My Kids Have Never Been Trick-Or-Treating

By Stephanie

It’s true. My kids have never ran through the neighborhood in costume, looking through tiny plastic-masked slit-eyes, puffs of breath foggy in the chilly fall night. Hollow jack-o-lanterns with black handles have not been dumped onto my living room floor, a sea of colors and chocolate and crinkly wrappers.

We are that house. The dark porch on the end of the street.

Several years ago, right about the time my oldest son Noah would have been going trick-or-treating for the first time, he was on a special diet to control seizures. It was so special, so strict that not even the tiniest morsel of sugar, let alone candy, was allowed.

We weren’t even sure at the time how we wanted to go about celebrating (or not) October 31st. Many Christians we know do not choose to participate in Halloween festivities. And many do.

We still don’t know how we feel about it.

And isn’t that how much of parenting is sometimes? Going with the flow and deciding along the way?

I must admit: I’m weary of having to know exactly where I stand and how I feel about something at all times, and always sticking to it. Maybe I’m still figuring things out.

No, not maybe.

I am still figuring these things out.

Over time, Noah came off that diet and then could have candy. But we still have never done the trick-or -treat thing. We will be dressing up tonight, attending a party- and while I hope for no tricks- I’m sure there will be plenty of treats.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Just as the crispness of fall, and the gain of an hour tomorrow (for my side of the world), change is in the air.

As the Managing Editor of 5 Minutes For Parenting, I am daily amazed and thankful for the incredibly talented writers that make up this body of a blog.

I am excited to announce that we are growing, and starting today we will be bringing back (by popular demand) the weekly You Moved Us column, thanks to Nell from Casual Friday Everyday.

And starting next Friday, Cassie- a brand new blogger- from MessyFunMommyLife will be sharing her voice as a young single Mom and her journey in this land we call parenting.

This journey, this land. Will we ever really figure it all out?

It’s so good to know we are not alone.

We are all in this together.

And there’s sure to be plenty of treats along the way.

32 Responses to My Kids Have Never Been Trick-Or-Treating
  1. Beck
    October 31, 2008 | 7:09 am

    I love your writing, Steph.
    We’re total Hallow-weiners around here – my husband used to be a costume designer and one of his childhood goals was to be a horror movie special effects guy, so I think his heart would break if we didn’t. But we keep things low-key and friendly – lots of smiling pumpkins and scarecrows, no horrid costumes, lots of emphasis on the candy. It feels right for us, but every family has to figure out who they are, and that’s not an easy thing.

  2. Rhonda
    October 31, 2008 | 8:05 am

    You and Jeff are doing a Great Job at this parenting thing. Deciding along the way is ok. Whatever works for your family is what counts. Have a Terrific time at the party….eat a popcorn ball for me.

  3. Sharon
    October 31, 2008 | 8:07 am

    Happy Halloween! Whether you trick-or-treat or not, there is plenty of fun to have. 😉 We do it, but I know those who don’t can & will still have fun.
    Have a great time tonight!

  4. Heather of the EO
    October 31, 2008 | 8:19 am

    So true. We’ll never be finished learning and changing and grasping for the best response in each moment.

    I suppose it’s better that way. To not decide ahead of time and grow rigid. Because we just never know what life will throw at us or how any one particular child will respond. The needs and emotions change as do the times.

    Great post, Steph!

  5. Candace
    October 31, 2008 | 8:24 am

    I have posted a Halloween Christian story over at my blog. I think it is a great story!

  6. Rachel
    October 31, 2008 | 9:33 am

    We’re there too – We haven’t decided where we stand on the issue, and just don’t have terribly strong opinions either way, so are just waiting for the time when we HAVE to make the decision. Not this year, though.

  7. flipflopmamma
    October 31, 2008 | 9:51 am

    I’m going to keep the whole trick or treating thing from my smallest two for as long as possible. SlowMo’s not huge on it either, so it’s not really a big deal around here.

  8. Valerie
    October 31, 2008 | 10:07 am

    We too are that dark house at the end. My kids have never been trick-or-treating either.

    Parenting is definitely a journey and a learning process. A system of boundaries that you lay out as you have too. I am just thankful that the Lord leads us and guides in how, what, where, when we should do or not do.

  9. Nell
    October 31, 2008 | 10:14 am

    I don’t see much a difference between trick or treating in a neighborhood and going to a party all dressed up getting treats. I figure the kids are still getting to have fun so all is good 🙂

    We let our little ones go to a few houses and we pass out candy but things might change as they grow older. One thing I know about parenting is sometimes how you parent or view things changes over time.

    Have fun tonight!

    Nell :–)

    I’m so thrilled to be part of the 5mfp team!

  10. Yamile
    October 31, 2008 | 10:14 am

    OH! I love Halloween (and trick-or-treating); it is one my favorite Holidays! One of the dearest memories I have is of my 2 year-old-son, dressed as Harry Potter with a radiant smile on his face, running with his cousins. We don’t eat much candy at home, and my kids are pretty good about that,so the candy issue is not a big deal for us. I understand that some people object to celebrating Halloween. There’s a little boy in my son’s class who never dresses up for the school Halloween’s party. He cries every time, and that breaks my heart. We are very active in our Christian Church, and we try to celebrate Halloween without the gore, just the fun, more like a harvest party. I think every culture has a night where they celebrate the unknown, that remembers death and looks at it without fear, that acknowledges the existence of being other than people (be it fairies, elves, ghosts, etc).
    I know, it’s tough to know where we stand for every issue. I just try to consider what really matters, what decision will really affect my kids for the rest of their lives. For example, last year I homeschooled my son because I truly believed it was the best for him and our family; however, he was devastated, he tried to please me, but he missed going t school. So I put him back in school. After all, I wanted to do what was best for him, right?
    Sorry for the long post. I do love your writing and I hope you have fun tonight.

  11. Amy
    October 31, 2008 | 11:28 am

    We are a dark house too! I’m so glad that You moved us is back – I love finding new to me bloggers through you ladies – Thank You

  12. Erin
    October 31, 2008 | 1:26 pm

    We’re trick-or-treaters, but very selective at this point, and I’d like to keep it that way as long as possible! We walk down the street to Luke’s sitter and go next door, but that’s it. As a Christian, I don’t have any problems with it, because it’s more about festivities and having a good time than anything else to me, but I can be pretty liberal about those things (Luke’s dressing as a little devil, after all!).

  13. Jennifer
    October 31, 2008 | 1:30 pm

    Another dark house here! I never trick-or-treated growing up, and our children don’t either. They don’t miss it. They know about it, and simply don’t care. What bugs me is all the “what a terrible mother you are” looks from others – even some of my christian friends! I don’t judge anyone else for choosing to participate, so why should I be judged for choosing not to? I won’t jump on a soap box or anything, but I just had to get that off my chest! I think everyone has to decide what is best for their family…whether it’s trick-or-treating or any matter. And I don’t think anyone should judge anyone else for their choices as long as they are not harming their children! And yes, I think it’s perfectly ok to figure out things as you go along! It’s not easy making all these parenting decisions!

  14. Hannah
    October 31, 2008 | 6:21 pm

    We also don’t participate in Halloween, because we’ve never felt peace from the Lord to do it, considering the origins, but we always take a fun family outing instead. You’re right, we’re not under the law but under grace, and we just need to support one another as we seek Him every year about to handle things with our kids …

  15. Musings of a Housewife
    October 31, 2008 | 9:59 pm

    I’m all for deciding along the way! We’ve definitely evolved as parents, and so have our methods. Some for the better, and probably others notsomuch, lol. But parenting is a journey, and no one starts at their destination! 🙂

  16. Carrie
    October 31, 2008 | 11:04 pm

    I blogged about this earlier this week. Thanks for making me feel better about not having to have all the answers right away.

    Blessings from Minnesota

  17. Kelly
    November 2, 2008 | 12:19 am

    I actually get nervous when I think I’ve got everything figured out. Because that’s when pride is able to harden into arrogance.

    Hope you had fun with the perfect Halloween for your family, Steph.

  18. Lizz
    November 3, 2008 | 7:51 pm

    I could certainly relate to this. I think it is good when we realize we don’t have it all figured out. We should probably be concerned when we do think we have it figured out. Um, and that may not make any sense to anyone else.

  19. Clair
    November 4, 2008 | 6:41 pm

    We didn’t take Isaac this year either. It seems that when they get older it’ll be easier to just take them out roller blading and give them what any kid wants – candy. Right now though with all the thought of an 8 month old in a cute costume, it was hard. But we know we made the right choice. halloween is just not a day we want to celebrate

  20. Danielle
    November 8, 2008 | 2:43 pm

    For me, Halloween is all about the candy and dressing up for fun. At one point I shrunk from Halloween, as on adult, because I worried about the real evil that is out there and the trivialization of that evil. I married a visual effects guy though so now I choose to focus on the fun part of it. I love the cutesy side of Halloween and the Fall season. I love dressing my kids up in fun costumes and seeing other kids in fun costumes. Since I have boys and an effects loving husband I’m sure it will get gorier as the boys get older. But hopefully it will be a way to teach about the things they should fear and not fear. A way to teach about illusions and reality while having fun. I also want to institute a Day of the Dead tradition where we remember family members, my children’s ancestors, and their legacy to them. Halloween has a lighter side and a darker side like most things. You choose where to draw your lines as a parent and usually it is on the fly- because things change and it is good to be flexible (to a point anyway). Thank you for your thought provoking article. It helped me to define where I stand and to think about where I want to draw the line.

  21. hyperactivelu
    November 13, 2008 | 1:25 pm

    Ya know? I grew up with trick or treating for years and then moved to the South and found out that not all Christians did trick or treating. I was shocked, as a child, that going door to door asking for candy was somehow an awful thing. Not that I am a parent, I wonder- am I deciding the right thing? Like you, I kinda go along wondering what my beliefs are on so many things…hoping that I am not blinding following the crowd and making horrible decisions for my children. Thanks for a great post….I am so behind on my google reader!!!

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