Every morning, our 4 year old daughter has been asking us “How many more days until Halloween?” My wife and I look at each other and sigh, and tell the number (one less than the day before). We remember loving Halloween, and yet, we know what’s coming – lots and lots of sugar and likely a few nights of overtired, hyperactive sugar highs. It wasn’t until a conversation with Edward Perotti, that I remember the hope and wonder of Halloween and what it inspires.
A Conversation with a Party Planner that changed the way I’ll think about Halloween
Daddy’s Digest had the opportunity to speak to Edward Perotti, famed celebrity event planner. The conversation took us well beyond Halloween party planning, and we talked about raising children on the autism spectrum (Edward’s 26 year old son is on the spectrum) and expressing creativity in every day life.
Why did I go on a journey from thinking about exhaustion and sleep deprivation around Halloween to remembering the joy of the celebration? – because of what Edward told me.
What Edward, the dad and event planner, reminded me:
For every child who feels different, Halloween is a day of hope. They can transform into anything and be more or less free from the standard judgments. Every other day of the year, most people live in the confines of what is acceptable, and Halloween is really a time to celebrate.
I remember one Halloween my cousin wore my boys school high school uniform and I wore her girls school kilt. It was hysterical. Both of us expressed ourselves and played a new role. It was freeing and it was funny. Neither of us identified with being the opposite sex, but stepping into that role for the night helped us both see things from a new perspective.
When we see things from a new perspective, it opens our world
Edward talked a lot about his two grown sons, aged 28 and 26. Edward’s 26 year old son is on the autism spectrum, and he sees things differently. He works with Edward on a day to day basis and comes up with unique party ideas. Edward tells a particularly moving story about taking his son to a museum, and looking at a painting of a ship sinking. “Everyone would just look at the ship sinking when walking by that painting, but not my son. He was 11 years old and he just said, see the sun off in the distance and that little boat way back there? That makes me feel like the painting is hopeful.” It was a beautiful way to see a painting that must have looked like destruction to other onlookers.
“I am grateful for what my sons have taught me,” Edward says. “They give me hope.”
Parents- do the activities at the Halloween Party!
When it comes to event planning, Edward tries to make something exciting, relevant and inclusive to all the people attending. “I want anyone to come to one of my events and experience a joyful moment.” With that in mind, planning a Halloween party, you should think about the age and interests of the attendees and think creativity to plan something special.
One idea that Edward had was to get mini pumpkins to decorate with your kids or at a small party – “Don’t just get mini pumpkins for the kids – get them for all the grownups in attendance so they can be involved in the creativity.”
Dress up with your kids!
Edward wanted to make sure that parents remember not JUST to encourage kids to dress up, but to also dress up yourselves. Mirroring to your child that you also want to enjoy this time of freedom and self-expression can do so much for their self-confidence. Similarly, dressing up the home, front porch or throwing a small (or big) gathering, can really create lasting memories.
Whatever the theme- superheros, classic Halloween monster, ghost, princesses, doctor, superhero-princess, ballerina-scientist or something else altogether, the experience of coming up with the idea for the costume, then creating the actual costume (through art or a thrift store) to embodying the character is simply FUN.
Halloween is once a year; we can still have this type of fun all year long!
Halloween is coming FAST, but if there is anything I want you to walk away with from this article, it’s that we have to look for the sunshine behind the sinking ship. So in that mess of overtired, sugar high, late night doorbell ringing that is Halloween, let’s look for the curiosity, freedom and joy of this special time of year. “Let’s look for more opportunities to celebrate,” says Edward, “connection with our friends, families and extended network makes life so much more meaningful.”