What’s Halloween to you? An adorable costume? Pumpkin carving? Trunk or treat? Candy… candy… candy? When my oldest was a baby, we did Halloween like everyone else in America – make/buy a costume, do the fall festival featuring inflatable play structures or candy-earning games, trick or treat with a plastic pumpkin pail (I didn’t buy it!), etc. Naturally, when the fun was over, we’d allow her to eat a few pieces of candy. And then… the rest would disappear. After all, she had collected enough candy to fuel a massive sugar-overload!
So, now Aria is almost 4 and I’m starting to think, “Where are we going with this Halloween tradition?” Do we want this treasured childhood holiday, this festival of the harvest, to become an orgy of candy and “how much can I get!?!” Come to think of it, we don’t believe in excessive candy consumption and that IS what Halloween is about to most kids. We can’t just make it disappear every year. She’s bound to catch on real soon! And what’s with the inflatable rides in the parking lot anyways?
If Halloween is about harvest time, could we make it more natural? I don’t know… do it at a farm or something? Well, I’ve actually been thinking about this for a month or so, and I have some ideas. We’re going to remake Halloween, while we still can!
Step one: Make it a friend holiday! So many holidays are about family, and that’s great, but this one could be about friends! We’ll invite our like-minded friends over for a Halloween party at our home (which happens to be an aspiring farm). That will mean we can pumpkin-carve and play silly games with children and adults that we know and love, instead of strangers at a “harvest festival”.
Step two: definitely MAKE the costume! Kids love dressing up, and it is pure, healthy fun. To foster true creativity, self-expression and to prevent waste, we’ll make our own costumes! I’ll pull out the dress-up closet and get creative. With face pencils and play silks, a lot can be done! If I do buy something, it’ll be an open-ended item that I’ve wanted for our dress-up collection, not some “ladybug” onepiece outfit that no one is ever going to wear again.
Step three: Celebrate the harvest, not candy. Make pumpkin cookies, zuccini bread and apple pie. Sure, I might have some candy, but I’ll focus on celebrating with homemade food that appeals to people of all ages. While we’re at it, I think we might read some autumn-inspired poetry and do a storytime for the kids that highlights the harvest. Ohhh.. this sounds like fun!