Halloween can either be a time of meaningful traditions and fun family time, or it can become just another meaningless holiday that devours our money with ridiculous decorations and fattening food. Here are five traditions to help take Halloween and Fall to a deeper level with your family.
If you have previously chosen not to celebrate Halloween, it’s time to take control of this particular festivity and make it special in your own way. Nobody celebrates their birthday exactly the same, and some – like Jehovah’s Witnesses – don’t celebrate at all. Think of Halloween the same way: Why would you feel the need to do Halloween like everyone else? You can leave the witches and wizards out of it, or you can make your front yard into fright night itself.
However, if you have children, the ghosts, goblins, witches and devils can be truly frightening. Even if you tell them “it’s not real” the images that kids see during this dark time of year can cause nightmares. Children don’t understand logic or concrete versus abstract realities until they reach age seven or eight. Therefore, the following ideas focus more on smiles and laughter than fear, because even fake blood can be scary to a toddler!
Pumpkins Plus! Going to the pumpkin patch is fun, and the trip offers beautiful photo opps, but pumpkins have more uses than being turned into Jack O’lanterns! Buy a few books to keep in your Halloween or Autumn decorations that give your pumpkin more meaning such as “My Happy Pumpkin” or other children’s pumpkin books. Don’t just let your pumpkin rot on your front porch, either! Bake the pieces in the over, take off the skin and puree it for soup, pies, muffins, cookies and other seasonal goodies. Roast the seeds with a little grapeseed oil and seasoning salt on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees-Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Yum!
Halloween Carols? With Christmas right around the corner, why not dust off your family’s vocal chords and put some of this season’s words into next season’s tunes? You can find changed lyrics to songs such as Deck the Halls (with poison ivy…) or We Three (ghosts of Halloween are…) If Be creative and make up your own words to familiar songs while you do your carving. If this creepy night wasn’t about creativity, then Michael’s would be out of business!
Meaningful Messages? A tweet on twitter said a woman was considering just handing out religious tracts instead of candy on Halloween. But if that’s your prerogative, why not attach the tract to the candy? You could get cute stickers with silly jokes or uplifting quotes to encourage all the frazzled parents chaperoning their kids from house to house. If you’re not into candy or tracts, remember the dentists who like to pass out toothbrushes. Costco sells bulk bags of Playdoh. Whatever you hand out, if you attach a message to it keep it simple and kid-friendly.
Trunk or Treat! Some neighborhoods and church communities are doing “Trunk or Treat” events where they can safeguard their little ones a bit better. When you go trick or treating, you never know what will pop out at you from behind a door. If you plan an event with friends or fellow churchgoers, you can keep things sweeter. If the weather cooperates, everyone meets in a parking lot, decorates their cars and the kids go from trunk to trunk gettting candy. If the weather is rainy and cold, get toy chests and set up activity centers around a gym or community center.
Halloween doesn’t have to be all about candy and religious quarrels. Halloween is as wholesome as you make it out to be. You are in charge of your family’s traditions, so pick things that will bless and uplift them, things that will make them laugh and grow closer together. Think about what you want your kids and your friends to remember about this time of year, and then make Halloween happen!