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To trick-or-treat...or not

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Halloween alternatives if you don't want to trick-or-treat

For one reason or another, many parents are searching for alternatives to typical Halloween activities this year. Some object to scary costumes and trick-or-treating for religious reasons, others out of concern for safety, the well-being of young children or excessive candy consumption. Wherever you stand, there are plenty of options available to help parents create festive memories for their kids this season.

If you think it's impossible to resist the tide of Halloween, think again. Here are some viable Halloween alternatives that will keep the kids engaged and entertained.

Fall festivals

Rather than focus on the actual day of Halloween, try focusing on the fall season. Kelly Douglass, a former pre-K teacher from Pittsburgh, PA, says, "Avoid the whole spooky monster mentality and concentrate on the bounty of the fall harvest." This could include a trip to the pumpkin patch or an orchard, pumpkin bowling, scavenger hunts or apple tasting. Many churches offer fall festival celebrations that provide kids a safe environment full of games, activities and treats.

Costume party

Sometimes the costumes can be the most traumatic part of Halloween, but it's tough to convince your kids to resist the urge to dress up, especially if they are in school. Jill Rigby Garner, author of Raising Respectful Children in a Disrespectful World and founder of Manners of the Heart says, "Rather than Halloween costumes, ask children to dress up as the grownup they would like to be!" You can design an entire party around this theme, encouraging kids to identify role models and use their imaginations.

Celebrate around the table

Families regularly gather around the table to celebrate holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, so try introducing family time to the night of Halloween. "Stick to simple, homely food such as soup, homemade bread, sweet potato chips with dips, pumpkin muffins and hot apple juice with a touch of cinnamon," suggests Rachelle Strauss, otherwise known as Mrs. Green from The Little Green Blog. "Also, let the kids eat like grown ups from a properly set table by candlelight." Not only will you build family memories, but you may also create a tradition that their own kids will someday enjoy.

A new perspective

Halloween is typically all about the kids and their complete indulgence of all things candy. Offer a new perspective by giving kids an opportunity to give to others. Rather than collect candy for themselves, create goody bags for people in need. "How wonderful for children to take Halloween as a time to make treat bags for children in their local hospitals," says Garner. "They could fill lunch sacks with trinkets, toys, and candy, along with a note of encouragement and self-addressed, stamped stationary."

Healthier Halloween ideas:

Halloween candy alternatives
A more healthful Halloween
Gluten-free Halloween recipes

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