The fall tends to be the toughest part of the year for deployments. During this time, there are many family holidays that can make the family back home miss the military member even more. These holidays highlight the loneliness and separation for the military member as well as his family.
However, even when they are thousands of miles away and serving in a war zone, there are still ways that they can be included in the holiday season – starting with Halloween.
There’s no reason why your military member can’t have candy too even if he can’t go door-to-door with your little one to get it. Pick up some plastic treat bags from the store and fill them with popular Halloween candy. Tie up each bag with orange and black ribbon and package them up to send overseas. Keep his location and the temperatures in mind when sending chocolate or others items that may melt during transport.
Don’t forget to send extra bags of goodies that can be passed out to his buddies who are also away from home during Halloween. This can be a fun package and a great way to lift spirits. In addition to satisfying his sweet tooth, it gives him the chance to raise the spirits of others by passing out the goody bags to his team. Your kids can even make cards to include in the packages with hand drawn pumpkins and spooky Halloween scenes.
Include the Kids
Halloween tends to be a holiday for kids where they can dress up in fun and scary costumes while trick or treating or attending fall festivals with plenty of games and activities. But the holiday can hold a different meaning when dad is on the other side of the world and the kids have to enjoy the festivities without him present.
There’s no reason for dad to miss out on the activities just because he is currently in Iraq or Afghanistan. With a video camera in hand, record you child getting dressed for the big night and have her tell dad just why she picked her costume. Then follow her out the door and record her interaction at a few homes as she rings the door bell and says “trick or treat” for candy from the neighbors. It may be a good idea to inform the neighbors of your plan so they aren’t thrown off guard by the camera. In fact, they may want to record their own message of thanks to your military family member.
Depending on his access overseas, either mail the video to him or upload it to the computer and send it via e-mail to him. Either way, he will be able to participate in trick or treating with his kids even from afar. And you’ll have a great memory on tape of her Halloween experience that year.
If he’s going to be missing his favorite horror flicks on television, put together a movie care package for him. Include his favorite horror flicks on DVD along with snacks such as popcorn and typical movie candy. Again, be sure to send enough so he is able to share with those around him. After all, watching movies alone is no fun.
If horror flicks aren’t his thing, send his favorite comedy. Or if he’s a true kid at heart, you can always send “It’s a Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Before sending a cartoon, check with him first to make sure he won’t catch too much good-natured ribbing from the guys. But in all likelihood, the break from reality overseas may be just what he and his buddies need to recharge for a new day when November arrives.
Scenes of Fall
Sometimes it isn’t so much Halloween that he is missing as it is all the other things that go along with the fall season — the changing of the leaves, the cooler temperatures, football games and the smells of holiday baking. If he’s in a cooler area, send a new set of flannel sheets for his bed. Along with the bedding, you can spray the pillowcase with your perfume or favorite scent for him. Enclose it in a Ziploc bag so the smell remains while not spreading to other parts of the package.
In addition, you can include scented candles in the package. Many times, with the surrounding environments and fellow military members who may not find the shower as often as they would like, the smell overseas is not exactly pleasant. They will appreciate the smells of fall from a few candles. Be sure the temperatures aren’t still overly warm where he is so the candle wax will survive the journey.
To round out this package, try out a cake in the jar recipe. Most typical cake recipes can be made in a mason jar and baked according to package directions. If you prefer to bake from scratch, many cake in a jar recipes can be found online. While the jar is still hot, carefully attach the lid, and, as it cools, it will seal the jar. When it arrives overseas, it should be as fresh as it was when it came out of the oven. He will enjoy the tastes of home.
Round out this package with recordings of his favorite sports teams or recaps from ESPN. Depending on his location and the amenities available where he is, he may not be able to watch college football or professional football on the weekends. Record his favorite games and send it along with the package.
As you can see, there’s no reason he has to be excluded from the festivities back home simply because he isn’t there. It’s possible through care packages, email and video to still include him in Halloween as well as the other upcoming holidays.
When sending a Halloween package, be sure to allow ample time for the package to arrive by the holiday. While most packages can arrive in seven days, it is always wise to allow a full two weeks for packages to arrive by a certain date.