Halloween is my favorite holiday. I love seeing everyone’s alter egos come out to play. The spirit of chasing away evil spirits! In the last decade or so, a bit of what made this holiday so special has dwindled. As a child it was the one night you were allowed out after dark. At sunset we would head out in our little pack of goblins and ghouls, a princess or two, a witch, flashlights, and pillow cases. The older kids were in charge, given some trust and responsibility, a right of passage. Protect your brothers and sisters, watch out for the little ones, and be home by 8.
It wasn’t about the candy. It was for the adventure. Rules and propriety were tossed aside as we ignored driveways and sidewalks, running through the trees from house to house. Daring each other to knock on doors at the scariest houses. In the privacy of the dark away from adults, we bonded. In our own innocent way of seeing the world, we developed strength and autonomy.
Somewhere along the way it became more about the candy. Trick or Treating, became solely about Treats. Neighborhoods banned trick or treating after dark, and pushed the festival into the harsh light of day. Candy bowls go inside and doors are locked before the sun even sets. Instead of little packs of children on an adventure, I see packs of parents with one or two children. What happened to the freedom and wildness of the holiday. The safety in numbers, the team work of staying together, and mapping the route.
I initially wanted to write this article to provide a healthier approach to Halloween focussed on alternatives to candy etcetera, which I have listed below. But it is also important to bring back some other healthy aspects of this tradition. Foster a culture in your neighborhood to trust your children, to trust your neighbors, and watch out for all of the children together while they think they are running around alone. They will glow at the responsibility, and become empowered in their own wisdom and maturity for the following weeks. Let younger one’s band together in groups and walk ahead of the parents. Encourage them to knock at the doors on their own. Let older children go out in chaperone-less groups. Let there be adventure!
Now CANDY ALTERNATIVES:
My mom used to give out apples and bananas and she would get hit multiple times by the same groups of kids. Today I don’t think you can put out a bowl of anything not prepackaged. If you are in a friendly neighborhood clementines and homemade treats are always a big hit.
- Halloween Styled Pencils
- Dollar Store Fun
- Vampire Teeth
- Fake Jewelry
- Spider Rings
- Glow Sticks, or anything glow in the dark
- Temporary Tattoos
- Finger Puppets
- Raisins, they come in small boxes.
- String Cheese
- Goldfish Bags
- Mini Water Bottles
- Juice Boxes
- Animal Crackers
Most of all HAVE FUN! H.A.P.P.Y H.A.L.L.O.W.E.E.N!