When I first moved to England in 2002, very few people did Halloween. You were lucky to find a pumpkin to buy, the only trick-or-treaters where 16 year old boys with hoodies, scream masks and a worrying look in their eye of egging your house. Most folks had little ‘No Halloween posters’ on their windows and doors letting everyone know they were not giving candy out and spent the evening with lights out and curtains drawn.
I used to have to create a Halloween experience for my oldest two when they were young by taking them around a number of friends and family who had been prepared beforehand with sweets. Over the years Halloween, like all consumer-driving celebrations from America, has grown more mainstream and is celebrated by families and schools. This may be a good or bad thing depending on your view. We see it as a way of spending time as both a family and a community.
As a family with 5 kids ranging from age 13 to 6 weeks old, we have tried to create traditions over the years that will grow with our kids so they won’t get too old to take part. When our oldest was 8 we started, our now favorite, Halloween tradition of a Spooky Scavenger Hunt around our village, fields and woods behind our house. This has grown into somewhat of a local community tradition with our neighbors and kids friends and their parents from school, church and sports teams taking part every year. The kids have to find a number of clues and riddles that we have hidden around the village and then follow a trail of glow sticks through the woods that will end the walk with a stash of treats and sweets for all. The whole time being scared by my husband and a number of our friends dressed up as zombies and hiding along the way.
The great thing about this tradition is that it is a community and has been nice to get to know parents and locals that we maybe hadn’t been able to meet. The parents scare more than the kids half the time. We make a whole evening of it by having our friends that help us scare around and one of my friends does all the Zombie makeup in the kitchen. We order in pizzas (which is a massive treat for our kids) and after everyone is ‘de-zombied’, we all have hot chocolate, cake and a movie night.
One of the best things about this tradition is that it has grown with our kids. When our older son was too big for the hunt he then dressed up like a zombie with his friends and his dad and graduated into a ‘scarer’. They love it and we know they are safe. Everyone has a great time no matter the age and we are able to spend the evening together as a family and a local community.
No matter what your plans this Halloween, have a cracking time!