Halloween seems to always be a touchy subject.
At the beginning of the school year, I send out a parent inventory to get to know the students and their families. On the inventory, I always ask "What holidays does your family celebrate" and "Are there any that you do not want your child to celebrate in school". Thankfully nobody has ever said not Christmas because that would kill me, but every year I have one or two who do not celebrate Halloween. So what do I do? I have a Book Character Party where the students complete a book report and then dress up as the character to present their report at our "fall" party, which just usually seems to fall on Halloween. This usually appeases everybody although I do make sure to call the parents who requested their child not celebrate Halloween to make sure it is okay. Those students are also given the option to present on a different day and to visit another 3rd grade classroom during our presentations if the parent wishes. In five years, though, I've never had a child not be able to participate.
At Zoe's daycare they have gone all out! Today was their Halloween parade where the parents were invited in, the newspaper was there, and all the kids marched around the center in their costumes. They had a "fall festival" this evening where the parents could complete little projects, make snack mix, and read books with their child. Then tomorrow is the party where they will be indulging in lots of sugar to get them ready to go get more sugar that night. Oh and I'm in charge of making rice krispy treat BRAINS! The center is decked out in pumpkins, skeletons, scarecrows, ghosts, and spiderwebs. Very festive!
I asked Dylan what he was doing in his class and if we needed to make anything or if he was to wear his costume. He said no, because one of his classmates didn't celebrate Halloween. He seemed to be quite perplexed by this. He asked me why she didn't celebrate and my response floored him.
"Well when I was a little girl, I didn't celebrate Halloween either." WHAT!!! Nope, I never carved pumpkins, didn't dress up, didn't go trick or treating, and we didn't even hand out candy. Halloween night was sitting in the basement, camping out with my family, and watching a movie. Do I feel like I missed out? No, not really. Dylan was curious why Grandpa and Grandma didn't let me celebrate the holiday and we talked about how they didn't like it because Halloween is usually associated with evil. Hence the ghosts, skeletons, witches, black spiders, and scary pumpkins that are everywhere! We discussed how it is almost like the opposite of Jesus with his brightness and love.
I shared with him how when we had him, Dave and I sat down to discuss how we would handle Halloween. Honestly, I am perfectly fine with carving pumpkins, decorating the house, and trick or treating (I especially like the part where I root through their bags to find all the good chocolate!!) Well we decided that the kids would be allowed to dress up and trick or treat, but that I prefer the costumes to not be dark and scary. Uh, when you see pictures of Zoe's witch costume this year please don't refer back here, k?
Dylan seemed to be content with our solution and life goes on, but after our discussion I can't help wondering. Am I finding gray in an area that really should be black and white?
What about you and your family? What do you believe about Halloween? Do you celebrate Halloween? If not, why? Were you like me and not allowed to celebrate growing up, but now allow your own kids too or vice versa? Maybe you were allowed, but don't allow your kids? I'd love to hear your opinion so c'mon and share!