But now Halloween is about decorations and lights, months of build-up, party after party...trick-or-treating in town, all other activities cancelled for the night...at first I thought it was something new here in Chicago, but I'm realizing that it's all over.
My first year here, I arrived at my son's daycare at about 4:30pm on Halloween. The daycare was open daily til 6pm, and my son was usually one of the first picked up at 4:30ish. On this day, he was one of the last 2 kids left...at 4:30pm. When I asked what was going on, the teachers told me that most of the parents took off work early to pick up their kids early to take them trick-or-treating. Just a few weeks earlier, on Erev Yom Kippur, the holiest Jewish holiday, when the center closed at 3pm, almost all the kids were still there at 3pm and the teachers told me that many were actually late on that day. ?????
So all this rant is leading to my issue....how to make Halloween as low-key as possible in our house. Not to mention my personal concerns about Halloween as a pagan holiday with values that don't necessarily coincide with my own, is also the need to not let something like this become overwhelming to my family.
Here's my recipe for a "low key" Halloween:
- No decorations. We spend a lot of time and energy on Sukkot (see here and here) and this is our fall decorating fun. Some years the two holidays coincide. Some not. Either way, I will continue to stand firm on this one!
- Pumpkin carving can be a fun fall activity, sometimes we try to do it for Sukkot or even after Halloween for Thanksgiving. This year I carved a flower! But I resist and resist. I try really hard to get out of it.
- I don't make a big deal about the costumes. We often recycle last winter's Purim costume or spend just a little bit of time talking or buying it. We have a little stash of dress-up stuff anyway, so we can pick and choose if we want...This year my son earned all the money himself for his costume since he wanted to spend far more than I wanted to spend.
- We eat a normal dinner, and trick-or-treat only on our own cul-de-sac. That's enough for me! (Plus it's cold and gets dark early, thankfully)
- We look over the candy, eat a piece or two, and then give all the rest to the kids at children's hospital.
- We're not giving out candy this year, ourselves, we're giving out bouncy balls.
- I think this is the year to introduce the UNICEF boxes to my son.
- When it's over, it's over! I can't wait.
Does anyone out there feel that Halloween has changed over the years and become more overwhelming?
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