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I won’t be taking my kids to beg strangers for candy this Halloween

Sarah Kovac

I’m not anti-Halloween. And this isn’t a matter of religion. I just think trick-or-treating is really bizarre and uncomfortable, all the while enforcing the “gimme” attitude I discourage in my kids. So I’m doing something different with my family this Halloween.

Call me the Halloween Grinch, but I really hate trick-or-treating. Begrudgingly, I have in the past allowed my mother and my husband to take our son out begging for candy, but I think this year we are done. It seems such a strange tradition to me. Why we would keep doing it? Walking around strangers’ homes, taking whatever sugar they want to throw at us, and then for weeks dealing with the wild behavior that so often accompanies bingeing on artificial colors and sweeteners. Yes, this year we are doing something different.

Letting strangers feed my kids whatever they want

Yeah, I’m one of those moms who get antsy about my kids having too much sugar, food dyes, etc. We eat our fair share of junk food, I admit it, but there’s something so wrong about heading out the door with the sole purpose of collecting as much candy as possible. Enough candy, in fact, to fill a bucket. And I know full well a bucket full of candy won’t bring joy to our house… it will cause my kids to get in trouble more, and it will cause them much disappointment when I won’t let them eat as much as they want at once. They get one evening of fun but a week of tears and frustration. My neighbors don’t care about my kids’ teeth or even my kids’ overall health… why would I let them choose what we eat for a week?

Teaching my kids to see people for only what they can get out of them

This is my major gripe with Halloween. All the rest of the year I’m trying to teach my kids about to be generous. To be patient. To work for the things they want. Trick-or-treating flies in the face of every virtue I hold dear. Yes, it’s fun for the grown-ups giving out candy, and yes, it’s okay to let others be generous with us sometimes. However, my kids don’t understand anything but their own perspective at this point, and their perspective is, “Gimme, gimme, gimme.” There has to be a better way to celebrate the holiday.

Why not re-think trick-or-treating?

I know that, for many, taking their children door-to-door on a candy hunt is a cherished tradition. That’s fine; it doesn’t bother me that you do it. But some, like me, aren’t fond of it and wish there was something different to do with the kids on Halloween. Well who’s to say we can’t come up with something different? Something (dare I say it?) better than trick-or-treating? Maybe we’ll have a party at our house. Maybe my kids will dress up and hand out candy at the door (taking some for themselves each time, but when the night is over, the candy is done). Maybe we’ll take the evening to carve pumpkins or eat pumpkin pie or have a game night or all of the above. We’re still working it out. But I see no reason to follow the crowd just because “it’s what we do,” when, frankly, I don’t like what we do.

Would you ever consider trying something new on Halloween?

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