How Not to Celebrate Halloween is not a bashing Halloween post but a post on Halloween alternatives. Unfortunately, it’s easy to want to demonize the 31st of October, but the day itself is just like any other day and worthy of celebration. I am aware of its origins, but instead of focusing on witches, haunted houses, or even candy, let us enjoy the festivities of such a fun and cozy season with family. Every day belongs to God, and every day deserves to be celebrated.
Illuminating hollowed-out pumpkins and gourds originated as a Celtic pagan practice of warding off evil spirits, but that doesn’t mean we have to have the same association. In our home, we have always enJOYed carving pumpkins. Sometimes, we carve funny faces. Other times, we use stencils and carve out houses, llamas, or beautiful light displays. Pumpkins are a fall favorite, and what better way to celebrate the fall than by illuminating and setting a spotlight on them?
When it comes to dress-ups, I am still a child at heart. Whether it be dressing up for a fall festival, a dinner party focusing on a specific country, or a themed birthday party, playing dress-ups is just too much family fun to miss out on. In fact, the only problem is deciding which costume to wear. Trick or Treating is not the only reason to dress up. Get creative. Truly, do we need to have an excuse to dress up?
Fall Art Projects
I don’t know if you are anything like me, but when the kids and I spend time on an art project, I want it to be something we all would be proud to display in the home. Sorry, those macaroni noodle necklaces or Dixie cup and paper plate Sunday school projects are not my thing. Our kids deserve to get their hands on the real thing.
Eric Carle is one of our favorite children’s book illustrators. He wrote The Very Hungry Caterpillar and The Grouchy Ladybug. His work is fun to imitate, and everyone’s projects turn out to be unique and full of beautiful colors. We have done several projects using this medium. Below is a video tutorial by Ms. Lily we followed to do the above art project. Actually, it only took about two hours to complete, which allowed for drying time. Ultimately, it was a wonderful introduction to Eric Carle’s excellent art medium, and the final picture brings a fun fall atmosphere into the holiday decor.
Scavenger or Treasure Hunt
Our family is really into Scavenger and Treasure Hunts. They are great to do with a big crowd and only require a little effort and creativity to make an occasion extra special. So, you can imagine the surprise I felt when I realized my children had been watching me all these years and the investment I have made in celebrating them. I did not put on this Halloween treasure hunt, but the baton was handed to my daughters. Imitation is the highest form of flattery. But more importantly, I realized that more is caught than taught.
There have been many proud mom moments as a mother, but this one takes its place at the top. This Halloween, the boys were looking for something extra fun to do. We had plans for the evening to watch a movie and eat our favorite treats, but their school was done, and pumpkins were carved the day before, so my son asked if I would do a Treasure Hunt for them. By 4 O’Clock, I still needed to get around to writing the clues. Spontaneously, I asked two of my daughters if they wouldn’t mind creating a Treasure Hunt for the boys. They were happy to accommodate.
They called the boys a few hours later and handed them their first clue. I was blown away that they had not only shown such love and attention to detail with their beautiful illustrations and catchy rhymes, but they made an ordinary day turn extraordinary. Their brothers would probably not remember Trick or Treating several years from now, but they would never forget the love their sisters showed them and the fun we all had combing the house and property for treasure.
If you can get a large group of people together for a game night or outdoor games, you already have the makings for a great party. The three-legged race, sack race, dress-up relay, overhead, and underfoot race are just a few of the outdoor games to play. Not only are you working off some of those sugary treats, but you are also getting some great exercise and a lot of laughter.
We like to cozy up for Halloween with a fun family movie night and our favorite fall snacks: apples with Caramel Sauce, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Popcorn with a Pop. Beauty and the Beast is our annual favorite. Feel free to check out my post on the perfect Movie Night for more “family favorite” choices.
No Tricks…Just Treats
Life is better when it is filled with special treats, especially when those treats are associated with special days. Children love traditions. Traditions create a sense of belonging. They strengthen family bonds and create lasting memories. My husband laughs at how I associate every memory with what we ate. If it was yummy, I want to repeat it the next time we do that same activity. To illustrate, I love to eat lobster rolls, seafood chowder, and a wedge salad on our anniversary to cherish our anniversary memories in Maine. Additionally, it is not Halloween if we don’t have apples with Caramel Sauce, Pumpkin Butternut Soup, and Skillet Chicken & Biscuits. Food just makes the memory.
I hope some of these ideas triggered some creative juices in you. Halloween doesn’t need to be avoided. It just needs to be redeemed with something positive. Unfortunately, if we don’t do anything but hide out, we are only creating a vacuum for our children. Instead, give them special memories that will not only build your family but also teach them how to build their own future family. Blessings!