When you have kids, there are all sorts of discussions about how to raise them. Will you be co-sleeping? Bottle or breast? As they grow, the questions change. When will you potty train? Homeschool or public or private? Can they attend sleep overs?
One thing that we talked about only briefly was whether or not we would celebrate Halloween. My husband’s family didn’t celebrate Halloween when he was young. In fact, in lieu of making him and his brothers feel left out for not dressing up or participating in parties and trick-or-treating, his parents packed them up and took them to DisneyWorld for a few days. And yes, I’d say I’d rather go to DisneyWorld than just go trick-or-treating down the block, but still.
We decided that if we approached Halloween the right way, our children wouldn’t be negatively affected by the holiday. Of course its origins aren’t exactly kid-friendly, but what the holiday has become is kid-friendly. If the focus is on fun, creative costumes, spending time with friends, choosing and decorating pumpkins, and eating candy, there is nothing wrong with that. If trick-or-treating is just a prankless way to show off costumes with friends, then we are headed in the right direction. We don’t need to focus on the scary things (especially the ones that aren’t even real) to enjoy our Halloween.
We have a few books we really like that are Halloween-themed. Little Owl’s Night, Five Little Pumpkins, and Room on the Broom (also a short cartoon you can find on Netflix!) are just a few of our favorites. Obviously, we also love “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!” and Curious George’s “A Halloween Boo Fest” is always a winner. Even when it isn’t Halloween, we like watching “The Nightmare Before Christmas” (also obviously at Christmas time), “Coraline” and “The Corpse Bride”. (This is the part where I confess my undying love for all things Tim Burton.) We can have honest and open talks about what’s real and not real, and how we don’t need to be scared of most things in movies and books (children’s books, at least). I don’t want my kids to miss out on the entertainment value of fun movies and the love of reading they already have by greatly limiting their exposure.
So this weekend, you will find us all dressed up, visiting our church’s trunk or treat event, and trick-or-treating in our neighborhood with friends. What do you do around this time with your kids? Are there other books or movies you love for this time of year?