image by sarah_ackerman
Halloween is upon us, and if you are still unsure of how to celebrate (if at all) without your children being terribly sick, then you’ve come to the right place.
Halloween. The holiday of costumes and pumpkins. The one time of the year that you want spider webs adorning your porch railings and doors. Also a time that you may throw the rules out the window, let your kids gorge themselves on candy, and then wonder why so many kids miss school the following day.
Before we really get started here, let it be known that no judgment is passed on the parents who do let their children “break all the rules” on Halloween or any other holiday. It needs to be said that none of us are perfect and if you feel like letting your children eat as much candy as they can possibly handle, knowing that this is not the norm for your house, you are entitled to that. On the flip side, for those of you whose children have allergies, your religious beliefs don’t coincide with the holiday, or you simply want to control the amount of sugar and processed foods that your children consume, then this post is for you!
- Nearly 72% of American children will trick-or-treat this year
- 75% of American households hand out candy on Halloween
- American candy sales for Halloween 2011 reached a new record– $2.3 billion
- Halloween is the #1 “candy holiday” in the US, outselling Easter, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas
Why do some people not celebrate Halloween?
Maybe you’re wondering why someone, especially those with kids, would want to miss out on all this fun. For us to gain a better perspective of why not everyone feels compelled to celebrate this holiday, let’s take a look at some of the responses I got from readers.
Limit sugar Some parents like to control the amount of sugar their child gets when they can. Oftentimes, their child is bombarded with sweets at school, church, sporting events, so at home sugar isn’t commonplace.
Safety Walking around town at night, even if accompanied by a parent, can be a scary thing for some kids. While some children may not be comfortable weaving in and out of ghosts and vampires, even more parents don’t like the idea of their child being out.
Allergies Unfortunately, some kids (and adults) have life threatening allergies to things like peanuts, which can be found in most commercial candies. Even one fun size candy bar could land them in the hospital, allowing their children to be a part of a holiday that is literally hazardous to their health just is not an option.
Avoiding processed foods Commercial candies are full of ingredients that many of us want to avoid. One of the most popular chocolate bars includes things like sugar, corn syrup, more sugar, soy lecithin, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, all are very likely to be GMO’s. And of course, the sneaky little “artificial flavors”.
Religious Purposes While we won’t get into each of the different religious perspectives on Halloween, some of us just need to know that at the very origins of this holiday, there are fundamental aspects that go against everything some people believe. Many people are defined by their beliefs, it’s who they are, so participating in a holiday that undermines who they are and what they stand for simply is not an option.
Breaking a Tradition
Why is it that Halloween is celebrated by letting our children eat more candy in one night than they usually get in a year? Unfortunately, like most other holidays, Halloween is used as a way for big companies to make lots of money. $2.3 billion in candy alone! The same can be said of outrageously priced costumes and decorations. However, you can end old traditions and start new ones with your family any time.
So what should you do if you’re wanting to try something different for Halloween this year?
Sit your kids down and tell them why. Whether your child has an allergy (and this would be his first year of trick-or-treating) or your family is controlling the types of food you’re eating, tell your children why. “Honey, when we eat too much sugar, our bodies have a hard time not getting sick.”
Have a plan. If your children are accustomed to T-or-Ting, then you need to make something of the night. Simply treating the night just as any other, will not make the transition any easier for them. Talk with your spouse and decide on what your family’s new Halloween tradition will be together.
Find like-minded friends. Simply asking your friends or parents of children at school could result in a non-traditional Halloween party. I know, you’ll feel silly asking parents if they “forgo Halloween”, but what’s the worst that can happen, really?
image by caitlin regan
Non-traditional Halloween Activities
Movie Night Turning off your porch light and closing your curtains to enjoy a family movie together is a great idea. Allowing your children to choose the movie will make things more fun. Enjoy this Salted Chocolate Caramel Popcorn recipe, and the night will be complete.
Game Night If your kids want to do something a little more active, why not have a game night? Invite some of their friends over or just keep it between the family, but what kid doesn’t love a night full of games? Board games are fun, but coming up with some of your own games that maybe your family reserves specifically for Halloween. Bobbing for apples?
Scavenger Hunt When I reached out to my readers on my blog’s Facebook page, a longtime friend of mine whom I hadn’t heard from in a long time contacted me. Every year her mom would set up a scavenger hunt around their house and yard for her and her sister to do. They would receive the first clue, always a riddle, which led them to the next clue, until they reached their “prize”. Very rarely did the prize include candy, most years it was a new outfit, CD, book, shoes, or toys depending on their age.
Dinner Party If you’re wanting to invite some friends over, hosting a dinner for everyone would be nice. If you’re expecting a crowd soups would be sure to please.
Get out of the house and enjoy a hayride, corn maze, pumpkin carving good time. Most cities have places that offer activities like this. This way your kids would still feel like they’re celebrating.
Celebrate The Harvest Festival or Reformation Day For some, celebrating Halloween would go against their religious beliefs. Celebrating the harvest started in Biblical times, it was a way for people to honor and thank God for a good growing season. Others celebrate on October 31 because in 1517, the Protestant Reformation began.
Homemade, Real Food Candies
Hybrid Rasta Mama’s Truffles: Strawberry Cheesecake and Chocolate Coconut Macaroon