Friday, October 31, 2008

Do you trick and treat?

Halloween seems to always be a touchy subject.

At the beginning of the school year, I send out a parent inventory to get to know the students and their families. On the inventory, I always ask "What holidays does your family celebrate" and "Are there any that you do not want your child to celebrate in school". Thankfully nobody has ever said not Christmas because that would kill me, but every year I have one or two who do not celebrate Halloween. So what do I do? I have a Book Character Party where the students complete a book report and then dress up as the character to present their report at our "fall" party, which just usually seems to fall on Halloween. This usually appeases everybody although I do make sure to call the parents who requested their child not celebrate Halloween to make sure it is okay. Those students are also given the option to present on a different day and to visit another 3rd grade classroom during our presentations if the parent wishes. In five years, though, I've never had a child not be able to participate.

At Zoe's daycare they have gone all out! Today was their Halloween parade where the parents were invited in, the newspaper was there, and all the kids marched around the center in their costumes. They had a "fall festival" this evening where the parents could complete little projects, make snack mix, and read books with their child. Then tomorrow is the party where they will be indulging in lots of sugar to get them ready to go get more sugar that night. Oh and I'm in charge of making rice krispy treat BRAINS! The center is decked out in pumpkins, skeletons, scarecrows, ghosts, and spiderwebs. Very festive!

I asked Dylan what he was doing in his class and if we needed to make anything or if he was to wear his costume. He said no, because one of his classmates didn't celebrate Halloween. He seemed to be quite perplexed by this. He asked me why she didn't celebrate and my response floored him.

"Well when I was a little girl, I didn't celebrate Halloween either." WHAT!!! Nope, I never carved pumpkins, didn't dress up, didn't go trick or treating, and we didn't even hand out candy. Halloween night was sitting in the basement, camping out with my family, and watching a movie. Do I feel like I missed out? No, not really. Dylan was curious why Grandpa and Grandma didn't let me celebrate the holiday and we talked about how they didn't like it because Halloween is usually associated with evil. Hence the ghosts, skeletons, witches, black spiders, and scary pumpkins that are everywhere! We discussed how it is almost like the opposite of Jesus with his brightness and love.

I shared with him how when we had him, Dave and I sat down to discuss how we would handle Halloween. Honestly, I am perfectly fine with carving pumpkins, decorating the house, and trick or treating (I especially like the part where I root through their bags to find all the good chocolate!!) Well we decided that the kids would be allowed to dress up and trick or treat, but that I prefer the costumes to not be dark and scary. Uh, when you see pictures of Zoe's witch costume this year please don't refer back here, k?

Dylan seemed to be content with our solution and life goes on, but after our discussion I can't help wondering. Am I finding gray in an area that really should be black and white?

What about you and your family? What do you believe about Halloween? Do you celebrate Halloween? If not, why? Were you like me and not allowed to celebrate growing up, but now allow your own kids too or vice versa? Maybe you were allowed, but don't allow your kids? I'd love to hear your opinion so c'mon and share!


  1. I do a similar project with my third grade class, but ours are biography book reports. They come dressed as the person they read about and we have a "Morning Show" where I interview each one. Last year we added a "reception" before the show. It was pretty much a breakfast party with a fancy name! They love the "My Name is..." stickers though! = )

  2. Im so thankful my thiscloseto3 year old isnt interested ---yet.

    a fight, errr, debate for next year :)

  3. I think that is a wonderful solution to "celebrating" the day in a way that all kids can participate and have fun (and learn too!)

  4. Yeah, this is always a touchy question. We tend to focus on the "harvesty" aspect at our house, and our kids do Trick or Treat, but costumes need to be something shiny and happy :)

    There are some houses we specifically avoid on the T-or-T route, though, as we have some neighbors who really get into the decorating; even walking to school each day we pass by two different "cemeteries" (one complete with ghouls emerging from the ground) and a witch's lair. Can't say I really care for all that!

  5. I'm in that bunch that didn't celebrate halloween growing up too. I don't feel that I missed out but hubby did do halloween (the dressing up part and going trick or treating) We talked about what we wanted to do with Halloween early on and I have realized that my decisions as a parent don't have to be the same as what my parents did. thus, we go trick or treating with Abraham. It's more a time of being with friends at this point for him. And we talk about Santa at Christmas. We make certain we make the day about Jesus for sure but there is mention of Santa. And I'm okay with that.
    We don't do all the scary stuff -- as a 3yr old he gets pretty freaked out by stuff. And honestly so do I!!

    Great topic for discussion tho..

  6. Princess's day care doesn't do anything special for holidays because there is always at least one kid not allowed to participate.

    But at home we are having some fun! She'll dress up as a dalmatian tonight, walk around to some neighbors houses to practice her manners and then come back home to practice sharing by helping me hand out goodies to Trick-or-treaters. What's not to love about that kind of imagination and social skill building activity?

  7. When I was a child I did celebrate Halloween and I didn't "get" the kids who didn't -- obviously I wasn't raised in a Christian home. It wasn't until I met my now best friend that I really understood what it was really all about. I don't have any children yet but I think that when I do, we may dress up and do some "fall" type activities but we probably won't trick-or-treat in the normal way.

  8. I wasn't allowed to trick or treat or celebrate Halloween in school at all. There is a good point that there are some who celebrate in a very bad way and I do understand why I wasn't allowed.

    However, I feel I missed out on dressing up in costumes and trick or treating. So we do celebrate all the FUN parts and I will be sure to make it clear that we will have no part in the darker side.

  9. I have never encountered questions of Halloween before this year. I was already to have the Halloween party for Nolan to learn they don't have a party, I was sad.
    I look at it this way, it is all in good fun. My sisters Boyfriend's family does a haunted woods- super scary but all the money goes to charity. Everyone in our neighborhood who has the creepy houses are the best neighbors ever.
    Being scared is a natural emotion, yeah some people go overboard, but we don't let one bad apple.
    Sorry for the rant

  10. I was just talking about this the other day:
    We enjoy dressing up at Halloween, but avoid the darker aspects.

  11. haha, yeah I was surprised when Dan told me what you guys did! We always dressed up and went to houses, but it was only the ones on our street, and honestly my parents used it as their annual visiting time. We sat down in everyone's living room and chatted for a while at each house. We always saved this 1 old lady's house for last becuase my parents would spend an hour or more there! I was shocked when I went with some friends in high school and they just dashed from 1 stranger's house to the next!
    At school it depended on the teacher, but at Cahtolic School we sometimes did All Saints' Day costumes (Nov. 1) instead of Halloween ones, or in addition...

  12. Our family doesn't celebrate Halloween. My son truly doesn't seem to mind. It's been interesting to hear what everybody does. I did do a post about it on my blog.

    I am glad it's over though - I'd much rather focus on Thanksgiving!


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