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The Halloween Wonder Years

Sep 19, 2013

by Caleb Gardner

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

If fall truly is a time of year when reinvention is possible, no day is this more tangibly evident than on Halloween, that annual event for which tons of children literally re-imagine themselves as someone (or something) completely different. Halloween provides intrepid young minds with the opportunity to let their fantasies run wild in a way that would normally be frowned upon by adults. When else are kids given the freedom to dress however they’d like and run manically through the neighborhood, gobbling up candy from strangers? It’s like a childhood goldmine.

And it doesn’t last very long. The years between when a child recognizes the gift of Halloween for what it is and when he or she grows “too old” to trick or treat are few and fleeting. I remember the year I walked from house to house — dressed as a pretty awesome dragon, I might add — realizing I was older than all of the other children I saw in the neighborhood. I felt more like Godzilla, terrorizing the neighborhood kids and making all of the adults give me that grow up look. That realization is one of those dark markers of a childhood ending, similar to discovering that your mom is really the one eating the cookies left out for a certain jolly fat man.

Which is why it is bittersweet to watch Miles enter the age when he can begin to revel in the holiday. This year he’s going to be a fireman, which he’s very excited about, having spent the better part of the year with fire trucks as a favorite toy of choice. But next year he’ll begin choosing his own costume, and the transformative power of Halloween will be in full effect.

The question for us will be: How do we maximize the wonder and imaginative potential that Halloween provides for those few short years? As the holiday approaches, I’ve been giving it more thought, and I think there are two things we’ll want to focus on for Miles (and any subsequent children).

First, I want to extend Halloween to be more than just a day. I want to carve pumpkins, put up fun decorations, and get him thinking about what he wants to be early. Some families choose not to put much of a focus on extending Halloween’s magic, but why shouldn’t it be? Christmas gets the seasonal treatment — rightly deserved for its emphasis on selflessness and togetherness. But there’s something gloriously personal (and, let’s be honest, selfish) about choosing your own identity and eating tons of sweets that deserves to be celebrated in its own way.

Then I want to help Miles think outside the box for his costume. If he wants to be a character from his favorite television show, he of course will have the freedom to do so. But I think it’s so much more fun to come up with your own ideas for who you want to be. When I was a dragon, it was just because I loved dragons (geeky, I know). It was a homemade costume, one that was unique from every other kid on the block. Similarly, I want to encourage Miles to have fun coming up with his own ideas from his own imagination.

What are some of the crazy imaginative things that your kids do on Halloween?

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2 Featured Comments

  • MrsPsbreads

    MrsPsbreads said 5 years ago Featured

    I grew up in the Bible belt so Halloween wasn't celebrated for long when I was a child. I vaguely remember being able to dress up as a witch and trick or treat but I must have been small because the biggest memories I have are of Fall Fan Fair that my church put on. We weren't allowed to dress up as anything scary. It had to be Bible characters. I did get fond memories of that including winning first prize at the costume contest for being the good Samaritan woman. My mother always made our costumes. I still admire her ability to sew and craft. It is a talent that takes some folks years to master. Now as an adult I live in the country in Southeast Kansas. So when my daughter was born my husband and I had to get creative so she could trick or treat. I allow her to dress up as who ever she wants. This year she is going as spider man. My dreams of care bears and my little ponies went out the window a long time ago. She is probably the girliest tom boy you'll ever meet! We went to the Gardner pumpkin patch this year and let her pick out whatever pumpkin she wanted. I remember feeling so limited during Halloween when I was a child and therefore felt limited imaginatively. I want my daughter to remember the magic of Halloween as much as she will remember the greatest toy she ever received at Christmas.

  • sugarbirdnotions

    sugarbirdnotions said 5 years ago Featured

    When I was growing up, my mother celebrated every holiday to the fullest, and when I say every holiday...I had socks, t-shirts and buttons even for Ground Hog Day. Growing up surrounded by a zeal for anything worth celebrating has given me a mentality of always having something to look forward to and be excited about, one that I hope to pass on to our daughter. The first weekend of September this year our daughter was the one to ask if we could put out our Scare Crow and Fall decorations. We always make a day of trekking to the local pumpkin farm and have a tradition of roasting the pumpkin seeds together before Halloween weekend. Our daughter has had a word in her costume from the time she turned 3. That year she wanted to be a Hello Kitty Ballerina, the following year, she asked to be a Cockatoo, last year a Collie and this year a Cheetah. I have yet to say no to her creative genius when it comes to deciding upon a costume or what to carve on the pumpkins and we have a great time picking out fabrics together for her ideas. This year she's at a point where she has lots of her own friends in the neighborhood, so we're inviting trick or treaters to stop in for hot cider and homemade donuts and our daughter is planning all sorts of decorations. Construction paper bats and pumpkins galore...I guess the apples don't fall far from the tree after all! I'm sure if you instill the excitement of the holiday in your son now, he'll be sure to carry that with him long after he's "too old" to be out trick or treating with friends. Happy Halloween!

90 comments

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 5 years ago

    We love Halloween in our house! Its so much fun! We do all the traditional things like going pumpkin picking, decorating the house, carving and painting pumpkins, lots of Halloween themed baking, trick-or-treating, corn mazes, hay rides, and trunk-or-treating which we are doing tonight. We also go to the downtown Halloween parade which is the biggest in the country. I have gone as a little kid to watch, some years my mother put my sister and I in it for the costume competition (she always made the costumes), and my middle and high school years were spent marching in it as I was in band. We always had so much fun! Now its great to share it with my children!!!

  • LittleGreenRoom

    LittleGreenRoom said 5 years ago

    Halloween is my favorite holiday ! Our annual Halloween Party is the highlight for my family who look forward to the huge Halloween feast, games, costume contests and dance. I even decorate my northwoods Christmas tree with orange lights, cob webs, spiders, and caution tape as it is transformed into our Halloween tree until it is time to decorate it for Christmas. I think Halloween brings out our inner child and keeps us young. I know that my love for Halloween has been passed down to my son, nieces and nephews, and I look forward to seeing what traditions they carry on with their kids too!

  • LesleyWilsonArt

    LesleyWilsonArt said 5 years ago

    You're never too old to dress up and enjoy Halloween. I don't believe anyone is ever too old to celebrate a holiday or have fun. People scowl at older trick or treaters should be ashamed of themselves.

  • MootiDesigns

    MootiDesigns said 5 years ago

    Can't wait to see the kids in my neighborhood this year with their adorable, scary, unusual customes. Love Halloween!

  • iheartchelsyanne

    iheartchelsyanne said 5 years ago

    Before we had Riley girl (3) my husband and I never really did much for the actual holiday beside going to adult parties or bars dressed up. but the last two Halloweens we went crazy with decorating the house on the inside with black anise sented candles, bats, mices cob webbs etc. We dressed Riley up as Dolly Parton her first year. Those boobs were so funny on a toddler! my husband wears a massive Deadmau5 head that he made with eyes that light up and basically has a street party inviting kids to come up to get their loot. I might have said this before but it's trully amazing how much your life comes to life once you have kids!

  • siennaorlando

    siennaorlando said 5 years ago

    Hmm . . . what could we carve in the spring besides pumpkins? Strawberries? Fava beans? Well, at least we can always indulge in candy; I'll have to throw a bag of candy corn in the freezer until next April!

  • BrittneyWest

    BrittneyWest said 5 years ago

    So cute! Love this! "Let the beauty of what you love be what you do."--Rumi

  • tennyoceres

    tennyoceres said 5 years ago

    The Halloween magic doesn't really go away. It just changes. There's nothing like going door to door for candy in your best costume EVER as a little kid. Soon you become the big kid that scares the little kids for fun and profit. When you grow up from there you try to out zombie, out vampire, out scare your teenage friends. As an adult your costumes come full circle again. Except this time you get to see little kids faces light up when you give candy away.

  • jodyvanB

    jodyvanB said 5 years ago

    I grew up in an old victorian neighborhood. I can close my eyes and remember walking down the sidewalk I had travelled on every day and seeing the houses transformed by the magic of Halloween. You could smell burning pumpkin, hear the giggles and shrieks of other kids rushing by and the crunch of leaves beneath your feet. I remember my heart racing in anticipation of the next house. Would it be scary? What were they giving out? Who (or What) would answer the door. Part of the fun was getting home and answering your own door to the older trick-or-treaters who were allowed to stay up later and seeing the costumes. I have so many great memories of Halloween, from sights and sounds, to the costumes and decorations we wore and made with Mom and Dad. *sigh* I hope I can give my boys some memories of Halloween they can cherish as well.

  • MermaidontheMoon

    MermaidontheMoon said 5 years ago

    I like your blog, and you're right...what a fantastic excuse to choose your own identity! Even if it is just for one day. My son is going to dress up as his hero, Link, from the Legend of Zelda. It won't be a store-bought costume but something he put together himself, and one that he is so proud to wear. Every October we bake pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, put up our Halloween decoration, attend Halloween festivities, carve pumpkins, and we go trick-or-treating. Sometimes, I even use Oct. 31 as an excuse myself to wear something scary or beautiful...

  • posiesforlulu

    posiesforlulu said 5 years ago

    Love it! Great blog! Halloween forever!

  • Annathyst

    Annathyst said 5 years ago

    I always loved dressing up as a kid. My family never celebrated Halloween for religous reasons, but there were other occasions to dress up for. I would always try and make something new and different with what I had in my closet, rejecting the "store-bought" costumes with scorn. Now, I have the privilage of watching my younger sisters go through the same creative process, and even let them raid my closet. I agree that the creative journey a child goes through because of costumes is remarkable to witness

  • Colettesboutique

    Colettesboutique said 5 years ago

    Dressing up is always so fun, especially for the kids. It's also an opportunity to express one's creativity.

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 5 years ago

    My mom made all of my children's costumes when they were growing up based on their favorite character, personality or object at the time. Being handmade by Grandma made them special and difficult to part with. Now I'm waiting for them to come and get them out of my attic - please.

  • ChakarrJewelry

    ChakarrJewelry said 5 years ago

    Love Halloween!

  • ChakarrJewelry

    ChakarrJewelry said 5 years ago

    Halloween is the coolest time of the year

  • gildedhedgie

    gildedhedgie said 5 years ago

    I love Halloween! I remember how I used to choose my costumes from the patterns at the fabric store and my mother would sew and create the costume for me. I was always so proud of the fact that my mother would make my costume and that I got to wear it around all day. I hope that when I have kids some day that I can make their costumes and hopefully make them feel the same pride that I always felt on Halloween.

  • RossLab

    RossLab said 5 years ago

    Halloween is great but something we didn't really have in Italy when I was little. Carnival was the closest thing to it... with just fewer skulls and more confetti!

  • escapist6

    escapist6 said 5 years ago

    My family has always commented that they have never "known a kid who likes Halloween better than Christmas" and that's the complete truth. I love love love this holiday. Even on a unusual Pennsylvania chilly night in July you can hear me remarking " it smells like Halloween" I adore it with all of my senses. It's fun to reminisce about school parties, hayrides, and bobbing for apples! The reason why Etsy is so cool when it comes to Halloween is because of the homemade feel and how special it is.My parents would insist on putting together a costume at home every year, and sometimes we put it together just hours before trick or treating began. They would remark " why would you want a plastic store bought costume that will fall apart when we could transform you here?" I've gotten some really great and remarkable costumes when my parents put their heads together and would send me out as a Geisha, a bunch of grapes, and a hobo. Here's to the fun and joys that Halloween brings. Wishing everyone a super haunted holiday!

  • PiecefullyHome

    PiecefullyHome said 5 years ago

    this post is esp. poignant for me...my oldest has decided at 10 that he's too old to dress up for halloween. while my youngest is having his first real halloween where he knows he gets to get dressed up and have candy. yes those years in between are all too fleeting.

  • JamieDeLong

    JamieDeLong said 5 years ago

    An American tradition. I love Halloween, too. A time for chili, cornbread, pumpkin pie. Grandma and Grandpa coming to see this years goblins, saying 'Hi' to neighbors you haven't seen for awhile, admiring all the princesses and power rangers...eating as much candy as want to, because the pieces are so small...they don't have any calories, right?, photographs of "the pile of loot", tired kids that fall asleep before they hit the pillow, happy parents that enjoyed it as much as the kids. A grand ole time, for sure! Cheers to you on yours this Halloween 2011, I can't wait!!

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories said 5 years ago

    I will always treasure the memories of Halloween when I was just a kid. Running door to door in my apt building with friends and family. Just having fun and of course collecting candy along the way. It really was a wonderful time.

  • VoleedeMoineaux

    VoleedeMoineaux said 5 years ago

    Cute kid!

  • finefeatheredfinds

    finefeatheredfinds said 5 years ago

    Very true! My son is also going to be a superhero this Halloween. We are going to trick or treat and if we see any monsters on the way he is going to scare them away with his super powers! Happy Halloween!

  • acuriousbrood

    acuriousbrood said 5 years ago

    The good news is, that if it is a family love, the creepy joy of Halloween never ends. When the kids become too old to trick-or-treat they can still get dressed up and man the door. They become more skilled with knives, and have the ability and stamina to carve bigger toothier jacks. They can help you put the giant spiders on the roof!

  • Virtualdistortion

    Virtualdistortion said 5 years ago

    I feel like my childhood in this department was cut short.. I'm so happy that people in my generation that are having children really CARE about it, put so much thought and energy into the long term effects...... It's so inspirational :) Keep up the great work, young parents!

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 5 years ago

    Halloween is a fun celebration for sure, especially in the US. But please remember that to us "real" witches & pagans it's Samhain, a sacred religious festival. We don't mind all you folks dressing up for a laugh (I admit, we do it ourselves) but it has a much deeper meaning that kids should be told about.

  • TORYNOVACOUTURE

    TORYNOVACOUTURE said 5 years ago

    My little cousins pretty much walk around the house in costume for the week leading up to Halloween. Then again, they're always pretending to be someone else through out the year. It doesn't hurt to let your imagination roam once in a while as an adult, maybe put your musings to words in short stories?

  • 2groovy2rad

    2groovy2rad said 5 years ago

    I've raised 3 healthy happy boys who are now incredible men. They all took their imaginary creatures seriously. My middle son wore out 4 separate sets of Superman pajamas which he wore everywhere--we scoured thrift stores to find just the right yellow belt and blue boots. We played Superman games in which he would bolt over the back of the sofa and save me from attacking dinosaurs--for hours.. Then he moved onto Batman, and Ninja Turtles. His brothers became PowerRangers and Pokemen. With few Star Trek guys and pirates thrown in. I still have their costumes in a box. They are more precious to me than anything in the world. Once in a great while now I see a little Superman with a cape made from red towel at the grocery store. I give the mom a big smile. Keep the magic coming as long as you can! There is always time to be a grown up.

  • centcans

    centcans said 5 years ago

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  • FrillRide

    FrillRide said 5 years ago

    It was the best day of the year for my daughter. She always wanted to be something strange so we were committed to making a costume ourselves. Still today at 20 she dresses up and goes with other students in her small college town 'trick or treating' for canned food to take to the food bank. I think this is a great way of extending the fun of Halloween.

  • littleshopofphotos

    littleshopofphotos said 5 years ago

    Awesome perspective!! I totally agree! Halloween is the best!! Let's celebrate as long as possible...and hopefully bring a portion of that imagination and view into the rest of the year!

  • TwistedDesigns

    TwistedDesigns said 5 years ago

    My kids are going as a prince and a princess this year. I was amazed by the excitement on their faces last year as they went trick-or-treating for the first time. I remember my daughter had 6 pieces of candy and all evening after we got back home she kept counting them and saying how she had SO MUCH candy.

  • liluxe

    liluxe said 5 years ago

    You've said it so well.and why Halloween matters! Thank you!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 5 years ago

    So fun!

  • TheNightjar

    TheNightjar said 5 years ago

    oh Gosh, I remember being the oldest one Trick or Treating too- that was embarrassing, glad to hear that I was not the only one to spaz out and insist on just one more year. I agree Halloween should be more than one day but when kids get just a little bit older than your Miles Halloween does seem to extend more than one day- there always seems to be a party or two and then Halloween school parade, and neighborhood parade, haunted houses to visit and the pumpkin patch- all of these events fall on different days and give an opportunity to dress up. We took our twins to the Renaissance Faire this year and they dressed up there as knight/princess and that lit the fire to continue dressing up almost every day since ...I hope the costumes arent too messed up by the time the actual day of Halloween comes!

  • peshka

    peshka said 5 years ago

    So Cute!

  • AlisaDesign

    AlisaDesign said 5 years ago

    Cute picture!

  • KMalinka

    KMalinka said 5 years ago

    So cute boy!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    Ah I love Halloween, I wish we made more of it in the UK instead we just get a whitewash of Christmas between September and December. I think too many people miss out on the magic of Autumn!

  • sarahknight

    sarahknight said 5 years ago

    I don't have any kids, but (except for a few years in college where I didn't hand out candy) I never stopped celebrating Halloween. My costumes were all homemade. I was a bunny, a leopard, a fairy princess, a bag of M&Ms, and a roll of Lifesavers via my mother's sewing skills. When I made my first costume - I was madly in love with Cyndi Lauper - so I decided to reinvent her newspaper skirt and made my entire costume from newspapers... I was the grim reaper once... and every year since I guess I've been a witch - I have a robe with lizards sewn all over it and lizards and spiders that I put in my hair. It goes over well with the 10-year-old boys who trick or treat, maybe not so much with the little girls. A few years ago I sold out to the man and bought some fake pumpkins. One of them is carved as Jerry Garcia, the other one is Frank Zappa. Of course, most of the kids have no idea who these old dead rockers are, which is funny. I like looking at everyone's pumpkins though. So, for me Halloween is a time to wander around and marvel at the creativity and the season.

  • BlackArrowsForever

    BlackArrowsForever said 5 years ago

    I love this. Halloween is probably one of my most favorite days of the year and the weeks leading up to it are just as magical. When I was a child (and even still) I would start planning my costume for the following year the day after halloween. My mom still teases me about it to this day. I don't think I'll ever not dress up. Thanks for sharing :)

  • MrsPsbreads

    MrsPsbreads said 5 years ago Featured

    I grew up in the Bible belt so Halloween wasn't celebrated for long when I was a child. I vaguely remember being able to dress up as a witch and trick or treat but I must have been small because the biggest memories I have are of Fall Fan Fair that my church put on. We weren't allowed to dress up as anything scary. It had to be Bible characters. I did get fond memories of that including winning first prize at the costume contest for being the good Samaritan woman. My mother always made our costumes. I still admire her ability to sew and craft. It is a talent that takes some folks years to master. Now as an adult I live in the country in Southeast Kansas. So when my daughter was born my husband and I had to get creative so she could trick or treat. I allow her to dress up as who ever she wants. This year she is going as spider man. My dreams of care bears and my little ponies went out the window a long time ago. She is probably the girliest tom boy you'll ever meet! We went to the Gardner pumpkin patch this year and let her pick out whatever pumpkin she wanted. I remember feeling so limited during Halloween when I was a child and therefore felt limited imaginatively. I want my daughter to remember the magic of Halloween as much as she will remember the greatest toy she ever received at Christmas.

  • prillarguri1976

    prillarguri1976 said 5 years ago

    Our costumes this Halloween include: Viking 2yr old Evil Gnome 8yr old Bottle of Ketup 10yr old Phantom 13yr old Fire Bender 10 yr old Shrek papa Fiona mama I can't wait to see us all together, love this holiday. It is more then candy and masks, it is a very spiritual time for many. So Happy Halloween/Samhain to all.

  • PepperAudubon

    PepperAudubon said 5 years ago

    As the song says "Everyday is Halloween" . Loved it as a child and always have. For our daughter we have made it a big deal. Decorating, pumpkin patches, carving, trick-or-treating. Now at 4 and a half , she has been pouring over the ads changing her mind daily on what she will be and what mommy and daddy should be. We introduced her to the Munsters a few weeks ago and now daddy must be Herman, she will be Lily and I get to be the ugly duckling Marilyn. Happy Halloween!

  • sugarbirdnotions

    sugarbirdnotions said 5 years ago Featured

    When I was growing up, my mother celebrated every holiday to the fullest, and when I say every holiday...I had socks, t-shirts and buttons even for Ground Hog Day. Growing up surrounded by a zeal for anything worth celebrating has given me a mentality of always having something to look forward to and be excited about, one that I hope to pass on to our daughter. The first weekend of September this year our daughter was the one to ask if we could put out our Scare Crow and Fall decorations. We always make a day of trekking to the local pumpkin farm and have a tradition of roasting the pumpkin seeds together before Halloween weekend. Our daughter has had a word in her costume from the time she turned 3. That year she wanted to be a Hello Kitty Ballerina, the following year, she asked to be a Cockatoo, last year a Collie and this year a Cheetah. I have yet to say no to her creative genius when it comes to deciding upon a costume or what to carve on the pumpkins and we have a great time picking out fabrics together for her ideas. This year she's at a point where she has lots of her own friends in the neighborhood, so we're inviting trick or treaters to stop in for hot cider and homemade donuts and our daughter is planning all sorts of decorations. Construction paper bats and pumpkins galore...I guess the apples don't fall far from the tree after all! I'm sure if you instill the excitement of the holiday in your son now, he'll be sure to carry that with him long after he's "too old" to be out trick or treating with friends. Happy Halloween!

  • aiek

    aiek said 5 years ago

    Great post. I can remember going trick or treating in the neighborhood when I was younger and maybe a Halloween event with my Girl Scout Troop. This year my son is 3 and we've taken Halloween to a new level. This year I've made an extra effort to go to not one pumpkin patch but two. We walk around talk about the pumpkins and converse with others. We've also participated in Fall Harvest type events in our community and pull over to see the decorations and lawn ornaments on people yards - all which have been pretty cool experiences. It's funny because it never dawned on me through the whole process to ask him what he'd like to dress up as. I think I thought it would be like last year, I'd just pick out something. However, to my surprise when I did get around to asking him...he had an answer. I was amazed. Happy Halloween to everyone.

  • 2glassygirls

    2glassygirls said 5 years ago

    I have a five year old and this is the first year I couldn't make his costume, he wanted a store bought Harry Potter. I must say, It broke my heart a little.

  • IvoryClouds

    IvoryClouds said 5 years ago

    The neighborhood I grew up in is, oddly, the same I am living in now...as a matter of fact it is the same house. Growing up I had the luxury of having a wonderful godmother who could craft anything in the world (which is probably where I learned most of my skills)! She made me home-sewn witch, flapper, clown and she-devil costumes all the time. We all had such a wonderful imagination when we were kids and, even though most of our parents had very little money, we all had something homemade and at least somewhat original on. Due to the blight of the neighborhood and the fear of our parents we only got to trick-or-treat a few blocks, but we didn't care. We had fun. Now I see kids with absolutely no effort at all wearing black sweatsuits and plastic "Scream" movie masks pushing through the crowds of youngins' on Halloween night giving the city and the holiday a bad name. Most of them have bad attitudes to begin with and don't even say "trick-or-treat" or thank you; they just walk up, parent less mind you, with their pillow sacks open waiting for their free candy. Now, most of my neighbors block off their doors and porches so they don't have to deal with the ignorant youth and the kids and parents who just want to have fun are made to suffer. I wonder if this is just an urban dilemma or what but I feel bad for our soon-to-be-born son if this disregard for the holiday continues. I know things like political correctness and the suffering economy have contributed to the decline of the holiday, but instilling a little pride, creativity, and -heavens forbid - a bit of fun back into our kids can go a long way to making it fun again for everyone.

  • sevenvsxiao

    sevenvsxiao said 5 years ago

    Superman

  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 5 years ago

    Too cute!

  • calebgardner

    calebgardner said 5 years ago

    This is great, guys. Thanks for sharing. Since we're on the subject, just had to share this post by Jim from Sweet Juniper. He made an AWESOME costume for his son: http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2011/10/kid-rocketeer.html

  • Iknitoo

    Iknitoo said 5 years ago

    We moved a lot when I was growing up so going from house to house for Halloween meant new folks almost every year. Halloween is my favorite holiday so when we moved to Briarcliff Manor NY (aka Sleepy Hollow,home of Ichabod Crane) that particular Halloween is a premier event in my life. I was in eighth grade and took my younger brother and sister out that night dressed in whatever we could find in the moving boxes. To say that folks in that part of the country get into Halloween is an understatement. We were treated to the most bizarre (and sometimes downright frightning) theatrics you can imagine all made somewhat lighter by the food that was offered AND the candy to go home with. I was supposed to be the responsible one and believe me, I was shaking, My younger siblings enjoyed the whole outing to the max and came home ready to tell anyone they could find about their experience. We still talk about it and we are all of us over 50. My own children have always loved Halloween and they have seen some pretty good decorations thru the years. By the way, I continued Trick or Treating with girlfriends in highschool. Out here in California, everyone dresses up for Halloween...clerks, store owners, parents, kids, teachers, I mean EVERYONE. I love it...thanks Caleb for your always inspiring articles here on ETSY and your blog...have you considered writing a book???

  • NaturesTouchCrafts

    NaturesTouchCrafts said 5 years ago

    We grow our own pumpkins including giant pumpkins. Ours this year was 240lbs. Our kids help us plant and harvest them. Then we carve/decorate them together. I made my son's costume this year and he was so proud to wear it. He hugged me and said mom, you're the best. thank you for making my costume. I love it. It felt so good to make Halloween special and memorable for my kids. We go trick or treating with them and I have a wonderful time watching them have so much fun.

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage said 4 years ago

    We used to have high school kids in costume trick or treating. You don't outgrow the appeal of dressing up. My alleged offspring wanted to be the Wicked Witch of the West for his first remembered Halloween. So, I let him.

  • ParisCabinet

    JD Kohler from ParisCabinet said 4 years ago

    Kids? As an adult it is still fun. When my sons were growing up I and a neighbor decided to dress as witches and give out candy. When the kids saw these adult witches as a silhouette there was no way they were going to walk down the sidewalk for candy from us, we were too scary. We decided the only way to get rid of candy was to go out giving it away and we soon started doing reverse trick or treating and went door to door to greet parents. They loved it! The following year a movie camera greeted us and they commented, "We were hoping you would be back this year!" When I became a grandmother I decided to dress as a fun loving witch, not scary, I made an orange witch hat with a black rubber spider web and a spider dangled in front of my face. My full skirt was a pumpkin print and long gloves and leg warmers were bright green with glitter dots. My son and daughter-in-law just shook their heads and teased me and said what a geek I was. The next year, less teasing, the next year daughter-in-law said, "I want to be a witch too." Yeah for the mother-in-law!!! She designed an adorable witch costume that I made for her and every year it gets tweaked. Witch fashion success!

  • lmouer

    Lynsey from lmouer said 4 years ago

    Great post! When I was a little girl, my mother made all of my costumes -- a bird, witch, princess, butterfly. They were all made by hand! I think knowing that made me appreciate those memories more as I got older. And now, as an adult, I still try and make my costumes. There is nothing better then knowing you will be the only one at the party in your costume! Thank you for sharing!

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty said 4 years ago

    On its way...

  • agebo

    Ann Cosgrove from acbcDesign said 4 years ago

    What a lovely post! Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays - and I love the idea of working to extend the magic to more than just one day.

  • GracefullyGirly

    Kimberlee from GracefullyGirly said 4 years ago

    I'm a big kid at heart in many ways and have celebrated Halloween (and any other holiday I could eek out a decoration or reason to celebrate) for years. I decorated for Halloween looooong before having a child and had so much fun making everything from the food and drink to the decor for annual Halloween parties. I've had a "blood" bag tied up and a hygenic tube from the red punch up to the nearly empty bag. I've made all sorts of treats that range from gross kitty littler chocolate treats in crumbs in a -new- lined kitty litter box, to scary little fingers with slivered almond fingernails. Decor is always over the top; why not?!? I worried that my little one would be too scared so e toned it down when she was old enough to notice, but she's been amazingly good with the whole thing. Her favorite was a really scary haunted house where she kept wanting to stare at the moving caricatures who screeched when she moved. So ramped it up and she's had fun helping put up all the decorations and put out all the plastic mice and rats, spiders and webs, and skeletons galore for our annual Halloween festivities. She has already chosen her costume. We will both be La La Loopsy dolls that we are designing and making together. Well, she's 6 so I'm making most of it but her creativity is like mine - it just keeps building. It's been such a fun bonding experience for us. I could never dream of Halloween lasting just a single night! It's a month long (or more) celebration!!! We just put up the harvest-y decorations first and all the pumpkins (some white, some glittered) and then go wild with the "darker side" in Oct. My husband and I bonded over the fact that our favorite holiday is Halloween because it's the perfect excuse to be a kid and let the imagination run wild.

  • ShoeClipsOnly

    kathy johnson from ShoeClipsOnly said 4 years ago

    We love Halloween at our house! Our entryway and livingroom get transformed with goblins and all kinds of mannequins dressed up! Its a huge deal to the neighborhood kids and they love it! It takes about a month to get ready but well worth it!

  • carbaddict

    PHILO HOOKE from carbaddict said 4 years ago

    As a child Halloween was such an exciting night and the ONLY time as a group of six siblings we were allowed to eat candy. With our pillow cases in hand we would literally RUN from house to house on our side of town and stay out as late as possible until our stash weighed of small cannon balls. Most of "The Good Stuff" was gobbled up on the run as we knew the moment we arrived back home is would all be confiscated, then doled out to us a piece at a time on special occasions.

  • GeorgieGirlLLC

    D George from GeorgieGirlLLC said 4 years ago

    Love seeing all the little ones dressed up in their costumes! They are so cute!

  • BozenaWojtaszek

    Bozena Wojtaszek from BozenaWojtaszek said 4 years ago

    What an interesting reading! We don't have Halloween tradition in Poland (that's why we're a bit surprised by the amount of Halloween gadgets here, on Etsy - LOL), but almost every kinder party is a costume party. At kindergarten, at school (early years) or privately, at homes. So this part of creativity is present here too :) Anyway, it's good to learn about the importance of this holiday in US. Happy Halloween!

  • EvaKuno

    Eva Kuno from HandcraftedByEvaKuno said 4 years ago

    In Lithuania we never celebrated Halloween in a way the USA and West Europe did. We have All Saints Day - a very old tradition of ours. It is a very calm but somber day sacred to remember those who left our world. Families and friends visit cemeteries, tidy up graves and light up the candles. It is beautiful at night! Only perhaps 10 years ago we have started to have more fun but we are still learning how to make it as joyful as it is in other countries :)

  • Stargazer02

    Stargazer02 from LDesigns02 said 4 years ago

    I LOVE HALLOWEEN!

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld said 4 years ago

    For the first time, my son said that he might be too old for trick-or-treating. I share your feeling, Caleb, about that being a bittersweet moment. I'm hoping to convince my son to go out this year with his little sister. Meanwhile, we'll continue our Halloween traditions that lead up to the big night, including hanging up orange lights, putting out our decorations and carving incredibly elaborate pumpkins.

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat said 4 years ago

    Halloween is fun, there's no doubt about that, but please remember that for some of us it's a solemn(ish) religious festival we call Samhain. We don't begrudge anyone enjoying the day, or the season, but bear in mind that some of us are entitled to wear a pointy hat all the year round!

  • babyhatsshop

    BabyHatsandMore from BabyHatsShop said 4 years ago

    Awesome costume !

  • OurBrand

    Katy and Kyle from OurBrand said 4 years ago

    One of my favorite childhood memories is how my mom and dad got really into decorating for Halloween and Christmas. We would have the best time! We made all kinds of Halloween crafts to decorate the house with and that really set the mood for having all kinds of festive fun. My mom would take me to the fabric store and we would look through the Halloween books for costume inspiration.

  • callunamuse

    Heather from CallunaMuse said 4 years ago

    YES, love this! I remember Halloween so fondly because of the fun things that come along with it. The decorating, the pumpkin carving, the costumes. And as an adult, because I was able to have that growing up, I so enjoy and look forward to it now, every single year! It's so great to see new generations being introduced to the holiday's, and maybe starting their own traditions when they grow up!

  • SketchAway

    Suhita from SketchAway said 4 years ago

    I could use help with my 6 year old's costume idea. He wants to be a Thorny Dragon. This is a thorny dragon: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorny_dragon I can't sew, he's really particular about the spines and spikes and where they fall! :) I'm in BIG trouble, but it should be a fun project to figure out together. Last year he was a Filed Mouse and we managed to pull that one off :)

  • bethanylefebvre

    Bethany Lefebvre said 4 years ago

    The last year I went trick or treating was the year I graduated high school, and our costumes were more elaborate and inventive than most of the kids we saw I the neighbourhood. I was an Elizabethan lady in an emerald green brocade gown, trimmed in gold braiding. We also had Winnie the Pooh, Snow White, a corpse bride and Marie Antoinette. Most of the adults we encountered were thrilled by the effort we put in to everything, and those that thought we were too old to be out often asked us to sing something. Being a group from a performing arts high school, we were happy to take requests. My son, who is due in February, is going to be encouraged to be as creative as he wants for as long as he wants to be. If he wants to keep going out, more power to him. As long as he's in costume and not just doing it to scam free candy that is. And if he wants to go out dressed as Spider-Man in the middle of spring, he'll be allowed to do that too.

  • TheEnchantedSlipper

    J Breault from TheEnchantedSlipper said 4 years ago

    When you get too old to trick or treat, its time to throw Halloween Parties! Never stop reimagining yourself as something else. It keeps you young and playful. We all deserve that gift!

  • christyloren

    Christy from wallpost said 4 years ago

    Yay Halloween! My girls and I love the makeup, both scary and pretty.

  • Kam2012

    Kam from RiverGoddessBoutique said 4 years ago

    I don't have kids but I do remember my brother dressing up as a robot. A big cardboard box, lots of foil and oblong stickers for buttons.....best costume ever! : )

  • topvistama

    topvistama from KleponDesign said 4 years ago

    Well children should do the imagining tasks while they are still children because as they grow up, I think the world we live in right now requires them to have less imagination. Good work!

  • LazyTcrochet

    Tricia from LazyTcrochet said 4 years ago

    I'd love to see a pic of your dragon costume! I was looking at vintage Halloween photos and remembering how imaginative we had to be. Late 60's and into the 70's, we had Scooby Doo, the Adam's Family and the Munsters to influence our ideas, but not so much the commercialization and stuff to buy for it. My brother has always loved the holiday and his house is pretty much "decorated" year round.

  • aressa

    aressa from OriginalBridalHanger said 4 years ago

    I love Halloween. I used to decorate a lot for it....Haven't done so much, that past few years...Would love to do more this year, if possible....Nice post...

  • badcompany59

    Kim from JACKDTBos said 4 years ago

    This post is great. Reading some really made me think about how much fun I had with my kids during the years at Halloween. Halloween is always a fun time around our house, and until reading this, I didn't actually realize that this tradition was instilled in my son and daughter as well. Life takes over, and well you know......... The first year I did actually start with my kids on Halloween, they were older. I believe my son was 5-6 and my daughter was 3 or so. I went and bought a big pack of colored construction paper, and we drew all kinds of things. Bats, rats, spider, dinosaurs, cats & of course my little pony. They colored them if they wanted, outlined most in black, glued red eyes on some, and added white spider web on black paper. I still use those to this day to put on our windows. It was truly magical to see my children's imagination come alive. I've had always made my kids Halloween costumes. My kids knew that all they had to do was imagine, and I would find a way to put together the pattern to sew the costume. My granddaughter now plays with the costumes I made for my daughter. If you could have seen my granddaughters eyes when I drug out the bride dress out. Almost made me cry. All she could say was, Mimi did you make this for me?? I explained what it was, and that it was her mom's Halloween costume when she was 5. She plays in this dress at least once a week. Next year she will be big enough for the I dream of Genie costume, and after that Cat Woman. My grandson will have to wait another year or so for the Batman costume, then the Ninja costume, Grim Reaper.....on and on. Point to this is for the mom's out there, yes, you can buy costumes for your children, but.....those costumes will never last for 25 years packed away in a closet. It will touch your heart to see your grand kids play in those same costumes. I'm about to start on Spiderman and Superwoman costumes for my daughters kiddos. Superwoman with a tutu skirt. How fun is that (costume I saw at store, actually). My son is in Italy (Air Force), and his wife will make their kids costumes this year. When they were here last I made Dorothy, Tin Man and Scarecrow costumes for them. They were just the right age, and oh, how cute they were. It is special to me to know that when these costumes are packed away, and if they are kept up with, my great grand children will wear them as well. My dear grandmother was a amateur artist, and she would be so pleased to know that what she taught me and my brothers as children has been passed from generation to generation in our family.

  • dominna

    Katrina Dzerkale from Dominna said 4 years ago

    Im 23 and this is going to be my first Halloween - im super excited !

  • NirvanaRoad

    Lisa from NirvanaRoad said 4 years ago

    Halloween is such a fun event for everyone of all ages.

  • TheresasGourmet

    Theresa Ryales from TheresasGourmet said 4 years ago

    Fun time of year!

  • recycledwares

    Nerrissa W from RecycledWares said 4 years ago

    I'm all for starting Halloween early by decorating the house the beginning of October. Can't wait to start! Halloween has to be my favorite holiday because it is really the only holiday that we celebrate with people we don't even know. Walking down the street with other kids in costumes and knocking on doors of strangers. Oh yeah, the free candy is great as well.

  • mlezcano

    Mary Lezcano from BellaBboutique said 4 years ago

    I am all for letting the kids imaginations run wildly for this holiday. I notice as a teacher that kids have a tendency of dressing up by what's popular, and half the school winds up looking like variations of the same thing. I encourage my students to push the boundaries, be different, and choose something a little closer to home.

  • Plastidermy

    Chris Evans from Plastidermy said 4 years ago

    I was a sweet and innocent child, never really got into much mischief, followed the rules, got good grades etc. When Halloween came about, I took my opportunity and dressed as a devil! And I did this for three years straight. I acted out of character, got into trouble, did all the things I wasn't supposed to and it was was exactly what I needed, one day out of the year.

  • BePrettyBeBold

    Liz from BePrettyBeBold said 3 years ago

    Have always loved halloween and everything that comes with Fall. Apple picking, pumpkin farms, hay rides, hot apple cider, pumpkin muffins, chai tea, things that remind me this this beautiful season. Its so much fun. Adorable photo too!

  • NinaRaizel

    Nina from NinaRaizel said 3 years ago

    Great post! I remember the Halloween I went trick-or-treating as Paul McCartney from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. I was 10 or 11 and completely obsessed with the Beatles. None of the other kids understood who I was, but all the parents loved my costume!

  • blancacondeminas

    Blanca Condeminas from BlancaCondeminas said 3 years ago

    Hola desde Barcelona!! Me encanta este bloc sobre Halloween. Es original y está muy bien pensado. Hasta pronto!!!

  • sarahalsey

    Sarah Alsey from papervalentines said 3 years ago

    our kids are young and we're sticking to animals until they are able to make their own decisions. lions, and tigers, and bears... oh my!

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