“Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble!” I enjoyed reading Shakespeare in high school (I actually read The Tempest in my free time one semester), and I can’t help but think of Halloween when I hear this line from Macbeth.
Halloween is What You Make of It
I’ve come across many differing views of Halloween over my lifetime. Growing up, my family lived between two very different communities, one where the holiday was feared, marked as evil, and avoided; the other where it was embraced and celebrated with vampires, witches, ghouls, and gobs of fake blood. My parents did a great job of balancing the two views. We weren’t sheltered from the more gruesome sights of Halloween (how could they when skull, headstone, and body part decorations lined our neighborhood lawns), and we were taught that it could be what you make of it.
And for us, that meant dressing up and trick-or-treating. Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. I mean, who doesn’t want to run around dressed up in crazy costumes and get free candy? The only rule that my Mom had about Halloween was that the costumes we chose weren’t allowed to be “gross”. That meant no devils, vampires, goblins or ghouls. And we were OK with that. It was much more fun to see how creative we could be with the items we had around the house.
I remember one year, my sister and I, along with a couple of our cousins, all dressed up as Steve Urkel. (You know, from Family Matters.) All we needed were rolled up jeans, suspenders, a pair of plastic glasses with some tape around the middle, a funny walk and a nasally voice. We had such a blast that year, and got a lot of laughs and compliments on our creativity.
How Do I Feel About Halloween as an Adult?
To be honest, now that I’m older, I have mixed feelings about Halloween. I really don’t like the grisly decorations or the frightening, creepy, or skimpy costumes. And I could also do without the sugar rush and the kids’ irritability that goes along with the subsequent crash. But there are also a lot of fun things about Halloween that I do enjoy. First off, it’s part of fall, and we all know how much I adore fall! The leaves, bounty from the harvests, and of course pumpkins! It’s also a lot of fun helping the kids choose their costumes – a firefighter, superhero, princess, construction worker, doctor, the possibilities are only limited to their imaginations!
Decorating for the Season
Halloween is one of those holidays that we keep pretty low key. For the most part, we don’t take out decorations or even start to prepare for it until after the Canadian Thanksgiving long weekend. The decorations we have are minimal, a couple of Halloween “witch ghosties” that I painted in my ceramics class, along with a set of black kittens painted by my mom. (Check out our post on Cinq Artisans to read about how my mom influenced my love of all things crafting.)
This year, our decorating went just a little bit further, as it was the first year that we carved pumpkins with the kids. I’m not a huge fan of getting my hands dirty in the icky, gooey, sticky mess that comes with digging out pumpkin guts (and you can see by the photo that the kids were pretty grossed out too!), but over all it was a really fun time to spend together as a family.
Trick-or-Treating: The Grand Finale to the Holiday
When it comes to Halloween night and trick-or-treating this year, we’re going to try and do things differently than we have in the past. Gaby and I have agreed that we need to keep the sugar to a minimum. We’re not opposed to sugar, per se (candy is a big part of why we go trick-or-treating) but we feel that it’s not really necessary to go overboard.
Our kids are still quite young (five, four, and two), so this year, we’re going to cut back on the number of houses that they go to. So instead of hitting every house in our neighborhood, Gaby’s going to take them to go show off their costumes to the family members we have in town, then head over to a couple of friends houses to cap off the evening. If those few houses that they do hit still yield more candy than we’re willing to let them eat, I think it will be time to do our first Switch Witch swap (where we ask the kids to trade in the candy they received for a different, non-edible treat or toy).
If you’re looking for other ideas for non-candy Halloween alternatives, check out this article on the Teal Pumpkin Project by Melissa at Sosi Safe. (Sosi Safe is a blog dedicated to those who have people in their lives with life threatening food allergies.)
How About You?
What are your thoughts on Halloween? Holiday to be avoided, frightful ghoulish fun, or somewhere in between? Do you take your kids trick-or-treating? How much candy is too much? I’d love to know your thoughts on what can be a controversial holiday. Drop us a comment below and let us know what you do on October 31.