Wednesday, October 28

Halloween Traditions

I think I first need to apologize for my fairly lengthy post today, but I just LOVE the holidays. I love any holiday really - any reason to entertain, decorate, or just make the day/season special for my family (especially my girls), is something I love! I also love the ages my children are at right now. They are 8 and 3 and love to play, create, and celebrate with me. Here are a few of the Halloween traditions we do/have done in our family:

We visit the pumpkin patch and carve pumpkins. We visit a local place that has a hayride, corn maze, petting zoo and an apple orchard. I love the opportunity to get a few good family photos on this outing as well. As you can probably tell by my posts, I love photos!

I also try to do a few craft projects with the girls. We have traced our hands and made handprint bats. I have painted the bottom of their feet and made footprint ghosts. One year Abigail and I painted acorns orange and when they were dry she drew pumpkin faces on them with a permanent marker. A favorite project would have to be painting fingernails orange and then drawing pumpkin faces on them with a permanent marker.

Over the years I have collected my share of Halloween dishes and decorations thanks to after Halloween sales. I look for those things that are fun and celebrate the season. I use my dishes throughout the entire month of October, which my girls love! On the actual day of Halloween I usually decorate the table and make a small activity packet to set at their place. I google activity sheets online, like coloring sheets, word finds, mazes. . .anything I think my girls will enjoy. They love waking up to a decorated table (I also set out a new set of markers or crayons with the activity packet. I usually stock up on both markers and crayons during back-to-school sales and use them through-out the year).

They usually enjoy a bowl of Boo-berry, Franken-Berry or Count-Chocula cereal for breakfast. These cereals are only available at this time of year and just happen to be my husband’s favorite from his childhood. They love being able to share this with their dad.

We will often make Halloween shape pancakes throughout the month as well (I bought these molds a few years back at William Sonoma-I’m pretty sure they sell them every year. I do know they sell out quickly. I have also used cookie cutters, but they are little harder to work with since they do not have a handle). You could also just make larger pancake and use a variety of Halloween cookie cutter to cut out shapes-kids just love eating things in fun shapes!

Our favorite part has to be dressing-up and trick-or-treating. A few years ago we decided to leave a neighborhood we absolutely loved to be closer to my husband’s job, but we miss it greatly. We choose to use this holiday as an opportunity to go see all those people we do not get to see on a regular basis. We drive across town and the girls are able to trick-or-treat at homes where we know the people. Since we have to drive across town, we do not hand out candy at our own home. We usually end the night going to grandma and grandpa’s house so the girls can show off their costumes one more time. It is a fun night we use to celebrate the people we love in our life.

The last tradition we have chosen to incorporate into our Halloween is one I came across when Abigail was about 4. We used to go the story time at Pottery Barn Kids and they were giving out these little cards that talked about “the legend of Jack-o-candy.” It is an obviously made-up character that comes at night to trade the treats you just collected and leave a gift in their place. I thought it was a great idea but never thought Abigail would want to trade in all her hard earned candy. To my surprise she asked if she could keep a few and trade in the rest. So we compromised and let her keep as many treats as she was old (i.e. she was 4 years old so we let her choose 4 treats to keep) and had her hang the rest on her door. That night “jack-o-candy” came and took her treats and replaced it with a gift. The gift can be anything you wish, big or small. We have kept ours between $20-$35 dollars depending on the year. It is a fun way to have the kids celebrate the fun of Halloween without a month of eating candy. It also keeps their focus off wanting to get more and more candy and allows us to enjoy all the homes we stop at to visit along the way. Every year we revisit this tradition to make sure the girls still want to trade in their goodies and so far they still want “jack-o-candy” to visit. This year he will be leaving a baby stroller for one and a baby doll for the other. They just can’t wait.

I think like with any holiday, we can get carried away if we are not intentional. My hope is to always make the holiday special in small ways. I want my girls to remember doing things as a family, just being together. I hope this Halloween, whatever part you choose to celebrate, you will enjoy spending it with your family. Happy Halloween!

No comments: