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chicken lady
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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 2:19pm | IP Logged Quote chicken lady

I was wondering how many people do or don't do Halloween. I think both sides are interesting, so I was hoping we could just answer yes or no, and our reasons without debating????

We recently had friends over and this came up, I was really surprised by some of the reasons, pro and con.
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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 2:55pm | IP Logged Quote folklaur

Yes, 'cause it is fun, and it is one of dh's favorites.


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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:10pm | IP Logged Quote KackyK

Yep we do it. Our main rule is no scary costumes...ie grim reaper, murderer types (ie the guy from Scream), witches, ghosts,, anything just plain old yucky! This year we have a CareBear, Superman, Jack Sparrow, Darth Vader, Bart Simspson (don't ask?!) and for my dd's last Halloween (we said no more once you have turned 13) she is a Dentist (or something like that, scrubs with a white coat). It's fun and in all the years I've had a child (so that would be 12) I have never gone out with them. DH has monopolized that and I'm the candy handy-outer (or whatever you call it )

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:12pm | IP Logged Quote Matilda

No because we have never lived in a neighborhood without any registered sex offenders, my kids play dress up all the time and so they really don't get fired up about dressing up and walking around outside and my kids have always been terrified of anything even remotely "spooky" and are prone to nightmares anyway and some people go WAY overboard but you can't always tell that until you are right up on their doorstep.

We do a rockin' All Saints Party instead so my kids get to do the dress up and get free candy thing.

Thanks for starting this thread. I'm looking forward to hearing what other have to say!

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:14pm | IP Logged Quote Matilda

P.S. We are not Halloween "grinches". We leave a box of candy on the porch with a sign that says "Party in Progress" or "Happy All Hallow's Eve" and figure when the candy's gone...it's gone!

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:23pm | IP Logged Quote Maryan

Same guidelines as Kacky here. We only go to neighbors/relatives that we know (which also solves the too much candy problem). Dh takes them around.

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:28pm | IP Logged Quote Mary G

We do halloween on and off, depending on the kids, the neighborhood we're in at the time and interest of the kids. When we were in SC, it was hard because there were lots of very fundamentalist Christians who had harvest parties at their churches so our kids felt silly trick or treating when no one else was.

My littles are the perfect age now so we've been planning costumes -- I told them tomorrow we're getting out all the books on costumes that I'd gotten from the library and deciding for certain. Like KackyK, I avoid costumes that are scary or gross ... and I much prefer to use pieces of real clothing that can be used later rather than just specifically costumes (altho those do go into a dress-up trunk for all-thru-the-year fun). Maggie keeps saying this year she's going as a plumber (!), I'm not sure why but her CCD teacher thinks that's a great idea and that we should stop by and fix her sink!    JP and Thomas are still undecided ....

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:35pm | IP Logged Quote nissag

We don't do Halloween here. Our neighborhood is mainly old folks, no kids come around. Our church holds an All Saints party and cake walk which is really fun.

Our town does have a safe trick-or-treat alternative, but we've never attended. I haven't made costumes in several years.

I don't really miss it, but I know a lot of people think we're borderline abusive for not celebrating Halloween (tongue firmly in cheek).

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:36pm | IP Logged Quote Donna Marie

We don't.

We do love to really kick up our heels for All Saints day and put on plays, dress up, play games and such. With our local homeschool group the kids go from family to family with treat bags we pre-decorate with a saint's name and maybe a holy card...so we do get candy

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:48pm | IP Logged Quote aiereis

My son is just getting to be old enough to do Halloween. One of the rules that my mom had growing up and that I intend to keep is what others have said: no scary or evil costumes. My husband (and I agree with him) says that there are too many sickos out there to get candy indiscriminately, so we will be taking our son only to the homes of friends. This requires driving instead of sticking to the neighborhood, but I think it is worth it to give our children fun trick or treating memories.

A lot of Catholics have started jumping on the anti-Halloween bandwagon that the Protestants started. I looked into the arguments, but one of the things that made me stick with being pro-Halloween was that my grandmother has fun Halloween memories of growing up in the twenties. If Halloween is intrinsically evil, then why would Catholics have celebrated it way back then? I would think that the parish priests would have forbidden it. If it is not intrinsically evil, then I see no problem celebrating it if you avoid things like witch and devil costumes and parties with seances.

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 3:54pm | IP Logged Quote stefoodie

Yes and no. In the past we've been able to mostly avoid it. One year we went out of town on purpose to avoid halloween . The past two years we've let the kids dress up in the house and give out candy, and go to one or two houses of good friends to get some. The candy is rationed out afterwards, otherwise they'll eat all of it in one sitting.

This year the kids want to dress up and go around like the neighbors. I *think* we've reached a compromise -- they will be allowed to dress up and walk around with Dad, but they won't be knocking on houses getting candy, just enjoying being with their friends. We're buying the candy instead and giving it to them. (We try to buy "better candy", e.g., dark chocolates, no chewy stuff that's bad for the teeth, though maybe we'll allow Kit-Kats and M&Ms.)   LOL, I am such a kill joy.

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 4:03pm | IP Logged Quote onemoretracy

We do. My kids dress up (non-scary and non-gross) This year we have a bat, a ninja, a frog and a ballerina princess. Our neighborhood has a small parade (all the kids walk from one cul-de-sac to the other!) and then we have pizza together. The families head out then. We have a pretty small subdivision and so we know the all of the houses. The kids really look forward to it and even though they play dress up at home, it is neat to be out in public with the costume and also to see their friends dressed up.

I don't see anything intrinsically evil in the American version of Halloween, but I have noticed that the holiday seems to be getting more and more ramped up. Anyone else notice that? Now there are special Halloween stores that open up and it seems that more adults dress up and sometimes in scandalous costumes. We don't really do too much else other than the night of party and I am not one for decorating for Halloween either, but we did get a spider web of lights to hang outside, it just looks neat!

Last year was the first year we went to an All Saints party and it was wonderful. I think my kids have more vivid memories of that than of trick or treating! They are pretty excited about going again this year.


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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 4:06pm | IP Logged Quote CathinCoffeland

We celebrate what my kids have come to call "the three days"

Like many holidays we have created our own traditions using old/borrowed cutoms and ignore what we dont like about the secular versions (we do dicuss why with the kids)

No trick or treating because of food allergies but we leave a sign and bowl of goodies/holycards out too.

We do "hallows-eve" with friends and stories and pumpkin carving. Tell the story of stingy Jack.
Read the story of St micheal and the devil.
Fr phiip tells a ghost story. We talk about Hell being real and We abstain from eating any goodies this day as a sacrafice.

On all saints have homeschool party and mass. Big fun lots of treats on this day! More books! Lots of Book are out. put out all our Saints figures / pictures on the altar. this year the kids have picked Nicholas and Appolonia- the baby will wear a guadalupe t-shirt.

On all souls- We have little skeleton chocolates on the altar with pictures of decesed relatives and holycard from thier funeral masses.

We also go to the cemetary where there is a stone for our misscarried babies and pray/ clean leaves off headstones.

We have one concession to regular "halloween" We do go to a fund raiser for Personal ponies every year and the kids "trick or treat" with the ponies (i bring safe trears to trade)
and they get to wear the halloween outfits my Step mom inevitbly buys from target every year. We do have her mostly trained to avoid witches and the like - I think this year it is spiders, bats and "i love my mummy".
which is fine humor when your are 3! Sometimeswith grammies you have to let things slide

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 4:14pm | IP Logged Quote Red Cardigan

We celebrate All Saints' Day Eve just like Matilda, and for much the same reasons.

I struggled with this for a while because I was coming from the "No, Halloween's not intrinsically evil" perspective, and I still think that's true.

But unfortunately we have safety concerns our parents' didn't often had (creepy neighbor who answers the door with a live snake around his neck and loves it when the kiddies scream and run away, anyone?) and there's been a dramatic shift from the "cute pumpkin, green-masked witch, exaggerated skeleton, and black cat" type of Halloween to the "brutal bleeding dripping horror movie victim" type we have going on now.

And even if we try to avoid these truly ugly/scary/sometimes diabolical images (anyone notice the rise in "evil priest and nun" costuming, lately?) in our own families, our kids can't help seeing them, if not on Halloween night itself, then in grocery store displays, movie ads, and other public venues. To be honest, I get mad at what some stores think is appropriate to hang from their ceilings and display in their front aisles at this time of year, even though my kids aren't as prone to nightmares as they were a few years ago.

Another thing that bugs me is that while we talk about the over-commercialization of Christmas all the time, the same phenomenon has been going on with Halloween for some time now. From the ridiculous amounts of candy we're expected to buy to keep up with the floods of children who don't even live in our neighborhood but get dropped off here because the houses are conveniently close together, to the push toward expensive costumes and accessories, to the endless parade of Halloween "gift" items cluttering up the store shelves, there's an increasing attempt by retailers to make what used to be a simple homemade holiday into something that requires the purchasing of any number of Halloween-themed "goodies," all for a "holiday celebration" that is over in a couple of hours--which is how most of them view Christmas, too.

Having an All Saints' Eve party helps me remember that this is a prelude to a beautiful feast day, which is followed by All Souls' day and our pre-advent focus on the Holy Souls in Purgatory, who so desire our prayers and sacrifices on our behalf.

Okay, my rant is over. I completely respect those who still do Halloween, though, especially if the neighborhood/community where you live still keeps things simple and child-friendly.

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 5:22pm | IP Logged Quote Barbara C.

I posted some of this in another thread. Since I don't know how to link (and no time to learn), I'm just copying.

"When I was in college I took an interesting class called Supernatural Folklore. The professor would only offer it in the fall because that is when Halloween falls. She talked about how Halloween is the most empowering holiday for children, because it is the one night of the year in which they are allowed to "break the rules".
1. They get to walk around after dark.
2. They get to walk around in public wearing a costume.
3. They are encouraged to go up and talk to strangers.
4. They are encouraged to ask for candy and eat it.

I have a certain fondness for Halloween. Maybe it's because it was always a special night out with my dad. I also have fond memories of helping build and working in a haunted house that collected food for charity. (My sister was a guide. My dad worked First Aid. My mom ran the nursery. And I scared people.)"

I should also note that the last time I checked in every instance of a child being poisoned or hurt by Halloween candy the candy had been tampered with by a family member, not a stranger.

We started doing Halloween last year when oldest daughter was almost four. Before that she wasn't really allowed to have much candy, so it seemed kind of pointless. This year we'll go, but our two-year-old will not be collecting candy. We don't go very far, just so there is not as much candy (plus it is freezing up here). Plus, oldest dd was just as excited about giving candy to other kids as getting it for herself.
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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 5:31pm | IP Logged Quote JodieLyn

We do go trick or treating.. we're in a very safe area.. we know all our neighbors.. we're in high trick or treat traffic and I know more than half of the kids that come to my door. Most kids have a parent with them.

Some examples.. the teens from our church go by and lean out the windows and yell Hi to my 8 yr old.

Jack-o'lanterns are sitting just as pretty on Nov. 1 as they were on halloween.

The older kids (into teens) are actually dressed up not just in a mask or something.

We don't do evil.. but I'm willing for "scary" if it's not evil.. lots of Martyrs could be portrayed in a grusome or scary way.. last year at church we had a saint with arrows in him, and St. Lucy with her eyeballs.

I buy the saints candles from the mexican food section of the grocery store.. and line the window sill with lit candles.

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 5:37pm | IP Logged Quote teachingmom

After agonizing a bit over the decision while my oldest was a preschooler, we finally decided to do trick or treating. The first few years, we had the girls go dressed as saints, but since then we allow costumes that aren't evil or too frightening. We go in a group with two other families - long standing tradition. And they usually hit each home in our little corner of the neighborhood, which is about 50 or more, I think. It's really a lot of fun!

And how else could we rationalize giving in to the chocolate addiction for so many days on end???    

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 5:39pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

We were in Germany last year for Halloween...in some parts of the country children trick-or-treat now, and in others people just have Halloween parties. It was very interesting to see all home-made costumes, strange items (safe, even apples, just not prepackaged treat-sized items) in the treat bags, and kids having safe fun. Most parents stayed home, it was that safe.

Here in the USA we usually do it, but in specific neighborhoods. My dc hate scary things, skeletons, etc., so it is easy to keep them interested in cheerful and modest costumes.

I think if we hadn't moved around so much, we'd have done more of the All Saints thing, but it's hard to find that kind of event when you change states or countries every 2 years. (And, in Italy, we had a base-wide event in the gym, no real trick-or-treating...and our pastor, who is on the Roman Rota, never said anything about Halloween at all.)

I do agree with Redcardigan that Halloween is annoyingly commercialized. I liked it much better when it was a do-it-yourself holiday. You will not see me buying orange Halloween lights.

(I bought purple lights for Advent last year, though! Not made in China! Who knew?)

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 6:00pm | IP Logged Quote Dawn

We've always done Halloween, and always in a family-fun way. We avoid any of the mainstream Halloween stuff, like the party store, and the Lilly's Kids catalog goes right in the recycle pile because some of the costumes in there are just too gruesome to look at. (Really now, who would put a child who wears size 4-6 in a Jason costume? )

My husband and I both grew up in faithful Catholic families and we always celebrated the holiday with cousins, friends, apple bobbing, candy, etc. All good innocent fun.

We continue that with our children now. On Halloween dh takes the day off and we go get our pumpkin at the farm early in the morning (hot cider and donuts as we peruse the patch). We carve our jack o'lanterns after lunch, and then we visit the grandparents mid-afternoon. As the sun goes down, I make a special supper - it's always kielbasa, crusty bread and homemade macaroni-and-cheese.

Then good friends of ours come over and we mums take the kids around the block, just to the immediate neighbors. Then we return to our house for a candy swap, cider and cookies. It is always a wonderful night.

That's all we've done in the past, but this year we have a few more plans. My oldest son (12) has been invited to a Halloween "tween" party - flashlight tag and bobbing for apples - hosted by close friends ofours (Catholic homeschoolers). And as a family we're going on a "Halloween Walk in the Woods" at a local Audubon Sanctuary. It's geared toward young families, so not scary, just magical.

We are also attending our homeschool group's potlock supper the night before Halloween. Games, craft tables, supper and goodies. And also new this year, our homeschool group has arranged an afternoon activity at a local nursing home. Our costumed kids will visit the clients there and give them the candy we've brought. I'm really looking forward to it!

So I guess it looks like we do a lot for Halloween, but I make sure what we're doing is all fun and exciting - never-ever dark or scary.

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Posted: Oct 19 2007 at 7:28pm | IP Logged Quote joann10

We also "do" Halloween. As with just about everyone here, we don't allow scary or gross costumes.

We are in small town USA, so everyone in trick-or-treating, even the teenagers, who are usually dressed up very creatively. The fire house opens its doors and the kids just love the trucks.

For us it is another day of family and friends having fun together.
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