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Halloween: What do you do?

We’re not into Halloween much around here, except for the candy part, and Kris decided long ago not to dress the house or our kids up in ghost or witch outfits (or these). So, we have Fall decorations and some pumpkins and gourds and a dressed-up Teddy Bear. We used to enjoy going to the local grade school to watch the annual march of costumes, and couldn’t wait to see what the Dunlop kids had created for the year. One year Robbie was about 7 feet tall as a rocket of some kind.
Oh, and what were some of your favorite Halloween treats that were given out? Kris reminds me every year that she used to go to a house that gave out HOT DOGS!!!
What do you do?

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posted October 31, 2007 at 1:23 am

Our second son was born on Halloween…so it is always more about his birthday celebration. I have an orange and black spider web tablecloth and a special spider goblet and spider and black cat stuff (since we have a black cat!)
The boys dress up and go to the houses of the neighbors who want to see their costumes. This year our eldest is a pirate, the Birthday Boy is a Dragonologistical Wizard (he made that up himself)and our youngest is a Ninja Bounty Hunter (with the costume with the padded muscles in it–which is his favorite part!).
I give out little boxes of raisins and Reeses Pnut Butter cups and Snickers…have to have something of nutritional value in it, at least! And yes…I confiscate their “loot” and weed out the stuff they can’t have–and send it to work with their Dad! (His cubical is very popular after Halloween each year 8) )
My Grandmother used to make the most amazing molasses cookies…and she would wrap them in wax paper and seal them with her address label for the neighborhood kids (all of whom called her “Grandma”), so the parents knew they could let their kids eat those cookies. Miss those cookies…

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e cho

posted October 31, 2007 at 3:28 am

interesting. my oldest daughter is born on the 31st as well. for a while, she thought everybody was celebrating her bday!
we just enjoy taking the kids to walk around the “downtown” streets of our local neighborhood. you’ll see at least a 1000 families and their kids walking around in costumes. it’s kind of ridiculous the amount of candy our three kids gather. i, of course, take my cut from their stash.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 6:36 am

At the small Christian community where I live, we will do pumpkin-carving and cookie-decorating with the neighborhood kids this afternoon. (They also got to decorate our house exterior with fall/pumpkin stuff ten days ago.) We hang around with whoever comes by, give away candy — and then last year we had extra candy so we walked around the commercial areas of the neighborhood giving it away to people who were having to work that evening. I’m hoping that happens again this year.

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Bob #2

posted October 31, 2007 at 6:58 am

Scot, as I remember, the Dunlop boys were never in store bought costumes. In their younger days, Dorothy would have made them. I suspect, as they grew up, they themselves must have taken up the task. Some how, I can’t see Dad doing any costume design or sewing. Maybe I am wrong. 😉

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posted October 31, 2007 at 7:01 am

Wonderful stories.
Some of our Christian friends shun Halloween but I have allowed it (within parameters) as a way for my children to be introduced to the idea that there is evil in the world, personified as ghosts, witches and ghouls. We have always carved jack-o-lanterns and the kids dress up and trick-or-treat. My 16 yo dau. is trick-or-treating with a group of friends, though we think she is too old. Question: what age is too old? I think I stopped at 14.
My dau. wore a lightning bolt necklace to school today, which bothered me but I let it go … I told her to behave on the side of good, not evil, so that her light would shine forth and bit my tongue on the necklace … it was hard but I didn’t want the necklace to become a power issue. I’d rather see her wear a cross, but it’s not what you wear around your neck, it’s what’s in your heart …or so I tell myself. I will survive their teen years. Really.

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Laura Barringer

posted October 31, 2007 at 7:16 am

Happy Halloween! I am giving play dough to my first graders this year. :)

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Scot McKnight

posted October 31, 2007 at 7:19 am

Happy Halloween to you Laura!

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posted October 31, 2007 at 7:22 am

Halloween is a community party in the small town where we live. Really quite a lot of fun, trick or treating is established as 4-6 pm and a carnival of sorts is set up in the funeral home parking lot. The kids often wear costumes to school (within limits). A few years ago a picture of our daughter and two of her friends wound up on the front page of the local paper – because one of her friends was dressed as a fried egg. Some good imagination here.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 7:39 am

I’m from Maine… so when I was a child my costume was usually always covered by a winter jacket. Everyone’s was… but I loved Halloween. It was great dressing up, getting candy. I’m not sure if I had a favorite, I guess I liked Smarties, Mary Janes, and the Salt Water Taffy (that’s probably more regional). We use to always go over my grandfather’s house after a little while of trick-or-treating. He decorated his house all the way! He would get somewhere around 800 visitors, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Overall, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays because of these memories. I hope to replicate some… someday.
The Pursuit Online Store

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Clay Knick

posted October 31, 2007 at 7:40 am

Peanut butter cups! I just might eat one tonight. :)
Just one.

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My 2 cents

posted October 31, 2007 at 7:44 am

Like Kris, we encouraged the kids to dress up, but not as witches or ghosts. We usually encouraged them to dress as someone real that they admired. That usually lived that out with a football player’s outfit (given this time of year). One year, though, our second son was having a particularly rough adjustment to a new school–it was the end of October and he still didn’t have friends. So I helped make him a costume that turned around his social capital: he and I created a zamboni costume: a silvery painted, huge box, with icicles coming out the back, big Z on the side, held onto his shoulders with suspenders etc. It changed his life.

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Beyond Words

posted October 31, 2007 at 8:06 am

That’s a great story, M2C.
Last night was “beggar’s night” in my town and I was reliving memories of my childhood as I handed out treats, wondering what kind of memories the night was creating for this generation.
I always make it a point to interact with the trick or treaters based on the themes of their costumes and I ask the ones I don’t recognize where they live. One family always comes prepared to trick me with a riddle or two.
I stood on my porch and listened to the sound of children’s voices and laughter carried on the wind and thought, in a world where virtual activity captures our imagination, it’s remarkable that we still have a tradition that gets us out of the house and into the community.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 8:17 am

I don’t like the focus on evil and dark things and wish I could just make the whole thing go away. I was raised in a family that shunned it as evil. However, it is here, like it or not, and most kids enjoy it as a time to dress up and get candy.
My 8 yr. old son is so thrilled to be dressed up as a ninja, probably a very similar costume as Peggy’s son, padded muscles and all. Our small town also has a set time for trick-or-treating. All the kids are out. Police cars and fire trucks roam. It is a town-wide event. We have prepared a bunch of little bags with several items each, like snickers, whoppers, licorice and such. I am looking forward to handing out candy to lots of kids!

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Scot McKnight

posted October 31, 2007 at 8:24 am

This is Kris commenting. Regarding Bob #2 in comment 4, yes, the Dunlop boys created their own Halloween costumes even when they were in grade school. They showed their intellectual and creative gifts even back then! Scot and I got the biggest kick out of spotting them at the grade school parade – we could spot them a mile away because their costumes were homemade and so creative.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 8:44 am

Toniht we have “trunk or treat” church where we have our church family decorate their cars and have the kids come around the parking lot and cash in sugar.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 8:46 am

Play Doh…great idea, Laura. Happy Halloween to all.
I remember as a kid making popcorn balls to hand out. That was a messy treat! But, so good. Today, it’s the same old candy..something Bob will like if we don’t give it all away! I didn’t even have time to carve a pumpkin this of my usual traditions!

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posted October 31, 2007 at 8:54 am

We “must” carve pumpkins (usually three or so) – if only to harvest the seeds to roast and eat. This is the best part of Halloween in my book.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 9:24 am

This year we’re going to stay home and hand out candy and glow bracelets (wife found a great special at Michael’s). Next year we might take the kids trick or treating.
I’ve been soliciting people’s thoughts on Halloween on my blog because we need to decide what we’re doing with our kids. I’m kind of leaning in the direction of traditional Halloween with no “demon” (etc) costumes or participation in anything that glorifies the less savory elements of the holiday or its history (or Hollywood).

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posted October 31, 2007 at 10:22 am

I live in a Intentional Christian Community, and each year we have a Harvest Party. We stay away from anything scary or demonic, instead dressing up as movie characters or as in the case of this year(we usually have a theme) outer-space things: aliens, astronauts etc. We also carve pumpkins and have pinatas for the younger children.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 10:25 am

We don’t do much just invite a lot of friends over with different soups and have a great meal and visit and take turns passing out candy to the kids in the neighborhood. When I moved into the neighborhood I was the only person on my block in his 40’s so it’s cool to be the neighborhood grandpa. The house is lighted up in purple and orange lights and a couple of lighted pumpkins. We have fun with it and it’s good to see all the young kids all decorated.

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Julie Clawson

posted October 31, 2007 at 10:30 am

Last night we threw a Halloween party for the community center for mentally handicapped adults. Our church rents their building on Sundays and we wanted to do something for them as a big thank you. The party was fun with all sorts of games, crafts, and tons of candy. The Clawson family all went in pirate costumes.
Tonight we will hand out spiced cider and fair trade candy. In costume again of course. Obviously we have no issues with Halloween and have always found Halloween events to be great opportunities for connecting with others.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 11:25 am

As believers in Jesus it is a good thing to reclaim October 31st and celebrate all that God has done in history and our lives. I recently wrote about this in my blog

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posted October 31, 2007 at 11:42 am

For the first time our church is hosting a Trunk or Treat party in the church parking lot as an outreach to the community.
Personally, with two kids, my favorite part is raiding thier stash of treats or having them help carve the pumpkin- its great fun watching a 3 year old pull the guts out of a pumpkin.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 11:49 am

I dont like to see the really bloody/frightening costumes on small children because I dont think its appropriate.
BUT, I honestly dont mind it that much on teenagers. Halloween is a day where we get to mock death. We parody it. We laugh at it. Seems like there are some good Christian conversations that could be had in there.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 1:56 pm

I leave a bucket of water with apples in it on the doorstep and when Kids bob for apples I baptize them as fast as I can so Satan can’t get ’em.
No, not really.

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Kathy K

posted October 31, 2007 at 2:27 pm

It’s good to laugh!
I grew up understanding Halloween and trick-or-treating as a very American thing to do, not as an un-Christian thing to do.
My favorite treats always involved some sort of chocolate. And I think I was one of the weird kids who liked the pennies. Back then a handful of pennies were as good as gold at the corner convenience store so I could stretch out the sugar high a bit longer.
Now that my kids are of trick-or-treating age, it’s fun to decide on the candy (we give what we would enjoy eating, just in case it rains that year and we have an open bag or two) and decide on costumes. I did the “I’m working too much so to work out my guilt I will sew costumes for all three kids” a few years ago – imagine Princess Leia, Anakin Skywalker and Yoda all in one family.

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John W Frye

posted October 31, 2007 at 3:08 pm

Sadly the kids in our neighborhood have grown up, but when they were little, including our girls, the dads became the “Mo patrol”—named for Morrie, my neighbor. We would scout the street making sure no one drove by at a dangerous speed, keep an eye on the kids and, most importantly, act like kids ourselves. Now, we’ve got more life on us (notice I didn’t say ‘getting older’) and the kids are grown and so we’re going to darken the house and go out to eat. Sniff, sniff.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 3:41 pm

We all have a dark side and a light side and I see dressing up for halloween as a time to go nanana to our dark side. I mean, it’s kids, they haven’t the ability to know what’s going on psychologically, even some adults don’t either. But it’s a time to acknowledge/accept the dark side in us. Not accept as in approve, but that it’s there and it’s a time to go na na na to it. We’d have to greatly censor the Bible to cut out the parts where people did things coming from the dark side. Ok, so that in mind. We take halloween as a fun time for all and when kids dress up as ninjas or such they get to have a sense of power about that which is scary to them, that is, the dark side stuff they hear about or catch from what is in the home.
Up till a couple years ago we strung up the lights of pumpkins, did the cobweb stuff, set up the small speakers outside that played spooky music and handed out candy. What we handed out has changed accordingly to how our paycheck has increases. Usually we get a variety of candies. This year it’s just Whoppers. Hubby bought the candy. Guess what hubby’s favorite candy is. We never know how many kids are going to show up. Some are transported from other neighborhoods, I guess cuz our neighborhood gives out good stuff.
As to how old is too old to trick or treat – when they no longer look like a kid. Those who come to the door tall enough to not look like a kid. There should be parties for them to go to, or throw one themselves. Jokingly, this year hubby said we ought to hand out toothbrushes to them. As it is, we just drop one thing of candy in their container opposed to a handful to others. We never run out of candy, always have left overs that hubby takes to work so they’re not temptation for me at home.
My daughter is an October kid too. The problem with her bday is it not have Halloween stuff in it – no halloween oriented gifts and no putting up of halloween themed stuff till after her bday.

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posted October 31, 2007 at 4:30 pm

We never got into Holloween in our house. It was always one of those things where we would end up having to go to the dentist the following month if we went. My partents weren’t against it – we just never dressed up and went out as weird animals or something. I did go out once though when I was older. I was a cluster of grapes! I painted my face purple and put on a purple wig. Then I took a ton of purple balloons and covered my body with duct-tape and stuck the balloons on me. I really looked cool.
We usually go to church (Wednesday Bible Study) then we come home and watch a movie. Sorry we are a boring group of people. We just don’t make holloween a big deal.

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My 2 cents

posted October 31, 2007 at 6:49 pm

Does anyone celebrate tomorrow, All Saints Day?

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posted October 31, 2007 at 8:02 pm

One year, a very pregnant friend, put herself in a black Hefty bag, black stockings and called herself an olive!

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posted October 31, 2007 at 8:43 pm

Well, it’s 6:42 pm, and we’ve only had 5 kiddos come to the door. This Halloween I’m missing my 6th grade daughter who is at Outdoor School all week. Not quite the same without her around to take trick-or-treating with her pals, and to give out candy here. Miss her!!
Hoping we have a lot more knocks at the door tonight!

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posted October 31, 2007 at 9:35 pm

My 2 Cents #30,
In our home we have a wall with 7 or 8 framed icons of Saints. So, I was explaining to my 6 year old about All Saints Day, and he asked me if we could decorate the wall with streamers. :-)
A few weeks ago, I was joking around with him, “Who is the best Mommy? Who is the prettiest Mommy?” and he just shook his head, “Not you…it’s Mary, Jesus’ Mommy. You can be second.”
Maybe he read Scot’s book when I wasnt looking 😉

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Matt S

posted October 31, 2007 at 10:52 pm

In the past we’ve got to the church harvest party.
But this year we decided to stay home, let our kids dress up and then we spent an hour trick or treating everyone on our street. My wife and I slowly followed the kids pushing the stroller with the youngest in it.
We sipped cider and handed out candy to the kids that rang the bell.
I’m super glad we did! I kept thinking to myself “How many oppotunities do I get to smile at, say hi to, or chat with nearly everyone on our street!”
I don’t think we’ll be going to the church party anymore.
We ended the evening with a story about a saint and the collect for all saints day from the BCP.
“Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.”

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Chris Morton

posted October 31, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Here at Journey Fellowship, we had glowsticks with 1 John 1:5 printed on them and gave them to everyone in the church to handout in lieu of candy. It doesn’t cause cavities, it helps keep kids safe in the dark, and it tells our community a little bit about us and Jesus?

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posted November 1, 2007 at 9:10 am

As for All Saints Day (#22), my husband will go to Mass and I will probably go with him. I think it’s a wonderful commemoration of the people throughout history who have honored the church with their lives and often their deaths.
I honored All Hollows Eve (The Day of the Dead in many Catholic cultures)on my blog with remembrances of our newborn son who died.
As for Holloween, we didn’t do it when my older kids were young. We were definitely into the “Christians don’t do Holloween” mindset. We’ve come a long way, baby. Now someone stays home and hands out candy while the rest of the crew goes to church for the Light Night Celebration. The younger kids have a carnival with LOTS of candy and the teens are volunteers and run the event (and get LOTS of candy). It’s a blast.
Our turning point was when my young daughter, while peering out of our darkened house at the kids in costumes, asked me wistfully, “Tell me again why we don’t do Holloween, Mommy.” All of the sudden I couldn’t think of a good reason, so I whisked her up, put her in some dress-up clothes, and took her to friends’ houses in the neighborhood. She kept twirling around in her raher bedraggled, thrown-together costume saying, “I look beautiful!” Her absolute happiness made me cry at my own stupidity.

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Peter Murphy

posted November 2, 2007 at 5:05 am

Like others I enjoyed H’n as a child, most years trick or treating, a few years with neighborhood harvest parties and bobbing for apples. As adult converts my wife and I reacted negatively to the holiday’s reputation as a night for evil and celebrating death, fear, etc. I have enjoyed watching my children finally able to celebrate H’n with their own children and have started to question my views on it. Many of the contributions to this blog have helped me to broaden my ideas about it already. Thank you.

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