Because of my Christian faith I find myself on the fence about Halloween each year. In years past (before my girls were in school) they really had no idea what it was but ever since last year with my oldest started Kindergarten, she knows all.about.it. I have mixed feelings about participating in school Halloween events and trick or treating. But this post is not about why Halloween is wrong or Trick or Treating is bad. It’s really about just getting some feedback from those of you who do NOT celebrate Halloween but do something in its place like Harvest Day or some other event.

So, if that’s you, I’d love to hear what you do for Halloween alternatives. šŸ™‚

By the way, Just Something I Whipped Up is going on over at the PARTY blog today so don’t forget to link up. šŸ™‚

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  1. (un)Deniably Domestic says:

    We now live on the premier trick or treat stress in our city. I have been buying candy for weeks and will likely still run out. T or T has changed in our region over the past few years to a more Harvest/Fall Celebration. In our house, the rule is NOT scary althought the kids test the waters here and there. Right now the twelve year olds are in a not just a princess or nerd costume but a dead princess or dead nerd. It makes me crazy. My rule stands. ..not scary. Our house will have MS silhouette windows with a cute witch, claw and arched back cats….kitschy is good, no blood and guts. We try to make it a compromise and the celebration is the fun, the make believe, and the pot of chili with friends. ~Kelly

  2. Our old church (where we went before we moved) has been going a Harvest Fair for YEARS. We still drive there on Halloween for the kiddos. They have game booths, food for sale, bounce houses & slides… lots of fun. Their public school has the Friday before Halloween as a “Dress Like Your Favorite Storybook Character” so kids can wear their costumes, but they don’t have Halloweens parties. So far this has worked for us.

  3. Until last year we have always had “fall festival” parties. We make or buy costumes that we continue to dress up in all year long (for pretend play). We buy (or rent) a movie for the family to watch together, dressed up in fun costumes (princess, knights and such) with some candy and other treats. We painted pumpkins and roasted seeds. Often we invite other Christian friends over so the children can all dress up and have fun together with some games, donuts, and cider. I figure one donut and a handful of candy is exciting to the kids but not as bad a a full bucket and we make it a giving thanks to God theme (instead of a Halloween celebration)… Often our “fall festival” or “fall harvest” parties are a few days after Halloween so friends who don’t make costumes can pick them up at the store for 1/2 price.

  4. I so appreciate this post because I’ve been struggling with all the Halloween stuff out there. I comment on a lot of it because some of it is very creative but I haven’t made anything and don’t plan to.

    Our church hosts a Pumpkin Patch every year. It is a costume/dress-up event. They have loads of bouncers and loads of carnival games and they have treats in what they call Candy Cane Lane. Then at the end of the night they have a show with a presentation of the gospel and a final give-away. It is what we do with the girls.

  5. This is a hard one and we’ve gone full circle. When my kids now (13,11,7) were 3 and 1 I was convicted about the evil that is celebrated at Halloween so we just didn’t do anything…until the day my kids realized “hey, that looks like fun! How come we can’t?”

    We talked about it at a level they could understand when they were younger. We continue to talk about it and make it a learning time.

    Now as a family we have a tradition of carving pumpkins. Not because of making a Jack o Lantern to scare away evil spirits but because it is really fun to do. Even Dad gets in on it. We light them for a few nights to enjoy the glow and talk a lot about how thankful we are for a creative God who created fun things like pumpkins.

    We also trick or treat some years. It just depends on what else is going on in our world. Our dress up box is full of discounted costumes that we use all year long. If we get an invite to go trick or treating with cousins or other close friends, we will scrounge for a costume and enjoy the fellowship with them. If we don’t get an invite, we will usually invite someone to our house for games and such.

    I don’t know if any of this has helped. Halloween is one thing I pray about each year and I feel as though God has directed my family year to year.


  6. Growing up, due to our families faith, we didn’t celebrate halloween either. Although we did invite friends over for dinner and to play. Then the highlight of the evening was having a pinata (which we got to pick out). My sister and I always had a blast and I never felt that I was missing out on something.

  7. When I was in school we used to always have Halloween/Harvest day at school so that everyone could participate. Maybe suggest this to the school’s principle, because you’re probably not the only one who feels this way! And really, it’s not any more effort for the school.

    Also, instead of trick or treating, you could try reverse trick or treating (https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/703/t/9669/shop/custom.jsp?donate_page_KEY=6515) Which would help teach your children about other global issues, or collect for Unicef, which is another way to do something good for others!

    Good luck!

  8. My church has a Harvest festival around the same time as Halloween. We don’t go all out for halloween as a family but we’ll dress up every now and then. I don’t like decorating my house for halloween, fall decorations are more versatile and can last until Thanksgiving. šŸ™‚

  9. I was happy to see a blogger write about this! My family didn’t “celebrate” Halloween either when I was growing up, but I kind of got pulled into the whole ToT thing with my own girls b/c all my friends were dressing their kids up and having so much fun with it. I personally don’t think of Halloween as a holiday, b/c to me, there is not much “holy” about it (I kind of cringed a bit to see some bloggers showcasing Halloween “Advent” calendars–wished they’d maybe call it something else since Advent is a Christmas thing)…but I don’t begrudge other families who want to have some fun with it. I just don’t like the gory stuff–blood, skulls, bones, etc. etc.

  10. I LOVE your post…it is along the same lines as my post about Christmas today….we have decided…after years of dressing up in non-scary costumes to spend the night as a family, making our home made pizza, maybe watching a movie and playing games. Fall Festivals can be fun….we have gone to those….and if we find one, we may go…

  11. I will take our girls to the town-wide trick or treating and then to a smaller town for a community party, but we do not go knocking on doors and so far I have had only princesses and fairies for daughters. I don’t like Halloween much, but I want them to enjoy the fun part of the season. Such a conundrum!

  12. My girls are still little so we have been ablet osteer away from it so far. We’ve always gone to a church for their fall festivals, usually a few days before or even a week before. The night of tho we use as a family night…our own little party. The girls make up the menu with fun things out of family fun magazine and sometimes we make crafts but always we have snacks and a game night! It’s nothing fancy but my girls love it!

  13. It is interesting hearing peoples views. I am Christian as well and I really love Halloween. I think its just fun to get dressed up and have a good time!

  14. Some people do a reformation party. They pick a reformer and do a themed evening around them. The kids dress up in costumes from the time period and play games and such. I am planning the reformation party for my childrens christian school this year. I have never been involved but it seems like it will be fun.
    Every year we ToT at the houses of people we know and the kids can dress up in costumes we don’t do witches, or dead things anything that I don’t agree with or I think has other spiritual yuckyness attached to it. I don’t allow my children to wear clothing with skulls on them so we only decorate the house in a fall theme. Lots of good ideas on here about reverse ToT and such.
    I like the idea of a family fun evening at home.

  15. One of my friends asked me about this last year. She is from Brazil and her oldest (4) asked if he could dress up. She had never celebrated Halloween and I think was even kind of scared of it. She asked me if we celebrated and honestly, I was shocked by her feelings. I had never known anyone who DIDN’T celebrate Halloween!!! For us, growing up, it was all about dressing up. My sister and I were usually princesses, or gymnasts, or Laura Ingalls Wilder. šŸ™‚ We had a Halloween party at the community center every year with tons of games and little prizes. Some years, we trick or treated, but we ALWAYS dressed up and visited our grandparents. They loved seeing us in our costumes.

    So, I honestly never gave it a second thought until she asked me. I felt bad for her little boy, because all his friends at daycare were talking about their costumes, and he wanted one, too. In the end, she decided to let him dress up as a dinosaur. I know that they also discussed it on a level that he could understand, and they don’t take part in any of the creepy, spooky, or scary parts of Halloween (neither do we.)

    So anyway, I guess my suggestion if your kids really want to dress up, would be to get together with grandparents if they’re close enough. And eat a popcorn ball. Popcorn balls say Halloween to me!

  16. I used to love Halloween as a child. I never thought of it as evil or bad. It was just plain good ol’ fun. But, I’ve learned a lot about Halloween and it’s origins. I am now troubled by it. As a result, I do not participate in Halloween anymore.

    However, I do decorate for fall. Fall things are good. And, I can’t resist the candy! Especially, the day after Halloween clearances. LOL. šŸ™‚

  17. Thanks for your honesty!

    We are always on the fence with Halloween as well. Before the kiddos, we just didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, but then when our oldest son came along, we felt the need to replace the spooky festivities with an alternative, too šŸ™‚

    We have been allowing him to get a non-scary, good-natured costume and wear it at his grandparents’ home for the evening. It allows him to have some fun with dressing up, but within parameters we are comfortable with and not convicted about…yet! šŸ™‚

  18. I enjoy seeing all of the cute trick ‘o’ treaters each year, and carving pumpkins with my husband. We decorate, but it’s usually all in good fun. I’m SOO not into the devils and other evils, or the teen girls who dress like hookers. Always surprised by the families who are! We don’t have kids yet, but I’m pretty sure we’ll get even more away from “Halloween” when we do.

  19. Well I guess I get a little confused by all the post stating “celebration” I am 47 with 3 children & 6 granchildren..never did we call it a celebration. I trick & treated & my children did & my grandchildren do now. I guess I dont understand about all the scary stuff either..we never did anything scary & still dont. We carve pumpkins, light them each night..we change the light bulb on the porch to a fun color..I usually put on really long fake eyelashes & extra makeup..we love seeing all the little children in their costumes..we laugh & have a great time. Life should not be about all these concerns..what we put out there is what we get back..dont introduce scary, you wont get it..have a great time..Parents today stress so much about things that just really dont matter. I am a Christian, I love the Lord & in no manner disrespecting my Christianity by dressing my daughter up like a flower & letting her go to the neighbors to get candy.

  20. I struggle with these same issues (as I do with Santa Claus – let’s discuss that in the near future too) as my husband grew up in a family with 11 kids; they always trick-or-treated. I don’t believe in all the hoopla, it’s not one of my favorite holidays (my friends all love it and go all out). We live in the country, so there’s really nowhere to visit around us. The kids have to be taken into town if they are to participate.
    Our church has hosted a trunk-or-treat the past few years, in an effort to provide a safe, non-scary environment. My kids have not participated in this, but I understand where church leaders are coming from in hosting such an event that their children are so strongly swayed about by peers.
    Our former pastor did not allow his children to trick or treat, and actually promoted handing out pre-printed cards in lieu of candy that said “Jesus is the light of the world”, of which he had an abundance of for everyone to take as they left church the Sunday prior to Halloween.
    Blessings as you/we navigate these Christian-parental waters…

  21. It is a hot topic. Our family does not struggle with the issue. We do not celebrate Halloween, nor do we do anything to substitute for it. The idea of dressing up and having fun is not lost one me. But Scripture is clear, we are not to participate in darkness, witchcraft, etc. We simply turn out the porch lights and hang out together like it’s any other night. By now our neighbors know that we don’t observe this ritual and they don’t knock on our door anymore. But the neighbors also know that we are joyful and loving towards them. I have a blog post going up next week about Halloween. No one talks about it. I am so glad you brought it up. šŸ™‚ Lisa~

  22. Wow this has been a good read. a lot of different views and sounds like a lot of good moms here. I also Christian and kids 16 and 19 we always did harvest, a church in our town does NOAH NIGHT and they have done a year or so of trick or treat. I have struggled with this since I became a mother and I love fall but not Halloween. But reality is it is here and I love fall colors and decorate my house with them until Nov 25th then of Course Christmas. Values in the home are so important and I think if we are not letting our kids get into the scary part of it. We are good. This year it is on SUNDAY that is kinda cool and daylight savings time. so we will have an extra hour of sleep the day before. We have posted a sign on the door in the past advertising harvest parties.

  23. For several years we had a Biblical Fall Festival at our church. I created many games like: walk in the footsteps of Jesus (cake walk), ring the gifts to baby jesus, help moses over the red sea (red water in huge bowl–throw ping pong bowl into empty bowl behind it), Prevent Jericho (Jenga), Knock out the plagues (throwing ping pong balls into cans listed with the plagues), Nock out goliath (board with hole where head might be), Knock Zacchaeus from the tree (little stuffed man in a fake tree), Take a lollipop from adam and eve’s tree, Color the coat of many colors, Sand Art (gomora), pin the basket and fish to feed the 5,000), Going fish for Jonah, etc. Oh and everyone dressed up in biblical costumes.

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