnerable with
strangers coming to the door.  Therefore, it is a perfect opportunity for you to to invite them over to your house.  You can give them a simple costume and they can help you give candy to the trick or tr eaters, drink spiced cider or simply enjoy each others company.

Bottom line, Halloween can be another holiday where aging loved ones feel lonely and nostalgic.  However, it can also be a great time to relive old memories together while creating new ones.

Pick an idea that sounds easy and fun to you, because ultimately the holidays are about enjoying yourself and being with the people you love.  Please share with me how you plan on celebrating Halloween, we would love to see pictures!

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