Monday, October 24, 2011

Hallow, There.

When I was growing up, Halloween was something the whole town looked forward to every fall. We got to wear our costumes to school and after school a herd of mine and my brothers friends would pile into the back of my Dad's truck and come home with us so that we could all go Trick-Or-Treating together. I have so many great memories of those nights and the crazy amounts of candy we came home with after Dad took us all around town. Dad knew all the great stops - my favorites were the lady with the homemade popcorn balls and the man with the king sized chocolate bars. It's sad that these days all homemade treats get an immediate meeting with the trashcan. Times were just simpler when I was a kid.

One year I was Rapunzel and my long locks dragged the ground ALL around town and raked up every leaf in every yard. It got so heavy that it was falling off my head and my friends carried it around like a bride's train. What great friends I have! My brother and I would trick or treat with pillow cases and those things would be filled up to the brim! We had candy for months. When we got home, we would dump our piles of candy in the floor and divide them into categories: chocolate, hard candy, gummy candy, etc. I don't know why we got such pleasure from this, but there was something about seeing all that candy sorted out that made us ridiculously happy. Halloween candy truly is a child's treasure.

When we thought of Halloween, there were only two things that we ever associated it with: Costumes and Candy. We never celebrated with ghosts or ghouls, blood or gore - those things were completely left out of the equation in my family. My Mom shielded us from the "scary" stuff and the creep aisles in the stores, and the scary movies were always out of the question. It was simply about fun - NOT spooks.

I have several friends who choose not to let their kids dress up and trick or treat, and I completely respect that. My husband grew up only going a couple of times because of the halloween reputation. For us, as parents, we are choosing to let our child(ren) participate in the dressing up and candy seeking, like I did as a child, but I think it's important to emphasize that this is not a "holiday" that we observe like the other holidays - simply a fun evening of dress up and sugar. We even call it "Trick or Treat" instead of Halloween, and yes, I have done plenty of "guarding" from the spooky things this year. Yuck!

Did you grow up trick or treating? Do you let your children?

26 comments:

  1. I only went a few times as a child, but mainly because we lived out in the country. Like you, we don't see it as a holiday but I do think it's a lot of fun. We are dressing our little boy up this year and taking him to a city trick or treat event. It's all fun, pumpkins, candy, and dressing up for us. Absolutely NO horror or yuckiness.

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  2. We loved trick or treating as kids, and we did exactly what you would do, sort it all out into categories. We got so much joy out of that.

    We do let our kids dress up & enjoy the evenings treasures too.

    Generally I am such a control freak that I would only let Ava have a piece or two of candy after she finishes her dinner but now that you bring it up, I will totally let her sort it this year, that is so fun!

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  3. I always sorted my candy too! I didn't even really like candy as a kid, I just liked to sort it! My mom would buy big bags of candy, and hand it out by the bucketful, but if we ever ran out I had a big pile of "don't want it" candy sorted and waiting so no one went away empty handed!

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  4. I wasn't really allowed to participate in Halloween stuff growing up. We always went to the church Harvest Party instead, and that was fun. But as I got older, I started to feel like all of my friends were out trick or treating and I was the odd ball who wasn't allowed to go. Later, dare I say it, it even bred some arrogance in me toward my "lost" friends that celebrated Halloween :/

    With our kids, we've decided to let them participate in trick or treating but we've also made it clear that we do not celebrate witches and ghosts. I have two girls who'll jump at any chance to dress up as a princess and even more so to grab some candy;) That's all Halloween is in our family and that's all it will stay.

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  5. Thank you for sharing this. My husband and I were both raised in homes that didn't celebrate Halloween, but we are really struggling with this with our son. He is four and doesn't understand the "why" behind not celebrating. And frankly, I think it would be more damaging to explain it all to him. We've decided to let him dress up, and do the fun costumes and candy, etc. but much like you, avoid all the "spooky". No witches in our house. I love the way you put my feelings into words. Thanks again.

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  6. I did go trick-or-treating and I do plan to let my kids go as well. I have a mindset like yours though...it is a fun evening not a holiday. ;)

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  7. We totally did the "sort your candy after trick-or-treating" ritual too! Something about touching, sorting and seeing how much you had of each ... and then trading of course that made the holiday so much more complete. I'm with you on no horror. I'm a scaredy cat myself - ha!

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  8. We always celebrated Halloween, but like you, we didn't have the "evil" costumes. We got candy and then all laid it out on the floor with our cousins and traded for stuff we liked. It was so fun. I LOVE handing out candy to kids at halloween. So fun. (-:

    ~Kathryn

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  9. I would never really trick or treat but our church always had a Harvest Festival with tons of games where you get candy and get to dress up. I always thought that was fun. Trick or treating is a huge deal in our neighborhood and we love the quirkyness of Halloween and we look forward to enjoying it with our babies one day.

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  10. Halloween for me was definitely about the candy and a fun costume. Ill never forget the year I was a princess that was probably the best one.

    Oh and my cousins and I would come back and dump our candy out too and put it in catagories. Good to know we weren't the only ones! :)

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  11. I'm with you - I don't like the scary part of it at all. I like costumes and candy. (o: I grew up not being allowed to do anything related to Halloween - so as a grown up I'm having all kinds of fun getting to decide what to do. I'm still on the fence about the trick-or-treating thing with Tommy and any other future kiddoes we might have. I think once he asks me if he can do that, I'll let him, but until then, I might just stick to fun parties and dressing up. And definitely leave out the scary and gross things - cause that stuff just creeps me out!

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  12. I loved trick or treating! We only take Hudson to 3 or 4 houses since he really doesn't need any candy anyway!

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  13. Mom and Dad never let me dress up scary as a wee one, but we totally got to be witches and more scary stuff as we got older. They would take us house to house...so much fun! I dressed up like a bride, that was my all time favorite costume. A few years ago, haha, we went to a costume party and I won as being a black widow, Mike was a pirate.
    I don't want my babies to dress up as something scary until they're much, much older. (Just cause they're SO MUCH cuter as something sweet!!)
    I think you can definitely cross a line as far as "celebrating" Halloween, but it was and is about the fun...costumes and candy!

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  14. P.S. And movies - Wizard of Oz baby! Scared me to death when I was little, but such a cute little movie now that I'm over my fear. Heehee...

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  15. My family definitely participated in the fun of costumes and trick-or-treating! It wasn't until we moved to the South when I was beginning 5th grade that any of us (my parents included) heard about the whole "Christians don't do Halloween" bit. I think as long as you're not elevating the dark side of it, a little Fall celebration is just fine! (And of course, candy sorting is essential!) We're taking R trick-or-treating around the neighborhood to the homes of families in our church community group! Can't wait!

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  16. this is such a hard topic for me... I've always hated halloween and what it stands for... and as a result have not participated in any of the festivities surrounding the holiday. including trick or treating as a child. my dad thought it was fine, but my mom was opposed. So we did not. Growing up, I was annoyed, but now I see why they did what they did. and now that I'm expecting my first child, my husband and I are faced with what to do this year and the years ahead. I told him last night, in regards to even handing out candy, how unfair would it be to our little babe to hand out candy from our front door but tell her no we're not going out ourselves and joining them?

    I feel so torn. with each holiday we celebrate there are certainly things that are not necessarily "christian" such as christmas trees, santa and the easter bunny etc. Yet I love all those things and have eagerly celebrated with them all my whole life! The only difference between these things and halloween related things are that the purpose of halloween is glory to the devil and the other holidays are glory to Jesus... ARGH! even as I write this is am frustrated :)

    Anyways, we all have to figure out what works for us... I just dont know if I can do any of it though.

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  18. So appreciated this post and I'm not even a Mom yet! I dreaded Halloween growing up but don't want to be the party-pooper Mom that bans it. Glad to hear others with a wholesome perspective on it!

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  19. We trick or treated as kids (and I even went once in college) Hey free candy is a good thing at any age. When my kids (age 25, 22, 18) were little they loved Halloween and Trick or Treating. However only "nice" costumes were allowed. For example firemen, pirate, clown cheerleader, princess etc. I think if viewed properly it can be fun for all.

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  20. I'm a long time blog lurker but decided to finally comment because I love this post so much :) I've always gone trick or treating. I'm 22 and I've never missed a year. (Granted from 18-now, I've gone with my niece!) I think Halloween is harmless. Honestly, if we as Christians are going to "make a stand" or "stand up for what we believe" there are MUCH bigger issues to deal with than trick or treating.

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  21. We were always allowed to trick-or-treat, but my parents would explain that it was for fun and it wasn't a real holiday to celebrate anything--just fun. I don't have any kids, but if I did, I would definitely have the rule of no scary stuff. I don't like all the blood and gross stuff! Tomorrow I'm posting a blog about trick-or-treat candy. Check it out if you would like!

    http://sweetsassyandohsoclassy.blogspot.com/

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  22. My husband and I never trick or treated as children. We did attend our church's harvest festivals though. With Brodie we have decided that we will not trick or treat, but we will allow him to participate in whatever activity our church has. I am ok with him dressing up as an animal, policeman, pumpkin, etc but my husband prefers that he does not. We decided he could dress up this year since he is only 6 months old and we will just take it year by year on the costume. I am so glad to see there are other families with the same conviction about Halloween.

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  23. I grew up in a VERY conservative church (woman only wore skirts to church and did not lead in services, no instrumental music), in the south no less and I am quite surprised by all the responses of those who don't participate in the "Halloween" activities. We would even attend Haunted Houses as a youth group. We always dressed up usually in fun costumes (the highlight of my childhood was the year I was Paul Revere - dork right?) and go trick or treating. While we did play spooky music and have "scary" masks that in no way meant we were celebrating an evil holiday. I agree with Katie... just not a big deal to me.

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  24. I was raised on Trick or Treating, Witches and all! Oh How we loved to go up to our neighbors house that was decorated to its absolute spookiest to get thrilled by the scary screams(off of a tape)then get rewarded for our braveness with a handful of Candy. But looking back I dont remember any real focus on "evil" we always dressed Cute, not spooky (even the years I was a witch I was a good witch) I choose to think of Halloween as I do April Fools day, or St Patricks day: a time set aside to have fun! I will explain that to my children as they grow. Just as its fun to wear green, its fun to dress up. And Just as we try to pull a prank on someone on April fools day its a little fun to see how brave we can be with the spooky stuff. But we are not out to worship anything evil. We are enjoying family time with costumes and candy and making silly faces in Pumpkins, not worshiping evil and devils. (Although I draw the line at scary movies, I am a chicken) but the scary hayrides will be allowed... WHEN they are teenagers.

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  25. My husband and I both grew up trick or treating, but it was completely innocent and fun just like your experience(s). So we're keeping the tradtion and our kiddos will do the same. I'm so excited!! =)

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  26. I was not allowed to trick or treat as a child, but we've taken our kids every year. They love it, we love it, and its the funnest thing ever to see all the little kids in the neighborhood all dressed up and roaming the streets. Some houses even have hot cider set up outside, so you can mingle a bit with the adults as the kids get their candy.

    My parents broke the news of Santa Clause to me very early on, so I never believed in him. That is an issue DH and I have yet to make a firm decision on for the kids :)

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May the Lord bless you and keep you safe today! Thanks for the comment, friends! :)

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