Why I Hate Halloween

posted in: Large Family | 36

Three Reasons Why I Hate Halloween

I’m going to just come right out and say it.

I hate Halloween. 

I know, I know, some people love it. Some people look forward to it all year. It is some people’s favorite holiday. Me? I just want it over (kind of like this year’s election). I do not think Trick or Treating is a sin. I don’t think it is evil or morally wrong. I don’t want to sap your joy, but I really just hate Halloween.

3 Reasons I Hate Halloween

1.The Glorification of Death

I hate the celebration and glorification of death. Yes, I realize this isn’t everyone, but this aspect of Halloween is impossible to ignore. Grocery stores, office buildings, and people’s yards are full of Halloween decorations. If I wanted to avoid it all I would have to  stay locked in my house the entire month of October.

Back in 1998 Adalia was 2 1/2. We lived in Canada and I vividly remember being in the grocery on Halloween. An employee had on a scary (and realistic looking) mask. One of those stretched out Screaming in Agony Demonic-Looking masks. Adalia caught sight of it and was absolutely terrified. She became hysterical.  And 2 1/2 there was no way to explain to her that it wasn’t real. She could see the person moving, of course, it was real. 

Five years ago it still scared my kids to drive by yard displays with graveyards, ghosts, and witches. My kids can’t be the only ones afraid of this stuff…

2. I Was Raised in an Evangelical Home During the Satanic Panic of the 80’s

It doesn’t help anything that I was raised in the 80’s in an Evangelical home at the height of Satanic Ritual Abuse scare. Everything was satanic back then (including Trick or Treating).  I vividly remember being in third grade where stickers collections and sticker books were all the rage. My friends and I compared and swapped and dreamed about stickers. Puffy stickers, scratch and sniff, and best of all? Iridescent stickers. I somehow came to possess four iridescent stickers. These stickers had unicorns (what third-grade girl doesn’t love unicorns?) and two out of the four had (wait for it) unicorns under a rainbow. My mom learned that “a unicorn under a rainbow” was a very specific satanic symbol and told me I had to get rid of my stickers. I can remember sitting in class and trying to peel those stubborn stickers off of the front of my notebook. My friends watched, aghast. Shocked that I would ruin those coveted stickers… 

While I personally find no harm in images of unicorns under rainbows, the way we are raised has a strong effect on how we parent our own children. Just as I cannot bring myself to say the word for passing gas that starts with an F (it was forbidden in my home growing up) nor can I feel okay with the whole Halloween thing.

3. The Candy

Every single year in the days following Halloween I see post after post by parents wanting to know what to do with all the darn candy their offspring had accumulated. I was shocked the first time I saw this. Wait, people take their kids door to door to Trick or Treat, allow them to gather sacks full of candy, then within days are trying to get rid of it? The frugal side of me is having a full-blown panic attack just thinking about the waste. It just makes no sense to me! Why let your kids joyously collect candy aren’t going to let them eat?

When we lived in Canada they actually canceled school the day after Halloween. I guess they learned from experience that kids who stay up late gorging themselves on candy have a hard time settling down for school the next morning…Who knew?

When we homeschooled, Halloween was a non-issue. My kids weren’t even aware of which exact day people Trick or Treated. We live in a rural area and have never once had a Trick or Treater come to our house. They had a general sense of people Trick or Treating, but it just wasn’t a big deal. Attending school makes this a million times harder. 

October 31st, 2012 Apollo was in the Cardiac ICU at Texas Children’s Hospital recovering from  heart surgery. Adalia called to let us know some friends wanted to take the kids Trick or Treating. Let me let you in on a little secret…when you toddler is in the CICU, you don’t really care what  your other kids are doing. As long as it wasn’t illegal or immoral, we were just happy to have friends helping to care for our children.

Since the kids started school and now realize they are missing out on Trick or Treating (though for us it would require a card ride to someone else’s neighborhood) we have watched a movie and eaten candy on Halloween night. This year we will be attending a local church’s event on Halloween.

We are not trying to make a statement, stand up against evil or change anyone’s mind (though I’m happy to skip the candy gorging bit). I just don’t like Halloween and I’m okay with admitting that.

Do you celebrate Halloween? How does what you do now compare to what you did growing up?

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36 Responses

  1. I HATE how scary the decorations go. My son has an October birthday and we cannot enter any party store after August without holding something over his eyes. (We tell him, we are keeping his eyes safe) We do live in a neighborhood and we walk to our own neighbors and let him trick or treat. We skip all houses with scary yards too. We just go to the people we know. It has become a tradition that a group of kids from church make rounds to a bunch of our houses in a van full. I prepare many goodies and treats for them. That is becoming my favorite part of Halloween, watching for a van full of kids and teens to come over and get some goodies.

  2. Heh. Our kids eat a gluten free/dairy free/artificial color free diet (for behavior, yes it works, yes it’s worth it for us) and their candy choices are very very restricted. BUT! They LOVE dressing up and going door-to-door, and they love getting loot.

    So we “buy” their candy (last couple years with small Lego sets, this year it’s going to be small stuffed animals) and I take most of it in to work to share (but keep the really good stuff for myself!).

    They get a toy that lasts for years, and still get to trick-or-treat. Work friends get goodies. We get children who aren’t gorged on candy, and peace in our house. Everyone wins!

    • I totally get that mindset if you’re on a special diet. I guess I just assumed you would let a kid Trick or Treat until they had whatever amount of candy you deemed appropriate…but apparently getting rid of the candy your kids just collected is a big issue for people.

  3. We never even heard about Halloween here (Czech Republic) until 1989. After the revolution, American holidays started to sneak into our lives. Valentine’;s day, Halloween. And Santa (in Central Europe, children get gifts from Baby Jesus). I usually try and stick to our tradition, even if it means depriving my kids of some school activities.

    Fortunately, nobody ever introduced trick’n’treating as a part of Halloween here. It’s just that the shops are full of scary masks and pumpkins are everywhere.

    Personally I don’t mind the pumpkins part. It used to be an overlooked vegetable here but they have a great decoration potential. We usually carve a pumkin or two with my girls – we make pretty stars and similar symbols, no scary faces. And every night we light a candle in it. It’s a nice little ritual. And that’s it. If there’s a school gathering in scary masks, we stay home and do something cool instead. We also revived a very old tradition of celebrating St. Martin’s day (middle of November) with paper lanterns and special pastry.

    Zombies, vampires, skeletons – no, thank you. There’re so many so much more exciting masks, costumes and activities to do with children, I just don’t see the point in celebrating death.

    • Thanks so much for sharing what it’s like in Czech Republic! Yes, I hate the gory, bloody, demonic part of it 🙁 Pumpkins? No problem.

  4. Here in the UK when I was growing up in the 80s trick or treating was really frowned upon. I remember lectures at school every Halloween about how we shouldn’t do it. The common view on it was that it was begging/harassing and could upset the elderly, and then there was obviously the stranger danger side too. Mainly only latch-key type kids did it, or children whose parents weren’t fussed that they were hanging about in the street after dark anyway. It went hand in hand with egging/flouring people’s houses more then. Parents didn’t go with you. My parents would never have let me go (although I did once when at a friend’s house). In different parts of the country from me it’s know as mischieves night and is all about egging etc.

    It’s a lot more mainstream now and parents take small children, but only to houses that have decorations up outside.

    I didn’t grow up in a religious household, so don’t see any harm in it. We’re taking our daughter out this year, but she’s been warned in advance that she can’t eat all of it. It won’t be thrown away though! My husband will probably take it into his office.

    • Interesting to hear about how it is done in different parts of the world. I don’t see anything wrong with it either, but it wasn’t a part of my upbringing or Chuck’s. Interesting that kids only visit houses with decorations. Here it is expected that anyone in a neighborhood will have candy. As a kid I always enjoyed passing out the candy and seeing the kids’ costumes.

  5. I love it, probably because it doesn’t have negative associations with my childhood the way secular Christmas does. We moved a lot and went Trick or Treating on the military bases we lived on. My parents had a general disdain for it because they didn’t like buying the candy to give out.

    Where we live there are lots of fun indoor trick or treat stuff that is fun not scary for young kids and I really love making costumes for my kids, pumpkin carving etc. And we wear our costumes to church to celebrate the feast of all Saints.

    • A couple of years ago we did pumpkin carving at our local fire station. They kids loved it, the mess wasn’t in my house and they got candy. Everyone was happy!

  6. Sarah Wamuhiu

    I grew up much like you – Halloween was a big no-go zone in our conservative evangelical home in the ’90s (as was Christmas but that is a story for another day 😉 ). Even the Harvest Festivals were iffy. We lived on a farm in a valley with no immediate neighbors. We used to either leave the house or turn off the majority of the lights so that trick or treaters wouldn’t come (because it really was give them a treat or be subjected to a trick and my mom didn’t want anyone coming since we didn’t have any treats. We do trick or treat with my son (and this year with my daughter too). He’s allowed to dress up in a non-scary costume. This year he is optimus prime. My daughter who isn’t quite 1 will be a cow. The fun part is that in our city there are multiple events leading up to Halloween where kids can wear costumes so they have already worn theirs a couple of times. We don’t trick or treat in our neighborhood but go to another one about 1 mile away. After Halloween (Easter, Christmas and Valentines too) we take all the candy and put it into a bucket that stays in my closet. My son is allowed to get something for the bucket a couple of times a week. Halloween candy usually lasts us for months. My husband who is from Kenya isn’t sure what he thinks about it all. I wanted to do a pinterest project I saw recently using wine bottles to make glow in the dark ghosts. He wasn’t really into that idea. 😀

    • Optimus Prime! That’s adorable. Yes, our children from Liberia just could not wrap their brains around the concept of Halloween. “But why?” is what they usually asked.

  7. I’m always up for a Harry Potterish halloween, but not for the gruesome displays I see, more in the States than where we are in Germany–but I’ve always loved carving jack-o’lanterns and trick or treating (a Beezus and Ramona, not horrorshow stuff). When I was growing up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the late sixties and seventies, Halloween got scarier when some nut, or nuts, put razor blades into apples offered to children–this was in all the newspapers. So we trick or treated only within our building, only people whom we knew personally, whose parents had dinner with our parents, whose kids played with us. But in an eleven-story building with four or five apartments per floor, that’s a lot of candy. I think my mom rationed the stuff and disappeared some of it (“Oh, it’s just in the back of the closet”). So our teeth continued to pass muster at the dentist, and we had fun. Now, my German-American kids carve jack o’ lanterns and we display them in front of our gate with candles, and take photos of them–people admire them so much so that alas, one year they were stolen.

  8. Not Halloween related but s scared kid story. When my son was 5 or so, he developed a paralyzing fear of aliens. Some other kid at school would tell scary stories on the playground, and told the others that the real reason the kids couldn’t go into the woods that bordered the playground at the school, was because it was full of rabid hamsters and aliens. It took me a while to convince him neither were real, I told him if there were really aliens he would see them on the news on TV. Well that one backfired on me. One night on the new they showed an undercover cop who was catching illegal aliens and when they interviewed the officer they blurred out his face with these squares so he could stay undercover, and then altered his voice with something that made it low and gravelly. Ben came screaming at me yelling “THEY ARE REAL, THERE”S ONE ON TV! He hear aliens and saw the face and heard the voice, he was up half the night crying because he was convinced they were after him. My kids went to a religious school and they had a Family Fall Harvest festival and room parties but no costumes. The school also held a trunk or treating event in the school parking lot for school or church familie. No costumes, and family oriented and a lot of families and church members came to the school instead of participating in their neighborhoods. Parents were happy to have it in a safe closed off area, off the streets and could trust what was given out because they knew every personally who was giving out treats, including a lot of homemade items.

    • This is hilarious! My kids love to tell their friends that their dad used to be an alien.

  9. It’s becoming more mainstream in Australia, but it’s very polarising. Some people hate it because “it’s American”. Other people embrace it – probably for the same reason actually. We don’t celebrate it, but we do keep a stock of kids christian DVD’s and hand those out to any kids who come to our door if we happen to be home. We figure we are happy to encourage community. When we lived in a small town we had kids come to our door with a plastic bag, no costume, etc. My husband knew them so kept a super soaker water pistol nearby and squirted them (it was hot enough). They thought it was hilarious. I have noticed nearly all the kids that come to our door are without parents, which worries me a bit.

    • If we lived in a neighborhood I would happily hand out candy! But it’s not really an option here. Funny a bout your husband and the water gun.

  10. When I was a kid, we had the cheap costumes with the plastic masks and went door-to-door in our neighborhood. When my kids were little, I made their costumes and we went door-to-door in our neighborhood until we moved to a rural community and joined a church that did an alternative party. Then we did that. Now that I’m raising my grandson, he gets a costume (this year it’s Iron Man) and we do the city street fair. I live in town, but don’t get any trick or treaters b/c I live on a side street with only a couple of house.

  11. Now I need to know what a unicorn under a rainbow means. I mean, we are the same age. I had the same sticker collection. I even had a T-SHIRT with a unicorn under a rainbow on it. What were my parents thinking? What was I advertising??? I may need therapy.

    • I actually searched the web to find a reference to this and couldn’t find anything!

  12. Not a big fan at my house either. I tell the boys, “Halloween is a religious holiday, and it’s not my religion.” ;D
    I buy them each a bag of candy of their choice and we have a movie night.
    Bam. Done.

    • That’s a great answer! The last few years when we’ve done a movie night, I bought several bags of candy and divided them so everyone got a lunch bag with plenty of candy inside.

  13. Stephanie Mazzon

    I hate halloween. I do however love the Reese’s cups in my son’s basket. I am afraid of all things spooky or scary including friendly and scary clowns….never have I watched a horror movie…never have I stepped foot in a haunted house.

    One of my kids loved halloween. One did not like it at all…did not wear a costume or care about the candy.

    • I used to watch horror movies, but not anymore. Except for Silence of the Lambs, I love that one. My guilty pleasure is reading true crime…

  14. See I love it.. it is my favorite holiday.. I love that fact that it can just be fun.. you get or make a costume.. go out get candy.. I love seeing the little kids in their little outfits.. I have one strict rule.. you have to say ” trick or treat” and thank you.. or no candy..No stress,.. no muss no fuss.. just pure fun..does not matter about getting the best gift.. and anyone can do it. I love carving pumpkins.. fall festivals.. the time of year.. it is still warm but getting colder.. just LOVE everything about it.. ( and I am not a scary movie stuff person ) I love the time of year and all.

    I know I am strange But I cannot stand Christmas….. let the boos start.. Christmas to me is sooo far from the meaning that it was developed from that it is insane anymore.. and I honestly do not want to do it. last year with family and all being unavailable( hospitals etc ) we had just the 4 of us, Christmas at home.. and it was wonderful, and also did with advice from our Jewish friends… “Jewish Christmas”.. we ordered Chinese food and sat around all day.. it was glorious !!!!

    Sue in NJ

    • I can understand that. Like I said, I hate the glorification of death and evil. I am 100% with you on Christmas though. It is so hard to keep the focus on Jesus with all the candy, presents, decorations….everything having to be bigger and better….

  15. Mike Warnke and Bob Larson… I loved unicorns and rainbows too until they got into my head. I remember taking down my pretty posters thinking I was honoring God by doing it.

    My kids and I were just talking about how scared they used to be of some of the decorations. They don’t appreciate the fake grave yards around our house. Death is all too real and we don’t need to cheapen losses by making them into “fun”.

  16. I was not raised in a Christian home but I am a Christian now. Hallowe’en was my dad’s favourite holiday when I was a child. When my 4 children were younger, I enjoyed Hallowe’en. They had homemade (not scary costumes) and it was fun. As they got older I came to hate the selfishness of October 31. It is the only holiday more about getting (candy) than giving (gifts or thankfulness). There is no effort put into the majority of the costumes. Where I am in Ontario most of my neighbours go overboard with Hallowe’en decorations and put up none for Christmas. I miss the lights on the long dark winter nights.

  17. In the 80’s I used to hand out little animal figurines or bouncy balls instead of candy and kids were delighted. Kids nowadays have so many toys they are upset if you try that.

    • I’m actually kind of surprised…I would think the kids were happy getting something different.

  18. When my kids were little they carried small things to collect candy hence it looked full when it was a manageable amount of junk. They had bigger bags when they were older but we just head home once we feel they have plenty of candy. We don’t go and go and go and they are plenty happy. We are looser with how much they eat for the first couple of days then I collect the stuff that can go in the freezer and we use it for months as small treats. I do find their desire to consume large amounts of candy fades after those first couple of days and they naturally loose interest in eating it every day.

    • See, that’s what I just assumed people would do (stop Trick or Treating when their kids had “enough” candy). Turns out I was quite wrong.

  19. […] I might hate Halloween that doesn’t mean I’m a complete party pooper. At the absolute last minute […]

  20. I grew up not doing Halloween because it is not part of traditional Jewish practice either. We gave out candy to trick or treaters but didn’t do it ourselves (but we were allowed to eat the candy). I managed to keep my kids away from Halloween for their first few years, but then realized I didn’t care that much about it either way (the commercialization of it has taken away most of the religious issues for me). So they go out, and eat lots of candy, but within a few days we just put all the candy away and dole it out more slowly for a few weeks of treats. I’m glad that the school they go to now doesn’t do anything though – now costume parades or anything like that, because many of the kids don’t do Halloween (lots of kids from other countries, Adventists, Muslims, etc) so for my kids now it just is about seeing the neighbors and getting candy. Decorating pumpkins fits well into the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and costumes are often used again for Purim.

  21. […] Yes, I hate Halloween. […]

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