My childhood is devoid of Halloween. I never had a Halloween costume and never went trick or treating. It really wasn’t that hard to avoid. I was growing up in South America as the daughter of missionary parents trying to spread the love of Jesus to everyone they knew. Celebrating a host of ghost, goblins and other evil-spirited creatures did not work well with the message of God’s love for humanity. None of my friends participated in Halloween and the community that my parents worked with didn’t celebrate it, either.
I don’t ever think I felt deprived of the holiday. After all, we got to dress up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every year at Thanksgiving time, I would switch back and forth between being a Pilgrim or an Indian (sorry, I didn’t call them Native Americans back then. We had not yet reached the political correctness we have now). For Christmas, we were always involved in some kind of Christmas play and most of the time I was given the role of Mary. We also got so much candy for Christmas, I could hardly say I missed the treats of late October.
However, here I am in Lake Jackson, Texas, where I see lawns as decorated for Halloween as they are for Christmas. Huge blown up pumpkins, ghosts and scarecrows invite trick or treaters to knock on their doors. I wasn’t sure how I felt about having my children participate. I never felt the need to be a part of Halloween and we didn’t really have that tradition living in Quito, Ecaudor for the past three years.
The event that changed my mind was an announcement letter from Jared’s Awana group. They were planning on having a special “Hallelujah” night and costume contest. The catch was that all participants had to dress up as a Bible character and then be able to explain what was important about that character. Being that I’m not a very artistic person and hardly excel at needlepoint, I knew I would have to find an already made costume that would fit Jared. Thankfully, an on-line Christian bookstore had just what I needed and Jared got fascinated with the modern-day version of a Samson costume. While I was at it, I went ahead and got a Bob the Tomato costume for Luke, so he wouldn’t feel left out. And then I couldn’t resist buying a cute little bunny outfit for Grace.
So, yes, we did give in somewhat to the Halloween craze here. The kids wore their costumes to Awana, library story time, a couple church Harvest festivals, Sears portrait studio, and finally at Chuckie Cheese’s where each kid got 10 free tokens for wearing their costume on Halloween. We even got home in time to hand out candy to one family still driving their kids around the neighborhood past 8pm on Halloween.
This was my Halloween alternative. Find as many different events in the week before Halloween so that the kids get to wear their costume as much as possible. By the time Halloween gets here, they are so tired of their costumes, they are glad not to wear them anymore. Well, I’m not sure if that worked so much for my kids, but it sure worked for me.