I love Halloween! While I’m not a huge fan of the more gruesome focus that seems to be on trend right now, classic more cheerful Halloween decor and festivities are always in style. My fondness for this season surely stems from having delightful memories of my childhood Halloweens. Determined to fill an entire pillow case, we travelled the neighborhood in packs of kids far and wide to reach that famed “full pillowcase” status each and every year. Always a fun night that was exhausting too, it was a blast to come back and trade favorite treats with my siblings leading everyone to end up with more than less of the candy they loved best.
Fast forward to raising our family and we’ve been as enthusiastic as our childhood selves. We are as social and festive as we can be, getting them out and about to Trick or Treat in each neighborhood that we’ve lived in. As a parent and adult, I love visiting with both the kids and their parents, the gleeful sounds that fill the night, and that sense of community that surrounds us all.
Which leads me to now being the parent of the “older” kids. With children spanning middle school to college, we are in that season where you a shift from what life was like with our oldest to raising our youngest through those same stages today. And when it comes to Halloween, there are some fundamental changes I’m noting that simply need to stop. Tough love moment I know, but here you go…
Don’t judge my teenagers.
I get it. They are teenagers. They “could” be trouble. When my kids were younger I used to give them the Mom eye too. But as now that I have those “older” kids, I promise you that in most cases, kids in this age group who Trick or Treat on Halloween are generally harmless. And kudos to the parents who host those kids. They probably served an unfathomable amount of pizza and snacks to them, coordinating carving pumpkins without anyone losing a limb, took countless pictures, and sent them out on their way to enjoy a safe, fun night in their neighborhood. Believe me when I say this ~ when your kids are that age, you’ll want them as close as you can keep them. Surely my neighbors can welcome them too. After all, its just candy they want while they chatter the night away.
Don’t skip your neighborhood Halloween celebration for your church’s Trunk or Treat.
I realize this one is going to ruffle some feathers. Especially in the South, let me tell you Trunk or Treat is a HUGE deal. On the weekend before Halloween, sometimes even Halloween night itself, local places of worship all over town host annual Harvest Festivals and Trunk or Treat celebrations to bring people together. Which in theory is fine. Except when neighbors choose those events and then not participate on Halloween. I’m talking about going all out for that Trunk or Treat, costumes, car decor, hay bales and all, and then not even answering the door for all the ghosts and goblins out and about on Halloween night. Believe me when I tell you I love my place of worship and the people in it. But if I choose to spend time there and not in my community, I’m totally missing out on fellowship and fun with my friends right next door.
Don’t leave a bucket of candy on your porch so you can Trick or Treat as a family.
Let me preface this by stating that I’m giving the benefit of the doubt that most people never even realize that if they don’t stay home to hand out candy, they are basically killing off Trick or Treat. If you aren’t home on Halloween night and leave out a candy bucket on the porch that is very nice indeed. If your family is sick and you can’t come to the door, no need to be nice. Keep that candy for your kids who can’t go out to Trick or Treat. But if you are home and go out as a family to Trick or Treat, you are missing the point.
Trick or Treating is about kids, with a parent chaperone depending on their age, going to neighbors homes, ringing the doorbell, and saying “Trick or Treat!” When you leave home empty so you can Trick or Treat as a clan, it totally defeats the purpose. Think of it this way, why should I stay home to visit with you and your sweet kiddos if you aren’t home to do the same for mine?
The trend that has everyone going out as a family is making Halloween impersonal, not to mention impolite. Plenty of kids take fistfuls if not entire bucketfuls of candy leaving none for those to follow them. No honor system here ~ its an unsupervised bucket full of candy ~ can you blame them? They are kids. So seriously. Take turns, go in shifts, have Grandma staff your door and hand out that candy, but whatever you do, please don’t leave that bucket of candy on your porch.
Don’t make your kids wait to eat their treats.
Seriously. Just don’t. While candy consumption is easy to manage with little ones, the older they get, the less logical it is to expect kids to show that much self control. If you’ve raised them with some kind of conversation surrounding healthy eating, it’s more than likely that they will realize they need to choose moderately. So agree on a number of pieces of candy they can likely manage before they feel sick and know that you’ll have no real way of knowing what they eat as they run through the neighborhood. And that they will survive even if they do get sick. Live and learn ~ its the only way some kids will ever get it.
We love Halloween ~ we truly do! I just don’t want to see it deteriorate from a cherished ~ albeit sometimes creepy ~ childhood tradition into yet another occasion that has been taken over by too much parental participation and political correctness. Its Halloween. Get your ghoul on and have some fun! Tell me…
What is your biggest Halloween what not to do?
So often we seem to make things harder than they need to be. And at the same time, we all know things never stay the same. Ironically, I find myself in a unique position with kids spanning eight years. Call me old school, but childhood traditions like Halloween would do well to be left alone so that generations of children can experience what is seems so rare these days ~ all kinds of community fun out and about on a magical night with family and neighborhood friends.
Thanks so much for stopping by ~ we’ll see you next time!