A Mother’s Love-Hate Relationship with Halloween

I love the walk outdoors on a cool autumn night around our neighborhood. But not all the candy. There’s just too much Halloween candy.

Seeing all the children dressed up, the time they take considering and designing their costumes, love that. But not when they change their minds ten times, the last one an hour before go-time.

I love the energy in the air and a sense of our ancestors nearby watching over us. But not the scary masks and crying toddlers.

A Mother's Love-Hate Relationship with Halloween Truth be told, I’ve always struggled with Halloween. Just way too much candy. And my worry about way too much candy.

And so, I’ve tried everything. Ignoring the holiday all-together. Limiting the candy in so many and various ways. Exchanging the candy. Forgetting about the candy.

And of all the iterations, the most memorable ones have been when we build up the season in other ways to go along with the trick-or-treating. By telling stories, singing songs, playing games.

I’ve collected some ideas for you in this post. A good place to start is with a simple understanding of the essence of the season.

Halloween and All Saints’ Day come at the end of October, beginning of November, a time when traditionally the harvest was complete and signs of winter were beginning to appear. In many religions, this is a holy time of year when it is believed that the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is very thin.

My best advice to myself as that ambivalent young mother?

Don’t let the trick-or-treating be all there is!

I’ve collected a few ideas for you below. Some of my own and a few others from around the web. So that you can build up your repertoire of Halloween fun, and mix it up a bit.

Honor your ancestors, learn some new games, consider alternatives to all the candy, and find ways to appreciate this beautiful time of the year.

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. You can read my full disclosure policy here.

Ideas for Celebrating Halloween-time

  • Put out photos on your mantle or dining room side board of loved ones who have passed away. Over the next week, tell stories about their lives.
  • Check out this sweet yet profound story, The Saint and the Serpent, in the Waldorf Clearinghouse Newsletter over at the Waldorf Library.
  • Want more stories? Sign up for Suzanne Down’s monthly newsletter where she includes a new seasonal story each month. You can find Suzanne over at Juniper Tree Puppets.

Looking for some great read-alouds for Halloween? Check out the books below.

I would love to hear from you! What are your family’s Halloween traditions?

How to avoid too much halloween candy?


About Jean

Hi, I'm Jean. And I'm here to help you overcome the overwhelm!

6 thoughts on “A Mother’s Love-Hate Relationship with Halloween

  1. Good article. Some years we fried homemade whole wheat donuts and hot cider to the trick or treaters. Other years we cooked healthy hot dogs, or hamburgers. Our kids helped and thus did not have time to collect as much candy. It also became more about giving than getting.

    1. All really fun ideas, Barbara. Just this evening, a friend told me that she’s been giving out children’s books instead of candy to trick-or-treaters for the past few years!

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