Work and Family - October a Month to Acknowledge

Frenzied exit from work...hasty dinner...missed homework...sugar meltdown...late bedtime...cranky kids...candy wars..."Mom, can I have chocolate for breakfast?"

Yup - Halloween can be one scary holiday.

Strategies for the event abound. Some parents have artfully lobbied to move the holiday to a weekend. "It should be scheduled like Thanksgiving - the last Saturday in October," says one mom only half jokingly. Others consider mitigating the candy effects via the dentist theory - that eating all the candy at once is apparently less damaging to teeth. We're guessing that approach has some unsavory side effects. To those brave enough to go for the carrot-sticks, healthy-treat approach, we salute you...and wish you good luck.

While superhero skills would help (oh to be able to fly!), for us mere mortals, Halloween is just a simple matter of survival: grin, bear, eat chocolate. To help, some of our own working moms offer their time-honored survival tips. One of our favorites: don't freak out. "It's a special night," says Ilene, "and as long as I can get my daughter to sleep within an hour of regular bedtime, I'm OK. I can also rest assured she won't be the only child dragging a bit in class the next day." So light up the jack-o-lantern, turn on the flashlight, keep your sense of humor, and when all else fails, remember: at least it only comes once a year.

Trick-or-Treat Tips: 

"I never book afternoon meetings on Halloween. I plan to leave work early and pick my 5-year-old daughter up early from her after-school program."  - Ilene

"Don't order pizza! Or if you do...order hours ahead and have it delivered. Everybody's ordering pizza on Halloween and the line is out the door. A quick plate of pasta might be less stressful - and quicker." - Jessie

"Commuting on Halloween has become worse than Thanksgiving. Everybody's trying to get home at the exact same time. If at all possible, work at home. Or leave the office at noon." - Bridget

"It's all about expectations. I tell my kids exactly what time we'll be going out so I'm not getting phone calls wondering when I'm coming home." - Sandy

"Dinner's always so rushed on Halloween. To make it less stressful, my kids go over to their friends' and have dinner and get into costumes. After work, I come by and pick up the group and take them all trick-or-treating" - Allison

"I bring my toddler's costume to the office and we go for dinner and trick-or-treating at my parents'. We get out nice and early, I don't have to worry about making dinner, and grandma and grandpa get to see my daughter dressed up." - Susan

"I have a strategic "Great Pumpkin" after trick-or-treat tradition. The carrot of the video gets my son excited about going home and gives us decompression time (and a chance to go through the candy) before bedtime." - Rachel

"I have a three-year-old, and I'm trying to remember it doesn't have to be a big to-do. A few houses and he's happy." - Anne

"Costumes go on as soon as I walk in the door, and then a light dinner, hopefully something I remembered to make the night before. Hint: no tomato sauces or other drippy things that can leave our ghost or goblin with a big stain." - Randa

"I take out the really junky candy while they're asleep (and no, I don't eat it!). They never even notice." - Melissa

"I get rid of the candy overload by scoping out donation sites - takes care of the leftovers from handouts, too. Ask your dentist. In the interest of dental hygiene, some donate kids' candy to soldiers overseas where it's much appreciated." - Lisa
Bright Horizons helps employees and their families navigate challenges big and small. Visit us to find out how we can solve your organization's next challenge.

Written by: Andrea Wicks Bowles

About the Author

Andrea Wicks Bowles at Bright Horizons

As Senior Consultant, Director Global Initiatives, Horizons Workforce Consulting, Andrea works with Bright Horizons clients to enhance the effectiveness of their employees and strengthen their position as an employer of choice. Her knowledge of global child care policies, organizational effectiveness, and work/life industry trends combined with analytical skills is used to help clients uncover their unique issues and challenges. Andrea, a frequent speaker at work/life conferences, is a key contributor to Bright Horizons' research investigations.