Shake the cobwebs of halloween’s past. Forgo the prepackaged costumes and decorations and turn to the roots of the festival to discover a wealth of opportunity for creative family fun this Halloween season.
Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, refers to the eve of the celtic Samhain festival, which was adopted by the Catholic Church as the date for the All Saints Festival. It’s a celebration of feast, a feast which families invited their ancestors to. To symbolize the presence of the deceased, graves were decorated and ghost stories were told. In these times, peasants would don costumes and knock on the doors of lords or ladies – a tradition that has evolved into today’s Trick-Or-Treating.
This insight into the root of the festival can provide inspiration for families seeking greener, cleaner, fun this October 31st. When we conceive of Halloween as a community celebration, which honors ancestors and harvest, it becomes apparent that it is not a time for wasted resources or (excessive) sugar!
Based on these ideals, Halloween is best celebrated:
- In one’s own community,
- With good food and treats,
- As an opportunity to confront personal and cultural attitudes towards death,
- Through shared fun for children and inner children alike.
Once we shake the cobwebs of Halloween’s past – when we let go of store-bought costumes, excessively packaged disposable decorations, pillow cases full of the worst sorts of treats and driving to trick-or-treat outside of our community – it’s apparent that there is an incredible opportunity at Halloween to unleash your family’s creativity. This is a chance to play make believe with your kids. To discuss their fears, embrace them and tackle them. To create costumes and decorations. To enjoy treats together. To get to know your neighbors and build a sense of community. This is fun, it is thrifty and green.
Create Community in Your Neighborhood
By choosing to celebrate Halloween in your own community – either trick or treating on foot or attending a community festival – you are part of a shift from people who live in the same place, to community. Community is a foundation, a building block, for a sustainable future. Communities care about each other and make cooperative and individual decisions to better their communal existence, often through greener choices.
Good Food and Treats
Trick-or-treating is the primary conundrum for most eco-savy parents. While some families are giving up the trick-or-treat tradition entirely, most school aged children will be hard pressed to get on board with that tactic. Who can blame them? It’s a whole lot of fun to dress up in costumes and terrorize the neighborhood in exchange for loot! That said, minimizing the sugar content with alternative treats or offering your children a trade in for some of the loot – perhaps a choice toy or the like – can provide relief from the candy chaos. Trick Or Treating is a challenge in and of itself, so we’ve assembled Ten Trick Or Treat Solutions for Thrifty and Green Families! An All-Hallows-Eve meal can also be a fun tradition to incorporate into a family Halloween. Fill up those bellies with a harvest feast before sending them out to scavenge for treats. Corn on the cob, pumpkin soup in the shell and hearty stew are nice choices for healthy, kid-friendly, autumn meals.
Confront Cultural or Personal Attitudes Towards Death
Regardless of your cultural, religious or personal views about death – Halloween provides an opportunity to those who have passed, to discuss death with our children and to celebrate life. Consider incorporating a ritual to honour the dead into your All-Hallows- Eve meal. Spooky. Fun. Meaningful.
Shared Fun: Costumes and Decorations
Do it yourself costumes and decorations are as much fun to plan as they are to make! Skip the trip to the costume shop and instead, brainstorm with your kids to come up with costume and décor ideas. Search the internet for inspiration. Maintain a yes we can attitude. You will all have fun creating together and your kids will take considerable pride in a costume or decoration that they were part of making. Sewing or sawing is rarely required and when it is, skill is secondary to intent!Thrift stores stock huge inventories of used costumes leading up to Halloween. Whether for pieces for your do-it-yourself costume, for accessories or for a complete get up, hitting the thrift store with your family is an absolute Halloween must. Only at the thrift store can you try on such an array of costumes – making for an entertaining and laid-back shopping experience, that doubles as an afternoon of thrifty green fun.
Minimize Waste and Maximize Fun
Whatever you do this Halloween, do it with the intention of minimizing waste and maximizing fun. The two go hand in hand. When we make choices we can feel good about, we are free to enjoy the celebration to it’s fullest.