Halloween is all about the candy.
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.
- We play games.
- We watch silly 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 try not to do anything too scary. The kids are little and sheltered and we often incorporate movies, history, and story characters. It’s just fun. We trick or treated on base or in our small neighborhood.
Liz was Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz for two years in a row.
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.
Tori was obsessed with caterpillars and butterflies.
There was a huge Halloween party at my husband’s work 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.
We had a homeschool Halloween party.
Katie was Joan of Arc.
It’s really hard to do a skull with all natural ingredients!
We repurposed the same costumes the next year for Tori and Alex.
Katie was Wednesday Addams.
Churches often do a really fun trunk and treat.
We dress up and get candy on or around the day commonly known in the United States, Canada, and UK 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. I seriously doubt most modern people celebrate Halloween by worshiping oak trees or doing anything more evil than eating lots of candy. 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. But we’re not as ignorant these days, right?
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.
Why do we take away all the fun? The kids don’t even know or care about anything but dressing up and getting candy.
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.
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.
We like to learn the history behind “holidays” and traditions.
Let’s not judge one another over petty doctrinal differences. Don’t be legalistic.
Let us have candy.
Classic spooky tales: