Halloween is all about the candy.
Halloween is actually the beginning of the natural year.
I love the poignancy of the crispy leaves and the smell of decay in the air as the world goes to sleep for the dormant winter.
We often got our first dusting of snow the week of Halloween when we lived in Utah.
How we celebrate Halloween:
- We read history and fun stories. Our favorite is The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury.
- We carve jack o’lanterns and paint pumpkins and do leaf rubbings to decorate our house.
- We make or upcycle costumes for trick or treating. Occasionally, we buy a ready made costume.
- We play games.
- We watch silly and scary movies.
- We make fun fall crafts you can see here.
- We attend harvest and fall festivals.
- We make sweet treats. Like Aunt Betty’s punch. And anything pumpkin.
- We have fun themed activities like this sensory bin.
- We celebrate Reformation Day.
- We celebrate All Saints Day.
We try not to do anything too scary. When the kids were little and sheltered and we often incorporated movies, history, and story characters. It’s just fun. We trick or treated on the military base or in our small neighborhood.
Liz was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz for two years in a row. She was into it.
Liz wanted me to make her a fairy costume one year.
It was way more expensive than anything I could have bought, but it was sure fun.
Then Liz got obsessed with US history and wanted to be The Statue of Liberty. It was our first year homeschooling.
Tori was obsessed with caterpillars and butterflies. She still is!
There was a huge Halloween party at my husband’s work on base one year.
Our kids like family costume themes.
Princesses were a theme for a very long time.
Then the High School Musical craze for Liz.
Anything frilly with wings: butterflies, ladybugs, fairies.
Babies are fun to dress up as cute little animals, like our son as a tiger.
They were Asian princesses and a ninja one year as we studied Asian history and culture and became a bit obsessed. We found the girls dresses all together at a thrift store.
Halloween isn’t really celebrated in Europe. They have Hexennacht or Walpurgis Nacht. Our village started doing more with trick or treating our last year there because it’s fun and there were a lot of Americans in our city due to the military presence.
We had a homeschool Halloween party with games, crafts, and treats.
Katie was Joan of Arc.
It’s really hard to do sugar skull makeup with all natural ingredients!
We repurposed the same costumes the next year for Tori and Alex.
Katie was Wednesday Addams.
When we moved back to the States, the kids dressed up together and went trick or treating in our neighborhood, which consists of one single street. The town designates a two hour window for trick or treating and cops patrol to make sure the curfew is kept.
Liz went as Molly Ringwald. Alex is still obsessed with ninjas. Katie was a Corpse Bride. Tori was Killer Frost/Caitlin Snow.
Their best friend joined as the Cheshire Cat for the Alice in Wonderland theme.
Was last year our last trick or treating?
Churches often do a really fun trunk and treat. We did that a couple years.
We dress up and get candy on or around the day commonly known in the United States, Canada, and UK (and probably Australia?) as Halloween. My husband’s workplace has a candy Event in the afternoon and we go trick or treating around our neighborhood at dusk.
We often have a party with a homeschool group or at home or a friend’s house. One year, Liz attended an epic Alice in Wonderland party.
I’ve read numerous posts on why people think Halloween is absolutely evil. I’ve read articles about why we shouldn’t allow our children to participate in any way in Halloween activities. These articles mostly cite superstitious ancient Celtic and Druidic rituals, or even Roman festivals. I seriously doubt most modern people celebrate Halloween by worshiping oak trees or doing anything more evil than eating lots of candy and watching movies and dressing up. These people spout about how churches are being hypocritical by offering harvest festivals and trunk or treats and they are glorifying satan by doing so.
The origins of Hallowe’en were to celebrate the harvest and it goes back to ancient Roman times. I don’t see where satan is in that history in pre-Christian times. Now, the ancient Celts believed that All Hallow’s Eve was a time to remember loved ones who had passed on. There are all sorts of superstitions surrounding that. The Day of the Dead is still celebrated in Mexico and other places.
The Catholic Church jumped on board and created All Saints’ Day and incorporated the pagan day with a Christian one, like they tended to do (check on the pagan origins of Easter and Christmas!). Originally, on this Eve of that Holy Day, or All Hallows’ Eve or Hallow E’en, people dressed up as saints and went begging for alms (sound a little like trick or treating?). It also became known as Beggar’s Day.
All this combines to what is now supposed to be just this fun kids’ day about candy and dressing up.
Yes, some houses go a little overboard and their scary house decorations and costumes do make us a little nervous. And I can’t watch movies about possession either.
Why do we take away all the fun? The kids don’t even know or care about anything but dressing up and getting candy.
Halloween is just about the only holiday that doesn’t center around family gatherings, so there isn’t that stress that often surrounds Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter.
Even our minivan has a costume! It’s the T.A.R.D.I.S. when we all dressed up from Doctor Who one year:
I wonder why we don’t see so many articles forbidding us from celebrating Christmas and Easter since their origins are pagan too.
Should Christians also forbid Santa Claus, Christmas trees, or Easter eggs from their festivities? Do they decorate for other holidays traditionally? I know some do forbid these things. Holidays are commercial enough as it is. Some legalistic people just want to take the fun out of everything. They believe that everything is evil.
From the book Festivals With Children by Brigitte Barz about experiencing Halloween as a transition point between Michaelmas and Martinmas:
The candle inside the pumpkin or turnip, both fruits of the earth, is like the very last memory and afterglow of the summer sun with its ripening strength. Then for Martinmas a candle is lit within the home-made lantern; this is the first glow of a light with a completely different nature, the first spark of inner light.
We have freedom to celebrate holidays.
We choose not lie to our children about an Easter bunny hopping around with chocolate eggs or a magical Santa Claus who travels via chimney. We learn the history of those holidays too.
So churches have “trunk or treat” or fall harvest festivals to “bridge the cultural gap.” It’s no different than the neighborhood trick or treating I grew up doing, but it’s supposed to be safer since no one is ever home these days nor knows their neighbors anymore.
If you remove a cultural tradition, you better replace it with something more or better or your kids will eventually resent it and rebel. Is that what we want?
Why can’t the day be redeemed?
I’ve seen parables of the candy or treats representing God’s sweet blessings. Why can’t we just have some fun and play dress-up? There are books about jack o’lanterns considered the shining light of Jesus.
It’s all about how you present the day to your children: If you project fear and hatred; you will teach them that. If you teach tolerance and joy; they will learn that.
I also agree with you on the Halloween, christmas, and easter being pagan origin. I am a Christian and I am raising my children in the same beliefs, but I also try to teach my children the truth about these holidays, but I also incorperate the Christian beliefs too.
Lady Bogdan says
I so agree! Just about every Christian Holiday we have is/was centered around a pagan holiday/festival.
Julie Anne Jordão says
I’ll have to bookmark this post for the next nagging I hear about Halloween. Being a teacher, I feel it is such a sweet day for kids, and I love your arguments. Hope you had fun!
Jennifer Lambert says
Thank you, ladies, for the affirmation. We do a lot of Reformation Day stuff and we teach about Christ in everything, but it’s just fun to dress up! and the candy…
This year was my first year passing out candy for Halloween (I’m 26). I’ve never been trick or treating. My parents (especially my mom) were the “ultra conservative Christians” you mention. And you’re right, we did not do Santa, Easter eggs, or the Easter bunny. We were allowed to have a Christmas tree, but only because my dad insisted that we have one, and it was artificial and only 4 ft tall. My mom had a friend who had been a practicing Wiccan or witch and she always had a hard time at Halloween because they had different ceremonies and stuff then. That being said, I had the best time this year passing out candy. My husband and I just bought a house a few months ago and we met a bunch of neighbors we hadn’t met yet during trick or treating. I loved it. As a kid, I never really felt like I was missing out on Halloween. We would get a little candy from my parents, watch a movie as a family, drink root beer floats and eat popcorn. It wasn’t something we got to do all the time, so it was fun.
One issue, Halloween is evil. Please do not cover up your reasoning as being that it was an ancient holiday that had evil once upon a time, but not anymore. I studied its origin and spoken with those that were Wiccans but are now saved. They will tell you that it is a very evil day, and I know as Christians it is hard to say no to the world. We must even if it means being different. I feel it is a great ministry to be a part of a Church Fall festival and maybe wear an innocent costume. By trick or treating, and going to functions such as your husband’s work party is conforming. Why not say we celebrate Fall and everything God gave us at our Church festival, maybe you would like to come. Then it shows that you are not judging, but choosing to honor God by witnessing on this day rather than take part in the secualr rituals. At least at your Church you are covered by prayer and other believers. It is to much conformity.
Also, the evil and pagan rituals behind Halloween are still relevant today. It is not with Christmas and Easter. I wish you the best, and I will pray for discernment for you.
I want you to know I was not judging your family. This article was posted on my Facebook, a friend who was trying to find balance in the holiday. I get alarmed because so many of us do not want our children to miss out. Everything is for Jesus, and I only meant for all of us to not try so hard to walk that line. I in no way said you were bad or anything was negative toward your family. God does call us to show followers of Him a right path if they veer. Which I did not do in my comment. I really would rather you pray for the Country at this tine. Thanks!