Our Non-Traditional Halloween’s

If traipsing up and down busy streets knocking on strangers doors to ask for candy isn’t your thing. Or even Trunk or Treat’s. No worries. You didn’t violate some parental holiday agreement.

We’ve yet to have a traditional Halloween with our children.

It wasn’t something we intentionally set out to boycott (we don’t). My husband and I have fond memories dressing up and going trick-or-treating in our neighborhoods or church festivals. So far, it just hasn’t seemed to happen. And I’m okay with that.

2009. Joey was 11 months old. He didn’t need candy, so why go ask strangers for candy that would obviously be for myself? Awkward. Our church was hosting a Halloween party in a community of seniors, which is where we spent our evening. I hadn’t planned on getting Joey a costume, but the movie Where the Wild Things Are had just come out and I was inspired.

Our Non-Traditional Halloween - Doing What Works for Your Family in Your Season

I ended up taking an old housecoat and making him a Max costume into the wee hours of the night. I don’t regret it one bit. And he was adorable.

2010. I was very pregnant with Otto and my husband was working 2nd shift at the time. We ended up heading to our zoo’s Halloween party, which turned out to be a lot like waiting in the security line at the airport. Every once and awhile there’d be a group passing out candy and a movie backdrop for pictures. Also note the incredible, ingenuity in Joey’s costume: jeans, plaid shirt, Chucks, and a cowboy hat. How’s that for a costume? We called it Urban Cowboy.

Our Non-Traditional Halloween - Doing What Works for Your Family in Your Season

2011. This was the first year we actually considered going door to door, but we lived in an apartment complex and the idea of steps with a baby and a toddler just wasn’t appealing. My mom bought Joey a knight set and the cape was a hand me down of my brother’s. Our neighbor found Otto’s dragon costume at a thrift store, and it was all just too ridiculously cute.

Since the boys didn’t care (or know) about the free candy for door knocking, we took them to a park and let them run around. Afterward, we went to a local bakery and let Joey get the biggest upside-down, iced cupcake he’d ever seen. It was awesome.

Our Non-Traditional Halloween - Doing What Works for Your Family in Your Season

2012. This was an eventful Halloween. It was the day I went into labor with Olivia. There were no costumes. (I take that back. My dad’s birthday is a few days before Halloween and he had a costume party the weekend before. The boys were pirates–from the dress-up box. I was Mother Earth…great with child.) But still, no candy. But there was pie. Apple pie to be exact. While timing my contractions and waiting for labor to progress enough to leave for the birth center, I baked a pie. I know it sounds crazy, but it kept my mind off labor. The boys carved pumpkins with my parents and Olivia waited just a few hours past Halloween to make her arrival.

Our Non-Traditional Halloween - Doing What Works for Your Family in Your Season

2013. No plans. No energy. Life as mother to 3, finally settling into a new house. All the costumes came from our dress-up box. Notice anything familiar? Yep, Otto’s wearing the same cowboy costume Joey did. Except we upped our game a little bit with a vest (hey! a pirate wore this last year!) and hand-me-down cowboy boots from a friend.

We ended up “trick-or-treating” at my husband’s office, during the day. The kids got loads of candy and Joe got to show off his cuties. We did a short part of Trunk-or-Treat at my parents church, but it wasn’t really my thing. It reminded me of the zoo Halloween. Shuffle, shuffle, stand.

Our Non-Traditional Halloween - Doing What Works for Your Family in Your Season

2014. This year I think, perhaps, we might join some friends for trick-or-treating. Apparently, their neighborhood is the classic, go-to place for candy knocking. And since everyone can walk, why not? It may be an epic failure or the best night ever. We’ll see.

We even splurged and bought costumes (with Grammie’s help). Joey’s going to be his favorite superhero of all time, who also happens to be an inventor and scientist (his favorite), Iron Man. Otto is dressing up as his favorite villain redeemed, Darth Vader. And Olivia? She’s going to be the world’s favorite snow queen. Yep, Elsa. Shhh…she doesn’t know yet. The costume is technically her birthday gift, but a day early.

Moral of the story?

Do what works for your family. And a well-stocked dress-up box comes in handy.


Happy Halloween!


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