Halloween is a day that many people look forward to each year. Children (and many adults too) dress up in their favorite costumes and parade around the neighborhood showing off their new look – in exchange for some delicious candy. However, there are some parents who choose not to allow their children to participate in these festivities because they don't find it safe or in line with their beliefs. So what are some safe alternatives? I’ve got a few options that you can try.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I help my children pick out fun costumes and we plan for an entire day (and night) full of festivities. But I have friends who don’t celebrate Halloween because of religious beliefs or other personal reasons. And some parents are concerned about the safety of trick-or-treating. Regardless of the reason why they opt out of celebrating Halloween, most parents don’t want their children to feel resentful about having to miss out on the festivities. So many families, some of my friends included, decide to do other fun things instead of celebrating Halloween. Here are some of the ideas that they have shared with me:
- Harvest Festivals are a popular alternative to trick-or-treating. Many churches or other public places offer fun activities as alternative to Halloween. Families bring their children (some dress up in costumes and others do not) and have loads of fun. Generally there are treat stations so that the kids can go from station to station to get candy – similar to trick-or-treating, but many parents find it to be much safer. Food is served at most Harvest Festivals so kids are usually stuffed with hot dogs, hamburgers, cotton candy, and caramel apples before the end of the night. And for entertainment, there are usually several fun activities. Some Harvest Festivals allow kids to play games like bean bag toss and sack race while others go all out and have moon bouncers, slides, hay rides, and other great things for kids to do. Harvest festivals are probably the number one alternative to trick-or-treating because it is so much fun for children.
- Having a party is another option for families who do not celebrate Halloween. It doesn’t have to be very big or elaborate, but you could partner with other parents who don’t celebrate Halloween and throw an October-Day party for your children. You can choose whether your children dress up in costumes or not but be sure that the party is loads of fun. Play some wholesome music, have lots of snacks for the children to enjoy, and be sure to have some fun party games on hand. Also, it would be really fun to let your children help you plan the party. You’ll all have a lot of fun and your kids will go nuts at the idea of being able to throw their very own party. They can even make invitations to invite neighborhood kids to come and join them after those children have finished trick-or-treating.
- A Treasure Hunt is also a pretty fun idea. Grab several big bags of candy (be sure they are bags of individually wrapped candy) and hide them all around the house. You can even hide some treats outside or if neighbors want to join in, it could be a whole street affair. Then grab some index cards. On the first index card, you can write a clue that will lead the kids to the first place that you’ve hidden candy. Once they figure out the clue, they can grab the candy and then read another clue for the next place they can find another hidden snack. Keep going until all the treats are found. An alternative way to play this game is to hand the children the index card with the first clue. When they figure out the clue and arrive at the destination, another index card with another clue will be waiting for them. After a few rounds, the final clue will lead them to a BIG bowl of treats to share. The last alternative to go through this game is to just make it a free-for-all. You start the game by saying “ready-set-go” and the kids go looking for the treats. This approach would be similar to an Easter egg hunt.
- Themed Parades are also pretty popular as an alternative to celebrating Halloween. Many schools do it and kids really like it. Kids are asked to dress up like their favorite book character or to dress up like the person that they want to be when they grow up. Parents have a blast watching their kids parade around the school or neighborhood dressed up as doctors, lawyers, scientists, authors, stay-at-home parents, preachers, and any other person they might want to be when they grow up. This can be a ton of fun for everyone.
If you don’t celebrate Halloween, you and your family can still enjoy alternative festivities. There are a ton of safe alternatives to trick-or-treating that will put a smile on your children’s faces.