As is true with other parts of my life, my thinking about Halloween has moderated in my adult years. When I was younger, I probably would have told you that I didn’t think there was any way to partake in Halloween festivities and still be a Christian. I don’t think that now, thanks in large part to many friends who have helped me see in shades of gray, rather than black and white. So please know that this post is not meant to indict you in any way for how you celebrated on October 31st. If you haven’t read my KIOS disclaimer in awhile, go read it because it definitely applies here.
That being said, Nik and I have decided to forgo celebrating Halloween with our family for several reasons.
1. I have very limited creative energy and sewing time. I am NOT about to squander it on coming up with costumes for my children that will only be worn for one day (or at best for a few times).
2. I know we could also just buy/borrow costumes for our kids, but we also have some serious ethical concerns with the the amount of money spent (wasted) on costumes by society at large. To us, it’s a waste of resources, both monetary and environmental.
3. Our kids don’t even really know what candy is. (Remember Ellie’s pencil candy?) We don’t see any reason to let them acquire the taste for it any time soon.
4. For a variety of reasons (no sidewalks on our street, our front door is difficult to locate, etc., etc.), we get little to no trick-or-treaters at our house. We see plenty of them in our neighborhood but they just don’t come to our house. Therefore, Halloween isn’t even a fun night for us at home anyway. We’d be sitting around with a bowl of candy with no one to give it to. What fun is that?
5. One of the true evils of Halloween? All that chocolate tainted by child slave labor. It’s hard to forget once you know.
6. Last but most important to me, I just can’t do scary stuff. If someone could promise me that Halloween would just be cute babies in bumble bees and little girls as princesses and boys as firemen, I might be OK with it. But I’m just not OK with dripping blood, glorifying evil, and celebrating death. I don’t see any way to separate the cute from the horror and so we’ve chosen to separate ourselves from it. We know our children will need to learn about the very real presence of evil in this world but it doesn’t need to happen when they’re young.
You can’t just say, “NO!” right? Eespecially now that Ellie is old enough to understand that something is going on, that other kids are doing something fun and she’s not, we knew we needed to have a family tradition for October 31st. Last year, we went out to eat on a whim and this year, we decided to just do that every year. We super-rarely eat out as a family just by ourselves (maybe 2-3 times a year?), so it’s a big treat, especially FOR ME!!!, to get to eat in a restaurant (no cooking! no dishes!). We decided to combine it with a trip to Loch Raven Reservoir to see the geese, and there you have it! A fun family tradition!
One of these things is not like the other! Somewhere, a farmer is sad, missing her duck.
At this moment, Ellie would only consent to being in a picture if we were being silly.
my precious, growing-up-so-fast daughter
stomping to scare away the geese, who clearly have been fed too many times
I’m not sure what will happen once our kids get old enough to have their own opinions about trick-or-treating, costumes, and Halloween. When the time comes, I hope that our willingness to listen to their deep desires and concerns will inform our conversation about how to live ethically and responsibly in all areas of our lives. If that involves one child or the other wanting to celebrate Halloween, then we’ll just have to work together to figure out how to do that in a thoughtful, responsible way.
In the meantime, Ellie was thrilled to eat the biggest piece of pepperoni pizza she’d every seen and I don’t think she missed the candy at all!
How about you? How have you solved the Halloween issue? Maybe it’s never been an issue for you? If you do go trick-or-treating with your kids, what in the world do you do with all that candy? 🙂
I love the pictures of you and your kiddos, Laura!
We do Halloween. The issues that we have are not issues that you have.
Up until age 3, there really was not much interest in the candy. The most interesting part was the ability to interact with a lot of people. My neighborhood in Baltimore was really fabulous for Halloween. People would sit on their stoops and talk to their neighbors and hand out candy from about 5pm to 8pm. (Around then, the high schoolers not wearing costumes would start coming by and asking for candy, and we usually ran out of about five bags of candy by then.) We have some friends here who have a neighborhood that really likes Halloween.
Age 3 was the first year where we had trick-or-treating that involved knocking on doors. My son kept trying to go into everyone’s house to see what their house was like.
Age 4 involved awareness of both candy and allergies. My son kept stopping and asking if he could have things. The people handing out the candy would say that he could, but he would ask if he was allergic. The people handing out candy had no clue. Because of his dairy allergy, all of the chocolate is out.
We put the bag of the candy on the refrigerator and limit candy consumption to a few pieces a day. I think the bag may have already been forgotten because I made cinnamon rolls yesterday.
Most of the Halloween costumes are not scary. A lot of them are related to television shows and characters. For Halloween, my neighborhood had a pizza party in the park for all of the kids. We attended but had dinner first (again due to the dairy allergy.) There were several tigers and lions. The kids all had store bought costumes. One adult had a homemade jellyfish costume.
One of the scarier Halloween costumes is the Scream mask from the movie Scream. However, it is hard to be scared of a mask that people have been wearing for at least the last five years.
Our last year in Baltimore, there was a guy who was not particularly sober in front of our house telling us something horrible about animal abuse, and that was probably the scariest thing that happened. But that was in interactions that involved more than 100 people.
We expected to see some Elsa costumes from the Frozen movie, but surprisingly we did not see Elsa.
I would choose cinnamon rolls over Halloween candy any day, Sepideh! Good choice! It’s definitely different when there are a lot of trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood, that’s for sure. Our neighborhood list serve had an “Elsa-watch” conversation but surprisingly, there were very few Elsa spottings. Perhaps the Frozen furor is finally dying down?