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.
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.
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.