Halloween or Not?

Growing up Halloween was one of those things that just passed without much notice being given to it. My folks would make a sign to the affect of “you knock and we ignore you” in the hope of deterring Trick or Treaters. (ToTs from now on rather than keep typing it out!)

Maybe it’s just a growing trend but Halloween seems to be more of a “thing” this year. The annoying pregnancy/ovulation test adverts on YouTube have been replaced by a well known supermarket’s Halloween adverts. One particular one is really inappropriate to proceed Thomas and Friends or Fireman Sam. Each time I go into town or to the supermarket there are whole displays. Thankfully, Preschool seems to have skipped any dressing up but had there been Jaxon would have been going as an astronaut, superhero or something else not Halloween based.

I then wondered was it just that this year we weren’t focused on helping with or organising an alternative Halloween gathering like we have when Chris worked for the church.

Like we have for the last couple of years, we ignored the door or turned away any ToTs who do knock on the door. At one point ,Jaxon was playing Guard Toddler, he kept looking out of the letterbox into the street to see what was going on because people kept coming to the door but not into the house. (In the end he actually fell asleep in his high chair).

Beware of the Guard Toddler
In a way this year I was beginning to wonder if we were the odd ones out or something so I started to ask around. Along with the religious responses to not celebrating Halloween another opinion started to pop up.

We spent every day of the rest of the year telling our children not to speak to strangers and now a proportion of us are “encouraging” our children to throw away those ideas and talk to strangers. Now I know with Jaxon and Our Sidekick that life is easier when the rules stay the same. Admittedly I think they get a bent by grandparents and Uncles/Aunties but 99% of the time they are there and they make sense – why would we overcomplicate things?

I am sure there are plenty of posts out there already explaining the religious angle – the one I tend to re-read is this one by Canon J John.

In my case, I’d rather celebrate what is good and right with the world not the dark, twisty and evil.

I reached out to a group of parent bloggers based here in the UK and asked for their opinions.

First up we have for celebrating…

Before having children we didn’t celebrate Halloween at all, and wouldn’t answer the door if anyone knocked, and kept the lights on low with all the curtains and blinds closed. We saw Halloween as quite an American concept. Now we have a toddler we have completely changed our opinions and now love it. We make sure we have sweets/treats for any trick or treaters. We also get a little fancy dress costume for our toddler to wear and we carve pumpkins too and leave them outside our house to show we’re happy for people to knock on the door. It’s definitely lots more fun with a child in tow.

– Laura from Mummy La La

Love it! Even before having kids I’d get a huge bag of candy and set up a Halloween pumpkin outside. I love seeing kids in costumes. You do get the odd annoying candy grabbing older kids but the toddlers and early school years are adorable. We haven’t been trick and treating yet with our daughter, she is just three so still a little young for it. Maybe next year!

– Irina from Wave to Mummy

Before we had children we always used to make sure we had sweets in and loved handing them out. We continued to do this when the boys were young but they would dress up too.

Now they are older (3 and 6), we take them down our road to Trick or Treat as to them it’s a bit of fun and | don’t see the harm in it. I love seeing the young kids dress up, I think it’s really cute!

– Maria from Suburban Mum

I’ve got lots of American family & friends & to them Halloween is an excuse for a great family get-together just like Christmas. They decorate their homes like you’ve never seen & really go to town with great themed food & costumes – which in the most part aren’t scary or gory, just fun! Whole neighbour hoods visit each others homes & it’s done with a really feel good ‘family’ feel….

The vast majority of my American friends have firm, deep rooted Christian beliefs, but celebrating Halloween seems to just be part of their US culture. It’s funny how we see things so differently this side of the pond isn’t it?!

– Jane

(Actually Emily and Tim of Today’s Letters posted their Halloween pictures and they’d been Trick or Treating as Elsa, Anna and Olaf from Frozen!)

I’ve always loved Halloween, and I have fond memories of dressing up and trick-or-treating with my brother and friends when we were kids, so was really looking forward to taking mine out when they were old enough. But what a disappointment! So many people – clearly at home – just wouldn’t answer the door! Instead I usually try to find a fun local Halloweeny activity where I know the kids will have fun and everyone will be in the right spirit (so to speak!)

– Kelly from Adventures in Tea and Cake.

Honestly? I think people that don’t answer the door or celebrate with their children are being a bit of a spoilsport. As someone that was brought up not celebrating anything; no Christmas, no birthdays, no Halloween etc I know how it feels to be the odd one out and not allowed to join in. Ok, so you might hate that it’s commercialised or that the message gets lost or the history behind it or whatever it is, but kids don’t care about that stuff. I think it’s harmless fun and why not open the door and give a few sweets out, let the kids dress up etc?

– Amy from Amy’s Treasure (if you have chance read this one too)

And against…

I have never liked it..I always used to hide when I was younger too & living at home still! My daughter loves getting dressed up, going trick or treating and answering the door to others but I still avoid going to the door with her and send my hubby ? I’m such a baby haha!

– Alison from Being a Mummy with ME  (maybe this was a middle of the road one!)

For me it’s a new exciting thing to celebrate since having my son. I like to do special activities on the run up to halloween such as visiting a pumpkin patch and preparing treats at home. And of course dressing up! If there’s a kid appropriate halloween event we’ll go to that. I don’t like trick or treating, it’s just not something I’m into or would want to take my son on. Which is why if there’s an event based around it I’m more likely to go to that- it feels less like begging. However I do have sweets ready for kids that come to the door, but I’m still not a fan and would prefer it if that part of the celebrations didn’t exist. Total spoil sport! lol.

– Donna from The London Mum (another middle of the road one)

We don’t celebrate it, and I’ve mainly seen it as a nuisance since I came across it. Our door stays firmly shut, and I’m not keen on Halloween alternatives for children. I find the dressing up unappealing and the noise of excited youngsters annoying. And now as a parent living in a country where it’s a main thing, i’m not pleased I’ll have to address it with our children when they’re old enough. I grew up in a different country without it, and I’m glad I did. I don’t like its history and its commercialisation.

– Mo from Adventures of a Novice Mum

I HATE Halloween. To me dressing children up in ghoulish costumes and then getting them to go around threatening people unless they’re given sweets just seems so wrong (I know that’s extreme lol!)
I hate being in on Halloween on my own and have heard some horror stories about eggs or crackers being posted through letterboxes.I tend to pull the curtains and pretend I’m not home.

– Jo at ConFlab Corner

Never really appealed to me that much, my mum told me it was begging so I guess I still have that opinion in my mind and so I don’t take my daughter trick or treating. But we do have fun dressing up, watching films like the corpse bride and having a little party with pumpkin themed food.

Kayleigh at Candy Floss Dreams

I hate Halloween and sit in the back of the house with all curtains shut tight, pretending we’re not in! Now the girls are older I do get them costumes for school events but only cats. I guess I’ll have to take them trick or treating one day but I’m putting it off as long as I can! I hate the teenagers who come round and haven’t even bothered to put on an outfit, and feel really sorry for older people who must be quite scared by them.

– Becky from Pinks Charming

So there’s definitely a split whether celebrating is okay or not and it seems lots of people think it’s harmless fun. Our family will continue to avoid celebrating it, with Our Sidekick being now 17, we expressed our views but left it up to him to make his own decision about what he did. Jaxon will be raised not to celebrate it but again as he gets older, we will express our views and how we would prefer him to treat it but that’s quite a long way in the future yet!

How about you? Is it harmless fun or do we need to be worried about our kids?