The celebration of Halloween as we know it today has both pagan and Christian roots. In ancient Celtic culture, October 31st marked the end of the year, and was considered a time when spirits of the dead wandered the earth. In an attempt to replace this practice, the Christian celebration of All Saints Day was instituted. The evening before was called All Hallows Eve, which over the years became known as Halloween. Many Halloween traditions are harmless with children trick or treating and dressing up in costumes. But in recent years this night has become unsafe and an excuse to damage property or harm and offend others that has sent concerned parents in search of safer alternatives.
Safe Alternatives to Halloween
Halloween is big business. Preparations begin as early as August of each year to entice people into buying the latest costumes and related paraphernalia. In recent years, as much as $21 million annually has been spent on Halloween candy alone. To manage expenses and find safer ways of celebrating this holiday, consider these suggestions.
- Limit the amount of candy you purchase. Provide alternatives such as trail mix, popcorn, pretzels and similar snacks.
- Instead of dressing your children as goblins or ghouls, choose friendly cartoon or storybook characters. You could even express your creativity by making a unique costume of your own.
- Start a new family tradition that celebrates the fall season. Get all family members to participate in preparing a special harvest meal and help decorate the home in an autumn theme instead of Halloween decor.
- Rent a good movie and spend a quiet evening at home with the entire family. Order your favorite take-out foods and serve the meal picnic style.
One of the main reasons parents search for Halloween alternatives is their religious beliefs. Many Christian churches in particular offer a variety of free activities to provide a safe haven for children and families.
- Work with your church to plan a harvest carnival or family fun night that includes games, food, prizes and other activities.
- Start a community-wide celebration or block party that offers a talent show, bake sale, storytelling, hayrides and other fun options.
- Share your religious beliefs with those who come to your door for “Trick-or-Treat”.
Whatever you decide to do, don’t look at Halloween as a holiday to be dreaded or avoided. Consider it an opportunity to build traditions and strengthen relationships with family and friends-and best of all, a chance to have lots of fellowship and fun!