I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween when I was growing up.
I was raised in a very conservative Christian home and Halloween was frowned upon. Well, not always. We stopped celebrating Halloween when I was about 5 years old. I’ve seen pictures of myself dressed up as a princess with my trick-or-treat pillowcase full of candy but I have no memory of every participating in traditional Halloween activities. I’m not exactly sure what sparked the sudden decision my parents made to stop participating in Halloween but I know it had something to do with church.
Every year instead of joining all the kids trick-or-treating around the neighborhood, I went to church. On Halloween our church would put together a fall festival that was a “safe” alternative to traditional Halloween activities. I remember hearing claims that all Halloween activities were tied to demonic activity. Wearing costumes, bobbing for apples, saying “trick-or-treat” were all considered evil. Instead, our church held a western style carnival event. Everyone dressed up as cowboys, we had food and game booths, hay rides and of course some type of sermon presentation.
I actually had a really great time going to church and participating in all of the “fall” activities with my friends but I desperately wanted to go trick-or-treating. On the drive home from church I would search the streets for kids still out and about, but we always stayed out too late to catch a glimpse of any of them. I would longingly admire the carved pumpkins and decorations on the houses. As I got older I really wanted to pass our candy to kids that came to our home but we were volunteering at church and I never saw any kids in costumes. As much as I enjoyed my church fall festival I felt like I was missing out on such a typical childhood experience.
Now that I’m a parent I absolutely love seeing my kids get excited about Halloween. We carve pumpkins and decorate our porch with bats and spooky characters. I love walking around the neighborhood with my kids as they show off their costumes, say trick-or-treat and get candy. When my kids get tired I sit on our front porch and pass full-size candy bars out to our neighbours. My husband and I attend Halloween parties where the adults go all out and wear amazing costumes. Halloween has become my favourite holiday. I love that we get to be creative, are encouraged to visit our neighbours and of course, eat lots of candy. I’m definitely making up for lost time during those years that I couldn’t participate!