The Backwoods

Where we teeter between our love of modern convenience and the yearning for something long past; a world where neighbors knew your name and a “Friend Request” was eye contact and a smile.


Posted · 18 Comments

I approached the dark porch with excitement, eager to see my classmate in full Halloween garb.  I knocked on the door and clutched my pumpkin shaped candy bucket in one small hand.  The boy opened the door a few inches, peered out at me in nothing but jeans and a t-shirt, and said, “We don’t celebrate Halloween.”

WHAT?  Why not? I wondered.  Why would anyone NOT participate in a holiday where sugar and makeup is allowed in abundance and staying out after dark is not only acceptable, but encouraged by adults!  My seven year old mind couldn’t quite wrap around such an unfathomable idea.  Nor did it really want to.  I continued my evening, perplexed, and more than thirty years later I still can remember that boys face, peering through the dark doorway.

As an adult, I’ve always participated in Halloween.  I’ve dressed my kids in costume, toted them up and down snow covered sidewalks, through shopping malls, from store to store, filling their bags and their tummy’s with chocolaty, sugary, crap.  We’ve plotted out costumes, traded with other families and reused time and again, the same old ones.

And every year…I think, “Why?”

I’ve friends who don’t do it.  Whose kids have never once dressed as a puppy or panhandled for candy, and they don’t seem the worse for the wear.  They’ve survived, and probably have less dental disasters.  And I wonder, are they missing something…or am I?

I’ve spent upwards of a hundred dollars in years past, to encase my children in fantasy wear.  Skeletons, princesses, puppies and kittens.  A lobster, a Dalmatian, a dozen different witches. I’ve spent money when it could have been used elsewhere. I’ve stressed when I shouldn’t over costumes, parties and candy bags.  I’ve gone out in increment weather and traveled roads best not traveled.

And every year I contemplate the idea of not doing it. Of not giving into the pressure…from kids…from society…from myself.  I think of making new traditions that don’t involve heaps of sugary processed foods I rarely buy any other time of the year.  I imagine different ways of breaking it to the kids.  I procrastinate getting costumes in hopes I’ll come up with a really great plan that will end the madness, yet not horribly disappoint children who plan all year for that one spooky night of junk-food-fest.

After all, last year I stopped giving Easter baskets and nobody even really noticed.  I’ve not bought pumpkins for carving in several years.  Perhaps nixing the costume thing would slip by as easily.  Maybe they’d just let it go…but I doubt it.

18 Responses to "Hollow-why-not?"
  1. Msoysta says:

    I still get an Easter basket from my Mom, and I’m 49.  We have a party on Halloween and give big handfuls of candy that even adults will like.  It’s family, it’s festive, and what can be evil about that???  All Christian holidays imitate pagan ones- who cares.  Celebrate living.

  2. cmeireland says:

    And we don’t do Easter either. We do celebrate Resurrection
    Sunday, though 🙂
    No bunny, no Jack Skellington, no Santa. I sound like the fun police, but it
    really has made every holiday so much more relaxing and fun, and much less
    complicated. What’s really important? The crap we give to our kids and call it
    celebrating? Or the fact that we have a meal and count our blessings and spend
    time with those important to us and remember why we are celebrating? We aren’t
    living up to anyone else’s standard of what a holiday “should” be.
    It’s great!

  3. cmeireland says:

    We don’t do Halloween. We used to, but now we don’t. And I have tried not to do Christmas either, but have been met with a lot of resistance, so we are slowly fazing it out… We celebrate biblical feasts and when someone tries to tell me that my children are “missing out” on the fun, I point out that we DO celebrate a LOT of holidays, just not the ones that only the last THREE generations of Americans do. I remind my self that I’m not taking it away, I’m replacing it with other traditions. And on Halloween, we compromise by having a movie night and eating candy 😉

  4. Miss Fortune says:

    We had our own reasons for not celebrating, but when I got married my husband thot it was ok to do. Of course *I* was the one that always had to do it with/for them. Finally after years of doing this “for the kids” I asked the kids if they would rather go TOTing or go buy a bag of candy of their choice (no limits) and stay home and watch scary movies (at the time, it was along the lines of the Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy variety, which they always enjoyed).

    They opted to get the bags of candy and watch movies, which we always enjoyed. We did that for several years. As they grew up they began making their own choices to keep or not keep (normally based upon what their friends were doing), but also knew it was up to them to plan and execute it as well.

  5. guest says:

    I hope the people commenting who don’t celebrate Halloween due to its origins also do the research and not celebrate Christmas. It’s traditions are based in the same beliefs. Paganism. From the tree, to the gifts, even to the birth of a deity (though they celebrated the birth of the sun god rather than the son of god).

    • Rebecca Wolowiec says:

      Exactly, Christmas is nothing more than Yule. The tree and garlands are all Pagan in origin. It is not a “Christmas” tree.

  6. Elfielaa says:

    I have been told I dress like it’s Hallowe’en EVERY day of the year. So I am glad when the rest of the population looks just like me, even if it’s only for one day or night.

    The Wunderbars are just icing on the cake. 🙂 let your kids decide when to stop the madness, and enjoy the ride.

  7. JB says:

    I do not like the continued commercialization of all the holidays, Halloween included, but I do want my kids to have the memories, traditions and fun of the holidays.  As a new mother, (my son is 14 months old), we did not dress him up or really celebrate this year or last year except for handing out candy.   My policy is that our kids can dress up and trick or treat when they ask to, so there is meaning and understanding behind it.  Why waste the money for a costume he will only wear for 5 seconds and never remember.

  8. StaceyC says:

    Halloween is really All Hallows Eve the day before All Saints day. Originally, the traditions like dressing up and having carved scarry pumpkins were to ward off demons and evil spirits. Then on All Saints Day famiilies would remember the saints, and their friends and family members that had passed away and care for their graves (in some traditions) Warding away evil and remembering those “saints” who have passed is a holiday I think is well worth celebrating.   

  9. Ryan Rickborn says:

    I’m a new mom and have felt the pressure and conflict. We didn’t celebrate as kids due to the orgins of the day. It used to bother me but I now understand and agree..I’m with Joy in her explanations and want to employ the same traditions around holidays. Most of all I’m glad folks are talking about it. The devil is in the details so bringing them to the light will at least make us more aware. Also glad I’m not the only one with these convictions and mind/soul struggles.

  10. Zenmom79 says:

    I understand the whole dark side of  Halloween as a christian. This is why a lot of people don’t do it.  As a christian- I do Halloween two ways. 1) we go rent a ton of movies, make popcorn, order pizza and buy a TON of candy. We pull a ton of blankets to the living room floor and pillows. We keep it really dark. ( so trick or treaters know were not giving out candy.) Or we dress up and go trick or treating. My only rule with costumes is it can not be “trampy”, nor can it be scary or evil. Each year the kids decide what they want to do. More times than not, it is spending time home having a Gooey night.

  11. Uthawkes says:

    We are a family that does not celebrate Halloween.  We have a lot of children, but we chose to celebrate Harvest instead.  Rather than glorifying the evil side of Halloween which really is dark, we have a little candy for our children to enjoy, but have decided not to buy in to the “Halloween” festivities and we feel that it would not glorify a maker that is encouraging us to uphold biblical principles in our homes and in our lives~especially raising our children.  We therefore choose to celebrate the end of Harvest and be directing their minds to the abundance of blessing that is poured out on us.  Just a different take on directing the thoughts of them to positive and good things and creating amazing memories together.

    • Rebecca Wolowiec says:

      There is no “dark side” to Halloween. It is a celebration of the dark half of the year, where the days get shorter. It is also a time to remember ancestors. The “devil” only exists for Christians, Jews, and Muslims. There is no “devil” for Pagans. There are no sacrifices either. Please learn about other religions before stating what you think are facts.

  12. Theresa Sherrill Reiter says:

    I love Halloween!  It’s one time when I can ‘go back’ to my childhood.  I live in the USA and this holiday is a big one!  My kids are grown, but I still dress up to answer the door for the trick-or-treaters.  I do send them little Halloween treats via the mail.  I’m a teacher librarian and I dressed in costume to read Halloween themed books to my elementary classes.  They loved it!  Can you tell this is one of my favorite holidays?!?
    On the flip side it can be an expensive day/month to celebrate.  I stock up for the next year by buying decorations, ect. during the day-after-Halloween sales.  And since October decorations seem to come out earlier  – this year it was August – I purchase items I want several months in advance.  This way it doesn’t hit me all at once.
    If you don’t want to continue with the kids make it YOUR holiday!

  13. Joy says:

    So the reason not to participate is still not clear….. Why not have a little bit of absolute frivolous fun when growing up… you will be an adult for such a long time… I am in Australia and it is not an event that is really celebrated here….. I participate fully in most festive things as I so want my children to grow up with fantastic memories of stupid costumes yucky lollies and the fun we had doing it all……. My kids have food allergies so we NEVER eat any of the lollies (I would trade them for stuff when we get home that they are allowed), but isnt part of the occasion just the pure joy of it and the excitement of it al happening…. I have the greatest memories with the kids of the fun things we have done at easter and christmas and the family traditions we have in place for them…… they love to wake up christmas morning and eat lollies (that are allowed) and at easter they always sat and had breakfast together while we watched the new DVD or Video in the Pyjamas the easter bunny had left for them with the note to say he knew about their allergies and left special pyjamas for them……. Lets not be in a hurry to grow up and dismiss all the fun and frivolity out of life… lets go a tad slower and really enjoy the time we have with them… and do something just because it is fun and silly, but leaves you with such a great memory and laugh about how silly and fun you looked…. and in years to come… the horrid photos to look back on and laugh at how silly you looked again………. 

  14. Eleni Drinks Tea says:

    I adore Halloween!  It’s such a fun holiday and it’s totally kid-friendly.  Just think of all the happy memories you’re making for your kids, and how deliriously excited (high on sugar?) they are on the night.  Plus, it’s some good-quality family time, making costumes, going out trick-or-treating.  I know how you feel but I would urge you to keep it up!

  15. shy says:

    not a chance that they wouldn’t notice.  Bailey can’t even eat candy and she still trick or treats. lol

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