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What if you don't celebrate Halloween, but your kids want to dress up? Or maybe you'd rather to do a bit more on the educational side rather than simply buy a costume. Here are some ideas from my school and friends:
International Day: Research your ethnic background and the national costumes associated with it, or choose a country. Our school has 24 countries and on International Day (which we do around Oct. 31) we have colorful costumes from all over, as well as a few Tom Sawyers and Little House on the Prairie costumes. Then we have a parade for parents and the upper school, singing a variety of international songs.
Reading Day: Dress up as your favorite character or author. Let other readers guess who you are!
All Saint's Day: This is, after all, November 1st. Halloween was supposed to get you ready for it.
Reformation Day (which is Oct. 31): what would Martin Luther or John Calvin have worn?
Dress Up As A Historical Figure: Do you have a budding composer? Get a wig and look like Beethoven! A scientist? Dress up as Madame Curie or Einstein. Studying Greek mythology at school? Go Greek. There are any number of ways to include education in some kind of dress-up fun (and if you want, you can still go trick-or-treating).
If you don't like the greed and the candy associated with trick-or-treat, try trick-or-treat for UNICEF or some other charity of your choice.
I hope these suggestions will spark your creativity. Have fun with them. You can use most of them all year round.
By Cantate from Tokyo, Japan
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
Thank you, Jeggie from Corydon, IN
Years ago our Church would have Halloween parties for the families of the Church. It was fun! We had hay rides through town. They decorated the Church basement (which is where the party/gathering is) more of a Fall them, not making it so scary.
As for things to pass out, I stopped doing the candy. I pass out things that my kids like; things like bubbles/stickers/toothbrushes/pens/pencils. If I do treats, I get the little packets of crackers. Free samples you can send for make great treats! Just got to collect them early! Go to your local craft store for ideas! Or treats!
Hope you and the kids have fun! (09/22/2006)
We have a Halloween Movie night with halloween food
You get the idea, be creative with your food preparation and descriptions. Popcorn balls and caramel apples for movie watching. Fun and can be VERY inexpensive
Keep your porch light turned off to discourage treaters. (09/22/2006)
Call it a "harvest festival" and bob for apples, play games, plan a treasure hunt, etc. (09/22/2006)
By Cheryl from Missouri
Growing up we didn't go Trick or Treating, although we did pass out candy for a bit before it was either given out or eaten by us kids. We always went to the church party, so we weren't deprived of our sugar overdoses. You could decorate in an autumn theme with leaves and pumpkins and it would also be appropriate to leave it up until after Thanksgiving. If you don't want to participate in the Trick or Treating, maybe you could find a couple of other families that feel the same way and have a big Family Night of games and movies. Just remember to turn out your porch light as a sign that you aren't giving out candy. Have fun! (09/22/2006)
One thing that I do is to focus on the Harvest rather than the spooky part of Halloween. Fall is such a vibrant, amazing time of the year where we live and a great time to point out all the works of God in nature. I decorate with faux pumpkins and dried gourds. I have been collecting them for about 7 years and they look really festive and seasonal grouped together around the house. The fun thing is that they are all different and are relativly cheap.
As for the candy problem, I have heard of a few things that people have done. One is to let your child go and then offer them a trade ( I usually do something that I would have bought them anyway like new shoes that they need/want or a special toy or something) for their entire bag of candy. We have also done it where we get together with friends and do Trunk or Treat. You have to go to a parking lot or something and then park the cars in a circle with the trunks facing in. Everyone brings trinkets, pennies, healthy snacks or treats and hands them out of their trunk. It's great because the parents are all right there, you know all the people and the kids don't feel like they are missing out.
I'm not sure why you don't want your children to Trick or Treat, if it is health, religion or whatever but if you can just find some like-minded people, you can have a great fall harvest party. Good luck! (09/22/2006)
Just decorate in a fall theme. Pretty colored leaves, pumpkins, sans happy faces, scarecrows, etc are fun. And I agree with everyone else, lots of churches have alternate events for the evenings. Then you are not at home for the handing out candy dilemma. (09/22/2006)
Well, how about All Saints Day. you could commemorate and learn about the saints alive and/or dead. That is how my church used to do it. Wear a costume of someone that you look up to. (09/22/2006)
I wish you lived nearby. We have the most fun evening at our church. We call it Hallelujah Night. This year we are decorating in a fiesta theme, with a serape, sombreros, honeycomb tissue pineapples and toucans, Mexican piggy banks in lots of summer colors, etc. We have a fish pond made from PVC pipe and curtains (old sheets) where the little ones "fish" for prizes. There is a dart board, rubber duckies in a wading pond to throw rings around, beanbag toss, crafts, face painting, and other carnival type games. We get our prizes from Oriental Trading. They have some neat Christian-themed stuff. There is a Mexican-style backdrop, and we take people's photos. There will be lots of food at the potluck, and we do give small bags of candy so the kids don't think they've missed out. There are several Halloween alternatives at churches in our area, but we have been told ours is the best done (brag, brag) Do you have a regular church? Why not start your own alternative? It is soooo much fun! (09/22/2006)
By Coreen Hart
Hi, I decorate for fall, not Halloween. You can put up cute, not scary scarecrows for decorations. Last year, I used a marker and painted faces on the different squashes from our garden. I put them in a large basket by the front door. With their cute (not scary) painted faces, it was really cute. After Halloween, I turned them all around so the faces were on the back (not seen) and left them in the basket for a fall decoration. When I needed squash for dinner, I just grabbed one. Our church always has a large party on Halloween. I think they call it the "Fall Festival". They have all kinds of games, throwing darts at balloon, ring toss, beanbag toss, fishing, water balloon toss, apple bobbing, watermelon eatting races, the kids have a blast. They ask each family to donate a bag of indiviually wrapped candy when they attend the festival. This candy is given out for the children playing the games. They also order small treats from Oriental Trading Post. Everyone that wants to can wear a costume. Bible themed is best, but anything that is not scary, or satanic type is OK. The kids have a blast and they are safe. (09/22/2006)
My family and I stopped celebrating Halloween years ago for religious reasons, so I know where you are coming from. You can decorate for fall, use hay bales, cute scarecrows, fall sugar maple leaf swags, pumpkins, squash, cornucopias, indian corn (the multicolored ears of corn), anything that reminds you of the crisp season. I always went to our local big discount store and spent about $20-25 to buy individually wrapped candy, filled a huge bowl and gave it to my 2 sons, then they didn't feel that they had missed out on trick-or-treating. I explained to them why we didn't trick or treat, and they understood, but they saw all the kids at school with candy. This way, they too had candy to take to school or whatever. And I felt the money I spent was well worth keeping the kids at home. They did go to some church-sponsored harvest parties, some years. One year, my younger son was just dying to make a jack-o-lantern, he just kept bugging me, so I let him make one, with the understanding it couldn't be scary. He cut out a cross and wrote with a marker "Jesus Loves You." It was the best Jack-O-Lantern I'd seen! (09/24/2006)
Hi there, I have found and used the most wonderful place with lots of Halloween Alternatives.It is a christian based site, Danielles' Place ,and it has crafts and tons of ideas for ever occasion. Most are free but to get into some there is a fee. I have used them for my Awwana's class at church. For Halloween, she has candy cane treats with a prayer attached. She even gives you the print out! A prayer to use while cutting out your jack-o latern and a very cute booklet to make afterwards, about how "Jesus takes away the yuckie stuff!" It is awesome! http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/crafts.html (09/24/2006)
Have a harvest festival: think of fun things to do with the last of the veggies in the garden or pick up apples. Still can do apple dunking. Let the children dress as animals or fruit that GOD has created, etc. You can also view a christian movie. (09/24/2006)
You can carve pumpkins with animal faces. That way, you're taking part in the activity and not using anti-christian images. You can string colorful indian corn into necklaces with your kids and let them dress as favorite book characters or historical dress. (09/26/2006)
You could carve pumpkins, carving pumpkins really doesnt have much of a "halloween" effect. Also if you don't want your children trick or treating, you can let them go door to door at your house and give them candy!(:_* (08/01/2007)
Find a church Harvest party. You can always find fun church Harvest parties! and kids have fun and get lots of candies and prizes! (09/28/2007)