When I was growing up and Halloween fell on a Sunday, my parents simply told us we didn’t go out. I never questioned it, but it was always a little sad to go to bed early that night, house darkened (we didn’t pass out candy, either), and listening to the occasional door-knock of the trick-or-treater unacquainted with the “lights out means no candy” protocol. I loved Halloween and still do. So this year’s holiday, as the first Sunday Halloween when I’m a house-running adult, has me thinking. What are the options?
After asking a few of LDS Living’s friends on Facebook (join us on Facebook!), we decided we weren’t the only ones interested in this question. From poking around, brainstorming, and using some of those Facebook responses, we’ve come up with a few ideas. (All ideas assume the family in question will not be trick-or-treating on Sunday. All ideas can be incorporated together or used separately.) The goal is to make Halloween a special time for the kids who love it, even if it is a little different than usual.
Go on Saturday.
This may be a viable option in areas with a predominantly religious population. If you’re new to the area, the best way to find out how it works is to ask around your ward and see what the rules are.
If October 30 trick-or-treating is not common, and you’re really outgoing, you might arrange a neighborhood trick-or-treat session on Saturday. Send around fliers and see if other families are interested. Not only will it foster more neighborhood interaction, but putting together an organized event (in which you get people to sign up and agree) may increase the safety factor as well.
Have a low-key celebration at home.
Make a dinner with pumpkin in it (or better yet, find a recipe for a casserole made IN a pumpkin). Get candy and let your kids eat it. Make pumpkin- and ghost-shaped sugar cookies and decorate them while watching a classic Halloween movie, such as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown; Hocus Pocus; Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit; The Witches (probably 12 and above); The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad; any Harry Potter movie; and the classic Frankenstein. (For really little kids, there’s always Pooh’s Heffalump Halloween Movie.)
One my favorite Halloween specials as a kid was A Disney Halloween, which includes classic cartoons and snippets from Disney movies (I would always skip the "Night at Bald Mountain" segment at the beginning, from Fantasia). The older version, Disney’s Halloween Treat, is also enjoyable. While these specials are no longer available on VHS and have not been released on DVD, both can be found on YouTube (in 9 parts and 5 parts, respectively), which could make for decent watching, depending on your family’s computer monitor or Internet streaming hookups.
Let your kids help with passing out candy.
Do you pass out candy to trick-or-treaters on Sunday, or not? It’s a good way to be neighborly, but of course, it’s an individual decision.
If you decide to pass candy, including your kids is one way to get them involved in the holiday, even if they can’t go out. It’s one way to help them see the joy of holidays from the other side, the side that enjoys giving and seeing the happiness of the receiver. It will also help kids feel responsible and grown-up—two feelings they are always anxious to experience. You might even let them dress up to get in the Halloween spirit.
Make sure to have a spiritual conclusion to the evening.
Family prayer or scripture study (or both) will be a good reminder of the meaning behind the day—Sunday—and your decision to treat Halloween differently this year than you usually might. Even if your children may not have willingly stayed home, they will understand a big goal for the home is to maintain spiritual priorities.
That rounds out our list. What other ideas do you have?