October is a fascinating time of year. Fall is here along with a flurry of seasonal traditions and a progressive build up of spooky delights.

Leading up to Halloween, some choose to buy firecrackers and light up the night, others will hit the town or host parties, but for those with young kiddos at home, the 31st takes on a whole new form. A celebration of tiny monsters in the day, and for some, an early start to trick or treating before forfeiting the candy and heading to bed. (That simple, right?) Being a parent can make you think back to when you were a kid and what certain things were special to you. As such, I feel that it’s important to celebrate the season with more festivities that are safe, healthy and fun.

Have fun with costumes. As soon as they are able to, let your child decide what they want to dress up as. Get them involved and even have them help make it! Consider dressing up with them—you’re never too old to stop having fun so try and opt for a family theme and roll with it.

Celebrate with community events. Check your neighbourhood well in advance for fun events and activities taking place on the weekend or during the day on Halloween. Having options is always a great idea and allows you to branch out and meet new families. When it comes time for trick or treating, see if you can link up with others close by to make for a fun and safe neighbourhood walk. Don’t forget reflectors.

Manage the candy. A bucket of chocolate and candies is undoubtedly a highlight of your child’s year, but once you get home, it’s time to play bad cop and come up with ways to distribute/regulate the sugar most productively. Use the candy as a reward system, for example, for helping with small chores or for good behaviour during the day. Set the standard ahead of time that one or two per day is all they can have.

Cook and bake for the season. Buy some candles that smell of pumpkin spice and get creative in the kitchen with healthy treats and wholesome meals that bring the senses in alignment with fall. Think hearty stews, spaghetti squash, whole grain muffins and pecan caramel cookies.

Create new traditions. Going to the pumpkin patch is obligatory, but what you do with those things at home is what makes your family unique. If they’re old enough, try letting your child draw the face on the pumpkin and then carve away at whatever masterpiece they come up with. Add some gourds to the mix and get playful and creative with your kids. These are the memories that will last a lifetime, and these will be the traditions to get passed down again. Happy October!

Natasha Mills, an Islander of 25 years, enjoys sharing the journey of parenthood and all Vancouver Island has to offer on her lifestyle blog. @mommamillsblog, mommamillsblog.com.