By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
For many of us growing up, Halloween meant Trick-Or-Treating around the neighborhood on October 31st. (I really, don’t quite understand, how celebrating a day or two before All Hallows Eve makes it any safer for our kids. Every township and city announces the Halloween Day Of Celebration for them …weeks in advance!)
We would spend weeks, before hand, getting our costumes ready. Yes, we actually made them in those days. Then, we would go out for a couple of hours, of walking through the streets and visiting what ever homes had left their front lights on. (This meant they were home and giving out candy.) At the end of the evening, when we arrived home, we would pour all of our ill gotten gains, onto the dining room table for Dad to go through and check….supposedly for razors in apples or pins in candy. But we knew, it was so he could scope the best pieces for himself.
If you ask your kids what they like most about All Hallows Eve, I guarantee that they say something along the lines of…. dressing up and getting candy. No one has ever heard a child respond ‘I love all the walking around in the dark’.
Sometimes, we want to create family memories that are special to us, not a replica of how the neighbors lead their lives. We also have a tendency to be more over protective, as parents, than the generations that came before us. So we are starting a new tradition this year, we no longer are going Trick-Or-Treating, but plan to stay home with the kids and hand out candy and have a simple BBQ for the neighbors and games for the kids.
To make this an evening that our kids and their friends will remember , we are decorating the house to the extreme and plan to drag the grill out to the front of the house and set up a make shift kitchen in the drive way. Add music and drinks for the adults and set up a table with crafts, mini pumpkin decorating and games for the kids that stop by.
I have to confess, I save everything from every holiday and themed party we have ever thrown, so it is quite easy and inexpensive for us to throw this impromptu party. If you don’t have last years decorations tucked away in the garage or attic, then the dollar store is a great place to get lots of decorations for just $20. For the food, we plan to do very simple faire, cheap hotdogs for the kids and sausages for the adults, maybe some hamburger sliders and 4-5 bags of chips. Add a few large bags of mixed candy, a couple cases of sodas and once the music starts (via Blue Tooth speakers spread out through the years)…..WOOHOO Let The Party Begin. We plan to have a great time as we host this neighborhoods first block / house party.
Yes, it’s us being a little over protective, but at the same time, the kids are more likely to remember this Halloween than if we just went Trick-Or-Treating. Just because it’s the norm to do something a particular way, doesn’t mean it has to be your family’s tradition. Find a way to make memories your own way.