Hating Halloween – how I’m doing things differently this year

 Growing up I dreaded October 31st. It meant you’d have to find a great costume, trick or treat or attend some party where every one thinks it’s cool to be in disguise. People go to great lengths to dress up – it means a lot to them.

When I think of what Halloween stands for, I get completely turned off. It’s a gruesome day where most to the nation encourages kids to love the spookiness and darkness of this day. Don’t we have enough scary shit in this world? Do we really need a day where fake blood is painted on kid’s faces and chopped-off rubber hands creeping from front yards?

Okay so I’m an anti-Halloween mom.  Yes, my kids DO dress up and dad takes them out, but I’d rather stay home and give out candy to see just what costumes come walking up on my porch. I find it fascinating that parents let babies and toddlers dress up when the child is clueless as to why their taking candy from strangers in the dark when they’re should be in bed!

And clearly the best treat of all is when we dump the candy out of my kid’s bags and see what they’ve got. Highly fake, colored, hard items that we call ‘candy.’ My kids have gotten into the practice of dumping the most artificial items in the trash. They keep the chocolate and peanut buttery stuff.  The worst of item of all is that gross giant ‘diamond ring’ or ‘pacifier’ that is neon green or blue. We seem to always end up with one.

For years we’d only put up cutsie decorations – rats, cats, spider webs… Never zombies or cut off heads. My kids were too young and were afraid of entering costumes stores so we made a sensitive decision not to spookify our yard or home while they are young.  My kids prefer creative costumes like Star Wars, Albert Einstein and Indiana Jones. My kids have basically commercialized Halloween I like to say! This year I’m sure it will be the Avengers.

This year? I’ll let a bloody item be staked into the grass. If they’re ready for that, then so be it. But as far as the candy goes. I’m on a mission to un-junk the kids who dare to come on my porch! To learn more about the influential brand who has won over my kids and me, check out this site GetUnreal.com – we have no doubts that you’ll appreciate their mission too. As you can see their video above pretty much says it all. WOW.

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Best Parenting Books of All Time – @TheGoToMom ‘s Personal Picks


Aldort, N., Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming Parent-Child Relationships from Reaction and Struggle to Freedom, Power and Joy (2006)


Holt, J. C., How Children Learn (1995)


Cohen, L. J., Playful Parenting (2002)


Rosenberg, M. B., Nonviolent Communication (2003)


Lerner, C., and Dombro, A. L., Bringing Up Baby: Three Steps to Making Good Decisions in Your Child’s First Years (2005)


Dreikurs, R., and Soltz, V., Children: the Challenge (1980)


Faber, A., and Mazlish, E., How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk (1995)


Garbarino, J., and Bedard, C. Parents Under Siege: Why You Are the Solution, Not the Problem, in Your Child’s Life (2001)


Ginott, H. G., Between Parent and Child: The Bestselling Classic That Revolutionized Parent-Child Communication (2003)


Gottman, J., Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child: The Heart of Parenting (1998)


Gottman, J., and Gottman, J. S., And Baby Makes Three (2007)


Gottman, J., and Silver, N., The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work (1999)


Hart, S., and Hodson, V. K., Respectful Parents, Respectful Kids: 7 Keys to Turn Family Conflicts into Cooperation (2006)


Heim, S., and Engel-Smothers, H., Boosting Your Baby’s Brain Power (2008)


Hirsh-Pasek, K., and Golinkoff, R. M., Einstein Never Used Flash Cards: How Our Children Really Learn and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less (2003)


Holinger, P., What Babies Say Before They Can Talk: The Nine Signals Infants Use to Express Their Feelings (2003)


Schickedanz, J. A., Much More Than the ABCs: The Early Stages of Reading and Writing (1999)


Kashtan, I., Parenting from Your Heart: Sharing the Gifts of Compassion, Connection, and Choice (2004)


Kohn, A., Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason (2005)


Kurcinka, M. S., Kids, Parents, and Power Struggles (2001)


Kurcinka, M. S., Sleepless in America: Is Your Child Misbehaving . . . or Missing Sleep? (2007)


Kvols, K. J., Redirecting Children’s Behavior (1998)


Pipher, M.,  Reviving Ophelia: Saving the Selves of Adolescent Girls (1995)


Runkel, H. E., Screamfree Parenting: The Revolutionary Approach to Raising Your Kids by Keeping Your Cool (2008)


Sobel, D., Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education (1996)


Swallow, W. K., The Shy Child: Helping Children Triumph over Shyness (2000)


Wesselman, D., The Whole Parent: How to Become a Terrific Parent Even if You Didn’t Have One (1998)


Blaine, K. The Go-To Mom’s Parents’ Guide to Emotion Coaching Young Children (2010)


Kids Books About Feelings

Big Feelings: A Book Filled with Emotions, Talaris Institute (2009)

ABC Look at Me! by Roberta Grobel Intrater (infant–4)

“Baby Faces” books (most are by Roberta Grobel Intrater) (infant–4)

Can You Tell How Someone Feels? by Nita Everly (3–6)

Double-Dip Feelings, by Barbara S. Cain (5–8)

The Feelings Book, by Todd Parr (3–8)

Glad Monster, Sad Monster, by Ed Emberley and Anne Miranda (infant–5)

The Grouchy Ladybug, by Eric Carle (1–6)

Happy and Sad, Grouchy and Glad, by Constance Allen (4–7)

How Are You Peeling: Foods with Moods/Vegetal Como Eres: Alimentos con Sentimientos,

How Do I Feel? by Norma Simon (2–7)

How Do I Feel?/Como Me Siento? ed. by the editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries

I Am Happy, by Steve Light (3–6)

If You’re Happy and You Know It! by Jane Cabrera (3–6)

Little Teddy Bear’s Happy Face, Sad Face, by Lynn Offerman (a first book about feelings)

Lizzy’s Ups and Downs, by Jessica Harper (3–9)

My Many Colored Days, by Dr. Seuss (3–8)

On Monday When It Rained, by Cherryl Kachenmeister (3–8)

Proud of Our Feelings, by Lindsay Leghorn (4–8)

See How I Feel, by Julie Aigner-Clark (infant–4)

Sometimes I Feel Like a Storm Cloud, by Lezlie Evans (4–8)

The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain (4–8)

Today I Feel Silly and Other Moods That Make My Day, by Jamie Lee Curtis (3–8)

The Way I Feel, by Janan Cain (3–6)

What Makes Me Happy? by Catherine and Laurence Anholt (3–6)

What I Look Like When I Am Confused/Como Me Veo Cuando Estoy Confundido, by Joanne Randolph (5–8)


Kid Books on Sad Feelings

Let’s Talk About Feeling Sad, by Joy Wilt Berry (3–5)

Franklin’s Bad Day, by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark (5–8)

Hurty Feelings, by Helen Lester (5–8)

Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems (3–6)

Smudge’s Grumpy Day, by Miriam Moss (3–8)

Sometimes I Feel Awful, by Joan Singleton Prestine (5–8)

The Very Lonely Firefly, by Eric Carle (4–7)

When I Feel Sad, by Cornelia Maude Spelman (5–7)

Kid Books on Angry or Mad Feelings


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, by Judith Viorst (4–8)

Andrew’s Angry Words, by Dorothea Lackner (4–8)

Bootsie Barker Bites, by Barbara Bottner (4–8)

The Chocolate-Covered-Cookie Tantrum, by Deborah Blementhal (5–8)

How I Feel Frustrated, by Marcia Leonard (3–8)

How I Feel Angry, by Marcia Leonard (infant–4)

Sometimes I’m Bombaloo, by Rachel Vail (3–8)

That Makes Me Mad! by Steven Kroll (4–8)

The Rain Came Down, by David Shannon (4–8)

The Three Grumpies, by Tamra Wight (4–8)

When I’m Angry, by Jane Aaron (3–7)

When I Feel Angry, by Cornelia Maude Spelman (5–7)

When Sophie Gets Angry—Really, Really Angry, by Molly Garrett (3–7)

Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, by Kevin Henkes (4–8)


Kid Books on Scared or Worried Feelings

Creepy Things Are Scaring Me, by Jerome and Jarrett Pumphrey (4–8)

Franklin in the Dark, by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark (5–8)

I Am not Going to School Today,by Robie H. Harris (4–8)

No Such Thing,by Jackie French Koller (5–8)

Sam’s First Day (in multiple languages), by David Mills and Lizzie Finlay (3–7)

Sheila Rae, the Brave, by Kevin Henkes (5–8)

Wemberly Worried, by Kevin Henkes (5–8)

When I Feel Scared, by Cornelia Maude Spelman (5–7)


Kid Books on Self-Confidence

ABC, I Like Me, by Nancy Carlson (4–6)

Amazing Grace, by Mary Hoffman (4–8)

Arthur’s Nose, by Marc Brown (3–8)

The Blue Ribbon Day, by Katie Couric (4–8)

I Can Do It Myself, by Emily Perl Kingsley (2–4)

I’m in Charge of Me! by David Parker (3–5)

I Am Responsible! by David Parker (3–5)

The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper (3–7)

Susan Laughs, by Jeanne Willis (4–7)

Too Loud Lily, by Sophia Laguna (4–7)

Try and Stick with It, by Cheri Meiners (4–8)

26 Big Things Little Hands Can Do, by Coleen Paratore (1–6)

The Very Clumsy Click Beetle, by Eric Carle (3–7)

Whistle for Willie/Sebale a Willie, by Erza Jack Keats (4–7))

You Can Do It, Sam, by Amy Hest (2–6)


Kid Books on Behavior Expectations

Can You Listen with Your Eyes? by Nita Everly (6–7)

Can You Use a Good Voice? by Nita Everly (6–7)

David Goes to School, by David Shannon (3–8)

David Gets in Trouble, by David Shannon (3–8)

Excuse Me! A Little Book of Manners, by Karen Katz (infant–5)

Feet Are Not for Kicking (available in board book), by Elizabeth Verdick (2–4)

Hands Are Not for Hitting (available in board book), by Martine Agassi (2–8)

I Tell the Truth! by David Parker (3–5)

I Show Respect! by David Parker (3–5)

No Biting, by Karen Katz (infant–5)

No, David! by David Shannon (3–8)

No Hitting, by Karen Katz (infant–5)

Words Are Not for Hurting, by Elizabeth Verdick (3–6)


Kid Books on Family Relationships

Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman and Carlos Rivera (infant–5)

Baby Dance, by Ann Taylor (infant–4)

Counting Kisses, by Karen Katz (infant–5)

Don’t Forget I Love You, by Miriam Moss (2–7)

Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney (infant–5)

Guji Guji,by Chih-Yuan Chen (5–8)

How Do I Love You? (available in board book) by P. K. Hallinan (infant–5)

I Love You: A Rebus Poem, by Jean Marzollo (1–6)

I Love You the Purplest, by Barbara M. Joose (4–8)

The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn (3–8)

Koala Lou, by Mem Fox (4–7)

Mama, Do You Love Me?/Me Quieres, Mama? by Barbara Joosse (3–6)

More, More, More, Said the Baby: Three Love Stories, by Vera B. Williams (infant–3)

Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell (3–7)

Please, Baby, Please, by Spike Lee (infant–5)

Te Amo Bebe, Little One, by Lisa Wheeler (infant–3)

You’re All My Favorites, by Sam McBratney (5–7)


Kid Books on Problem Solving

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems (2–7)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems (2–7)

I Did It, I’m Sorry, by Caralyn Buehner (5–8)

It Wasn’t My Fault, by Helen Lester (4–7)

Talk and Work It Out, by Cheri Meiners (4–8)


Kid Books on Bullying and Teasing

A Weekend with Wendell, by Kevin Henkes (4–8)

The Berenstain Bears and the Bully, by Stan and Jan Berenstain (4–7)

Big Bad Bruce, by Bill Peet (4–8)

Chester’s Way, by Kevin Henkes (5–7)

Coyote Raid in Cactus Canyon, by J. Arnosky (4–8)

Gobbles! by Ezra Jack Keats (4–8)

Hats, by Kevin Luthardt (3–6)

Hooway for Wodney Wat! by Helen Lester (5–8)

Hugo and the Bully Frogs, by Francesca Simon (3–7)


Kid Books on Grief and Death

The Fall of Freddie the Leaf, by Leo Buscaglia (5–adult)

Goodbye, Mousie, by Robi Harris (3–8)

I Miss You, by Pat Thomas (4–8)

The Next Place, by Warren Hanson (5–adult)

Sad Isn’t Bad: A Good-Grief Guidebook for Kids Dealing with Loss,  by Michaelene Mundy (5–8)

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Emotions Matter More Than You Think

The basis of good parenting is empathy. Emotions matter more than you think. Never deny or minimize your child’s experience. If you’d like your child to be physically healthy, do well in school, and have compassion for other acknowledge their feelings.  Empathy by far is one of the greatest teaching tools, use it. Commit to better parenting.

For more great parenting tips check out Kimberley’s book, www.TheGoToMomsGuide.com.

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