I need to start by saying that I am not a big Halloween fan, but when you check-out the video at the end you will see why I have put my personal preferences aside and embraced the whole Halloween experience. It really does create memories that last a life time.
My Halloween Experiences:
My memories of childhood Halloweens are not of treats and candy, but of being terrified by the older kids in my home town. I remember them doing things like stealing our candy bags, jumping out and scaring us and starting straw bales on fire in the town streets. I really don’t remember ever having fun (although I am sure I must have when I was younger and went out with my parents). All I recall is being afraid and too cool to tell my friends how I felt. I spent most of the evening in fear (although I am sure there was not any real danger). Even as an adult, people in masks kind of freak me out.
Halloween for the Next Generation:
We all know how much fun it is to dress-up and pretend to be someone or something we are not. For my daughter’s third birthday, we made her a dress-up “trunk” and filled it with all kinds of clothing and accessories from local thrift shops. It was a hit, just as my own “tickle trunk” was when I was growing up. To this day, our dress-up trunk is still a favourite when friends come to play. However, when it came to celebrating Halloween, we just decided to delay the inevitable. We lived in an apartment for the first few years of my daughter’s life and therefore, we did not have “trick or treaters” coming to our door. We never gave her candy and she really had no way of even knowing Halloween existed. In my world, this was nice. No candy eating to police (sorry, but I believe that candy and sugar is like a poison for small children – so we were pretty diligent about this) and no costumes to make. My daughter was completely unaware of Halloween until she was in Nursery School and they were having a class party. We didn’t want her to lose out on the fun of dressing-up and didn’t even consider not having her participate once the “cat was out of the bag”.
I will never forget her first Halloween. We had very briefly talked about going “trick or treating” after school, but Eden really didn’t understand what it was an said we would decide when she got home from Nursery School. She was 4 3/4 and Shay was almost 2 1/2. We weren’t sure what the final decision would be, so we went through our dress-up trunk and found costumes for both her and Shay (just in case). Of course, Eden was a princess! (Aren’t all 4 and 5 year old girls?) We also had an old lion costume in the “trunk”, so we decided that they could go out as “Beauty and the Beast”, if we opted to go at all. (Eden was not dressed up as Belle, but she was a princess and it would work in a pinch.) She had a great time at school and thought that Halloween was really fun. However, when we asked her if she wanted to go “trick or treating” or not, she reached in her backpack and pulled out a little Dixie cup full of treats and said “Oh, no we don’t have to go, look at all the treats I got from my teacher!” She had never seen so many candies in her life and couldn’t imagine that she needed more. However, Shay was excited to dress-up and so it was decided that we would go out. We got them both ready and went to Grandma and Grandpa’s and two neighbors. The kids were so excited and could not believe the loot they got. The container we gave them was very small, so their treats filled it to the top. We were totally laughing, as they had no idea what was to come in years ahead.
Of course, after that first Halloween “trick or treating” became an annual event. I am not sure about your house, but at the Roys, we start planning our costumes in September or sooner. Generally, we do not buy the commercial costumes, but rather try to put together odds and ends from around home or the thrift store. I thought I would share some of our favourites in case you are starting to think ahead to October 31st, as well. Here are some of our favourites.
A Favourite Halloween Memory:
I don’t like scary costumes and Shay really wanted to be Dracula when he was 4, so we made a compromise and I said he could be “The Count” from Sesame Street. Here is a video clip of him doing his Count gig. Gotta love it!