We love Halloween as much as the next family, but it’s not a big celebration for us.
One, we don’t get many trick-or-treaters at our house. Blame it on the fact that the houses in our neighborhood are spaced fairly far apart and built on a hill, I guess. Collecting candy just isn’t an efficient operation on our street.
The first year we lived in our house, Husband and I sat at the end of our driveway, dressed up as a dragon and a witch, eagerly waiting with big bowls of chocolate and Skittles for kids that never came. When some elementary-aged neighbors arrived home from trick-or-treating with friends in another neighborhood, Husband shouted “WE HAVE CANDY!” in a desperate attempt to rid ourselves of all that candy so that we wouldn’t be tempted to indulge. The kids instantly doubled their candy haul.
Second, our daughter is only two, and she doesn’t eat candy yet or grasp how fun Halloween is. Sure, we dress her up and take her to visit a few of our immediate neighbors, but that’s the extent of our Halloween night fun. No way are we going to let her stay up late eating sugar.
So what’s a family tricked by a quiet neighborhood and a young child to do? Respond with treats! After that first year, we reset our Halloween expectations and started visiting our neighbors to hand out treats instead of waiting for our doorbell to ring. Kind of like the BOO-ing activity that has become popular in some neighborhoods. We buy and make treats to give our neighbors in the spirit of fun. This also gives us an excuse to catch up with friends we don’t often see as we all go about our daily lives.
I buy some treats –who doesn’t like a classic Snickers bar or Reese’s peanut butter cup? – but I also make some goodies, like these popcorn balls or this homemade fudge. Over time, we’ve discovered that some neighbors have special dietary needs such as low- or no-sugar treats, or that they simply prefer one kind of candy over another. Halloween treats are meant to be enjoyed, so I try to customize everyone’s assortment. I put each household’s treats in a festive bag or box, make sure everyone’s costumed and ready to walk that hill, and off we go to deliver them on Halloween night.
I’m hoping that once my daughter is old enough to understand trick-or-treating, she’ll want to help gather and make these treat bags. I want her to understand the importance of serving others, and doing something nice for others, even if it’s in connection with a night when it’s customary for kids to receive candy from neighbors and strangers for no reason other than they’ve shown up on their doorstep. Maybe she’ll get to know our neighbors in her own way, and find out which treats would really make their day – then treat them!
Halloween in this season of life isn’t the rowdy, rambunctious occasion it is for many families, but as our child grows and gets into it more each year, we know it will be soon. In the meantime, we enjoy delighting our neighbors and friends with all treats and no tricks!