What’s your Halloween plan?
I fondly remember Halloween as a kid. My siblings and I looked forward to that one night a year where we were free to run around in silly costumes and knock on people’s doors begging for candy. And they gave us candy, lots of it. The country folk were generous to the few trick-or-treaters who knocked on their doors seeing that it was a bit of a trek between farms.
And the costumes we came up with…we never actually went out and bought a costume, we made them. Wearing farm clothes and boots stuffed with straw, we were scarecrows. Throwing on a helmet and blacking out a tooth we were athletes. Putting on some of Mom’s clothes, glasses without lenses and sprinkling baby powder in our hair, we became old men and old ladies. Using square cardboard boxes painted white with black dots, we became dice. You get the idea.
Halloween décor…what décor? Sure, we carved our pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns but that’s all anybody did and if a porch light was on, it indicated we were free and clear to knock on their door and ask for candy. Oh how Halloween has changed!
What originally began in early Europe as All Hallows Eve; a time set aside for the solemn remembrance of the Christian martyrs was mixed with pagan traditions and was brought over with the early North American settlers. Then, with a little help from Hollywood and capitalism it has turned into the wicked little industry of Halloween. Some people we know refuse to partake in Halloween activities, others create a mild alternative and still others really over indulge in the festivities.
Comparing the Halloween I grew up with and what it has become today, I’d say it seems to be less about orange pumpkins and filling pillowcases with candy and more about spending a small fortune on fake tombstones, giant inflatable witches, skeletons, dry ice, spider webs,ghouls and dressing kids up as brain eating zombies, blood sucking vampires and little devilish creatures (am I the only one that doesn’t find this particularly cute.).
So, what do WE do with Halloween? This time of year we like to hit one of the fabulous local pumpkin patches and select some pumpkins for carving. On October 31st, some years we have done nothing, other years we dressed up and visited with family or friends or we have enjoyed some of the great harvest parties hosted by the various local churches. In the past couple of years we have gone door to door trick or treating. Our costumes are not ‘dark’ and my kids usually dress up in something they make or find around the house (because I happen to be one of those people who has a closet full of costumes). This year I find myself with two kids who feel they have outgrown trick-or-treating (never mind that I did it into my late teens).
Maybe I seem a bit of an old fashioned prude with my simple Halloween while others might view me as a pagan for taking my kids out on Halloween but I know that in fact, I’m just holding on to a childhood tradition, trying to keep it light and fun and reminiscent of the neighbourly Halloweens I grew up with. And to me, that’s sweeter than a pillowcase full of candy.
What’s your plan?