The Positive Side of Halloween

I absolutely love fall. It is my favorite time of year partly because it is so beautiful here in Rochester, but also because I enjoy eating all the fall goodies, like pumpkin bread and apples. We’ve already been to Yates’ Cider Mill several times! I love watching the trees change color and collecting leaves with my son, Ayrton. His birthday is just before Halloween and we have so much fun celebrating that day with him. I also know that with fall comes the beginning of the holiday season, which I really treasure.

Ayrton trick-or-treating in downtown Rochester last year.

The first holiday to come is filled with the most controversy — Halloween, which will be celebrated on October 31st with candy, trick-or-treating, costumes, or total avoidance. It just depends on how you view Halloween. Personally, I kind of like it. Do I like the origins of Halloween? No, of course not. I’m sure know this but just in case I’ll give some brief historical notes: All Hallows Eve was the origination of Halloween where ancient people made sacrifices to pagan gods. They also felt that the dead could return to earth. Since then it has morphed into people dressing up in costumes and begging for candy. It definitely has a negative side, with the creepy beginnings and superstition and the ghosts and devils associated with it. The overload of candy and junk food is another big negative. There are positive points to Halloween though. Not only does Halloween renew my faith (crazy, huh?) but also it provides ample opportunities for amazing discussions with my son. You can also send out positive messages with your Halloween goodies! So read on before you think I’m illogical for liking this part of fall!

Faith and Folklore

Halloween renews my sense of faith because it is a huge reminder that I don’t have to fear death. I don’t need to worry about the afterlife because I’ve chosen to put my faith in God. Don’t get me wrong, I do have fears, but death just isn’t one of them. I know that when I’m done here that I’ll meet my Savior and nothing else will matter. My favorite television show is FRIENDS. One of my favorite parts is when Ross and Phoebe are discussing tombstones and what they would like each of theirs to say. Phoebe says, “Mine’s gonna say, Phoebe Buffay, Buried Alive.” Honestly, that’s kind of how I feel. Well, not kind of. That’s exactly how I feel! My life on earth will have ended but my new life will have begun. With all the tombstones and decaying bodies displayed, doesn’t it make you think about what comes after this life?

The devil is at work in our society and he is real. He isn’t that little creepy guy with the red face bearing a pitchfork. He’s so much more than that and I think he looks different to everyone. I used to watch a Christian video when I was a kid and one part in it showed the devil hiding behind a rock watching his victim. He had a scary green face and strange voice. My grandma would always say, “The devil doesn’t look like that. The devil is beautiful.” I never could understand what she meant by that. I thought it was a weird thing to say but now, as an adult, I have come to understand that is such a true statement. The devil is beautiful. He’s jealousy. He’s the ambition that’s destroying families and lives. He’s overindulging our children. He’s drug and alcohol abuse. He’s vanity. He knows exactly how to appeal to our society and each one of us, in different forms so that we make bad, dangerous, selfish choices. We all have that ticking inside us that propels our search for the meaning of life. We all have that missing piece that wants to be filled.

The conversations I get to have with my son are amazing! Halloween has sparked some of the most interesting question and answer sessions we’ve ever had. We discuss pretend versus real, junk food versus healthy food, as well as strangers and their potential dangers. Discussing pretend and real things with Ayrton has been valuable for both of us. We talk about the costumes and decorations and how they make us feel. It’s a good opportunity to discuss different feelings, which is a harder topic to approach with boys, in general. I help him to understand that appearances can be deceiving and it’s important to thoroughly examine our fears so we can approach them in the best manner. Often when we’re afraid we overreact and make a poor decision, instead of calmly thinking through everything. It’s okay to be afraid of something but it’s more important to understand why that particular thing affects us that way. Sometimes our fears are rational but sometimes they are irrational. It’s important to take a closer look. I showed Ayrton right away that the ghost at the store is just a round piece of plastic with white flowy material over it. At first he was scared to get close but then once he understood there wasn’t anything to be afraid of then he was fine. Simply just saying, “Oh, it’s just pretend,” really isn’t enough. It was necessary for me to take his fear seriously, address it and then explain it to him. Sometimes we have to revisit this conversation depending on different decorations we see. But that’s okay because repetition is an important part of learning for young children.

A Positively Good Time

My favorite thing to do during Halloween time is to send positive messages. I can invite others to my church or just simply be friendly while kids are trick-or-treating. We usually try to hand out our church’s information along with the candy we pass out. I love the tradition of getting “Boo-ed!” If your neighborhood doesn’t do this then you should start it! You leave a basket or bag of goodies on a neighbor’s porch. Sneak up at night, knock on the door and then run away. It’s so fun! Once you’ve been “boo-ed” then you hang a little sign on your door stating that you’ve already received the goodies so that everyone gets to join in the fun. You don’t have to drop off candy. You can bake a healthy snack, take a good book or crayons for kids. What a fun surprise! If you’re against the candy there are also healthy treat alternatives that you could hand out on trick-or-treat night. Kids would be pretty excited about little bags of trail mix, Goldfish, pretzels or even stickers.

There are several children’s books that deal with the topics of Halloween as well as fear. My favorite is The Berenstain Bears Trick-or-Treat by Stan and Jan Berenstain. I love this one because it deals with fear, playing tricks, being mean and the fact that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover. Another Berenstain book is Ghost of the Forest. This one deals with ghosts and fear. It’s very good and on a lower reading level so it isn’t as long as Trick-or-Treat. Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley is good as well. Children love reading along to help build the monster and then take him apart. You can use any of these books to show a child that just because something looks scary doesn’t necessarily mean that it is.

You can always put a positive, educational spin on anything and Halloween is at the top of my list. I don’t agree with parts of it, but it sure is fun to see the community come together and do something that is fun for the kids. If you don’t like the idea of trick-or-treat here are a few events that offer a very similar alternative:

1.  Rochester Play: Halloween Monster Mash, Friday, Oct 26 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. 248.650.7529

2.  St. Andrew Catholic Church: Halloween Party, Saturday, Oct 27 at 1:00 p.m. 248.651.7486

3.  Rochester Church of Christ: Trunk-or-Treat, Saturday, Oct 27 at 6:00 p.m. 248.651.1933

4.  First Congregational Church: Trunk-or-Treat, Sunday, Oct 28 at 11:00 a.m. 248.651.6225

5.  St. Mary of the Hill’s: Trunk-or-Treat, Sunday, Oct 28 at 6:00 p.m. 248.853.7989

6.  Turning Point Apostolic Ministries: Trunk-or-Treat, Wednesday, Oct 31 248.266.6638

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at Meghan@rochestermedia.com

Comments

  1. Joni Sherrell says:

    cool

  2. Joni Sherrell says:

    love your story

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