Inevitably, I get asked the Halloween question at least once a year. And, you know what? That's okay. I really don't mind.
In our family, the answer you get really depends on who you ask.
Lara from The Lazy Organizer (one of my favorite blogs!) has chosen to host a blog carnival for anyone who does things a little different on Halloween. If you want to read how The Lazy Organizer and others (like me) spent the holiday, go here.
Personally, I really don't care to bore you with all the different perspectives and beliefs, or even my husbands in-depth view of Halloween.
However, I will tell you my main reasons for not celebrating the traditional Halloween (or "Hallelujah" as I like to call it) and why we don't make it such a big deal.
The Practical Reasons:
- I really do not like spending tons of money on bags of candy. When I see pallets of Halloween candy in the stores, I break out in hives. Seriously. It causes me to have a mini anxiety attack just thinking about the upcoming holiday. Plus, when I must think of ways to spread out our groceries, I cannot fathom spending $20-$50 dollars on treats to give away. Call me a scrooge or call me frugal. I'll accept either and I will not be offended.
- Costumes* cost a lot of money and even though we haven't purchased costumes for Halloween in 8 years, it's inevitable our children will cry for one. This year was no exception.
- I enjoy going to one venue and letting the kids (and myself) be warm and have fun. In Utah, it's not unreasonable to have a foot of snow on the ground and when that happens, TOTing isn't fun. At all. Thankfully, this year we didn't have to deal with that, but it was a bit cold. Rob and I were a bit laid back this year, too. Still suffering from the craziness of the day we were both exhausted and just needed some down time. We pretty much stayed together in various parts of the church while the kids had fun with their friends and siblings.
- My kids are learning a valuable lesson. That just because the world chooses to celebrate a holiday one way, it does not mean we have to follow along. We can be strong and adhere to our own personal convictions because ultimately, at the end of the evening, we want to feel good about the choices we've made. We have to take into account our own personal beliefs and go with that. It's okay to be different and while your friends may not understand, it's not your friends who will be with you 10, 20, 40 years from now, it's your family. Family is the most important part of any holiday.
The following are just a few photos I was able to snap in the evening from my iPhone. The day did not go as planned. I was a bit stressed out by the time we headed to the party and I forgot my camera. We had an impromtu Insta-Care visit for Chloe, a last minute Worship band practice for Rob and, of course, Irish Dance practice.
Chloe waiting to throw some hoops.
This was a new game that pretty much died an hour into the evening. Oh well, the kids love it while it lasted.
This year they had a toddler area for the little ones. It was a great spot for the parents to rest, too.
Caleb beat me at this game. Obviously, my 8 year old has a better trigger finger than I.
I'm not really sure what Chloe was. I told her she was a "Biker Chick for Jesus!".
There were so many other games and areas of the church that I didn't even get to photograph. They also had a puppet show that I didn't get to see. They served chili, hotdogs and nachos for Free, so even though it wasn't healthy, it was something other than candy. The kids also had fun on the hay ride, sipping hot chocolate and keeping an eye out for the items on their scavenger hunt list.
Every year our children try to get us to buy them something. Each year the whining is much less than the year before because we haven't given in, but it's whining none-the-less. This year, Chloe and Braden were fit to be tied because Caleb was getting an army costume and they were getting "nothing". Not because we were buying him one, but because his birthday falls right before Halloween and every year he has chosen to purchase some sort of costume with his birthday money.
Caleb enjoying his cotton candy while waiting for his turn at another game.
Last year it was a very high quality Disney "Jack Sparrow" costume and the year before he was a Star Wars Clone Trooper. When the kids were younger, I would hop into Gymboree or Gap Kids to see if there was anything on sale. I abhor cheapy plastic costumes and refuse to spend good money on them. They'll be useless within a week or two. Several times I scored big and was able to purchase dress-up costumes for play, not just for Halloween. Now that the kids are older, we require them to use their imaginations and refuse to spend money** on anything for Halloween. I am amazed at how creative my children can be when they must think up something themselves. The whole "No TV" thing has helped foster creativity, too, but that's a whole other story.
**I did cave this year and bought Braden (one of my almost 16 year olds) a $0.97 plastic top hat so he could be "Slash" or "Ozzy", or whatever he was. Plus, the reason I bought it was because I wanted to surprise him. It's not often he only wants something that is 97 cents, so I got a huge smile, a "Thank You, Mom!" and a happy teenager for only a buck. That is something to be Joyful about!!
- Brenden (16)-Some emo/punk person with really tight purple pants. (Oy!)
- Braden (16) -Slash/Ozzy. Someone with long black hair and a top hat.
- Casey (13)-A mix of different pieces of clothing that he said was a "mime".
- Chloe (10)-A biker chick for Christ, but it changed often.
- Caleb (8)- An army guy.
Chloe waiting for her turn to pop some balloon's.
Too Old to Celebrate (with family)?:
This year was a bit different in how we spent the evening. While we did go to the Harvest Party at Calvary Chapel of Salt Lake City, we did not go as a whole family. This was our first Halloween apart. It was quite apparent that our teenager's didn't want to have anything to do with the Harvest Party. We don't attend CCSLC, so they weren't able to volunteer to run game booth's, etc. So, instead of hanging out with us, our (almost) sixteen year old twin boys decided they would rather spend time with their friends.
I'm not sure why they would want to do a thing like that, but I'll try not to take it personally.
The twins actually had something else planned. Our home church was holding a youth conference on "Heaven & Hell" and a Halloween Howl (dance) afterwards. It's been a bit difficult trying to find something that they could do that didn't contradict everything we've instilled in them the past eight years. Some friends were going to haunted houses (Nope!) and some school friends were having parties (Um, I don't think so!). The dance (at the church) wasn't quite what I had hoped, in fact, I doubt we'll allow them to attend a Halloween event at our home church ever again.
Next year I am thinking we may just try to find a service project to do. Maybe serve soup to the homeless? We have a year to plan, but I would rather do something as a whole family while we still can.
Regardless, a great time was had by all at our non-traditional celebration. What did you do on Hallelujah or Halloween?