Yesterday, I took our girls on a "nature walk" in our neighborhood to collect smooth rocks, colored flowers, and interesting sticks.
As we walked, we passed homes festively decorated for Halloween. Our 4-year-old suddenly pointed at an adjacent house and whispered in my direction, "Are they celebrating bad things?"
I thought about how to answer. "Every family celebrates holidays in different ways. In our family, we choose not to celebrate death and evil." She seemed satisfied by that response.
But I'm not sure I am satisfied with it.
It's a fine line - teaching children what is right, while simultaneously encouraging them to THINK for themselves and to love [instead of judge]. I know I don't get it right all of the time, falling off the line to one side or the other.
But how do you explain Halloween to a child? I want to tell them that it makes my heart ache to see dead bodies, murderers, and disfigured faces because these are not laughing matters. I say a little, but then I hold my tongue. I can only weigh down my 4-year-old's tender-heart so much. Sometimes I think she talks too much of death already (because we often discuss the grim realities of poverty and disease worldwide).
I didn't go trick-or-treating until I was in high school (my five siblings & I weren't allowed and now I sort of understand why).
We have taken our 4-year-old the past two years because we have good neighbors and it's convenient. When we took her for the first time at age 2, she would ask after each house, "Can we go to the next STORE?"
Although we do have happy memories from previous years, way-down-deep I don't really like trick-or-treating. The homes are adorned with skeletons, bloody faces, and gravestones. The costumes range from fun and fancy to downright frightening and often ridiculously immodest. The darkness is thick in the air and the end result of the night is mediocre candy that has been on grocery store shelves for months.
I see the fun in dressing up, but...I'd rather do something different on Oct. 31st.
We're a young family so we're still figuring out our traditions; making our own way. I'm hoping that you'll give me your ideas so that next year we'll have something new to do - something that is full of light and hope.
How do YOU explain Halloween to your child(ren)? What do you do on Oct. 31st? Do you go to a church festival? Hit the streets for trick-or-treating? Celebrate the oft-forgotten Reformation Day instead?
* Photos (top to bottom): pumpkin (2006), cheerleader (2008), little miss muffet (2009)
I have been struggling with this one. I still have some time to make decisions, as #1 is not due to arrive until March, and trick-or-treating would be silly next year with an infant who cannot eat solids. However, my hometown is the self-proclaimed "Halloween Capital of the World" and there are three separate parades celebrating this "holiday." Three. Parades. In fact, we had to plan our route to our 20 week prenatal appointment with some thought in order to avoid heavy parade traffic and detours. I absolutely abhor all things bloody, dark, and death-like, and want to shelter my children (and nieces and nephews and...) from such things. But I also enjoy the cutesy costumes. I agree, alternative ideas for celebrating fall and dressing up are needed!
This is a tough one. I love the dress-up aspect of Halloween for children, the fun & silliness of it all...yet I'm uncomfortable with the costumes that glorify death, evil, and fear. My son's only 2 1/2, and has early childhood caries that we're thankfully keeping under control right now, so collecting bags of candy isn't high on our to-do list. I've made him a costume each year, more for the photo op and for visits to the grandparents' and great-grandmother's houses, but we haven't trick-or-treated around our neighborhood.
My son went trick-or-treating back in July, at the campground my parents stay at every summer. My siblings and I pretty much grew up there -- we spent every summer there of my childhood, and their "Halloween in July" event is very child-friendly, so I'm incredibly comfortable taking part in that with my family.
I've been looking into seeing if my community or any neighboring towns have any childrens' events for Halloween -- some years the zoo does a costume day, which sounds like fun. It's a bit late this year, but I've been thinking about organizing some kind of costume event next October with my mother's group, and if it goes well making it an annual event. That way our children still get to participate in the child-friendly fun of Halloween, in a safe & comfortable environment.
I personally find Halloween to be a bit disturbing. For most of the reasons you mentioned, but mostly because it's a celebration of the dead, and it's roots are in witchcraft and all things I find dark and unholy.
We also were rarely allowed to trick or treat. I think a few times we were b/c my parents were still "figuring out" if they wanted us out on the dark streets collecting candy from strangers (another creepy thing about Halloween, in my opinion).
However, I LOVED costumes and dress up as a kid, and I feel that there is definitely a place for THAT! :) My husband and I have not done anything for Halloween since we've been married, we either stay home and hand out candy and feel weird about that, or we leave and just go somewhere.
Now that I have a baby, I have to start thinking of this. People are already asking what we're dressing our baby up as for Halloween. I just say, "Oh we don't celebrate Halloween." and then they look awkward and like I'm the bizarre one, and then we change the subject.
I think a good tradition though might be to plan to go for a hay ride, visit a farm, you know, some kind of seasonal harvest celebration - perhaps with constumes just for fun. And games. But not strangers. Or dead things. Or spiders.
There's a lot of pressure, isn't there? THE QUESTION of the month of October is "What are your kids going to be?" We've just gone along w/ it so far because...dressing up is fun. But I'd like to think of an alternative to the trick-or-treating part...
Stephanie, I agree that it is a difficult thing for a family to decide on, especially a young family. When my older ones were little, we were part of a church that had a harvest celebration with lots of activites and we attended that. Now, we are no longer part of that particular church and I have children of all ages. My younger children follow the lead of the older ones and don't feel like they are missing out on anything by not partaking in the usual Halloween things. My older ones are glad that we never did trick-or-treating. I think that the tough decisions you make now have greater benefits when your children are much older. They will appreciate you for it. They might not understand it at a young age, but you are there to guide them, using the wisdom God gives you.
Love this... We feel the same way and struggle with how to explain it to our children, and also remind them that just because others celebrate and participate in Halloween, it doesn't mean they are bad or don't believe in God. (Seems to be the first things that come out of their mouths when they see Halloween decorations on people's houses.)
We usually keep the lights out at home (to avoid trick-or-treaters) and have a family movie night. Or we go to our church if there is an activity going on there (doesn't happen every year). We have TONS of fund and my kids haven't felt like they're missing out! =)
Hm...I love Halloween. I get to dress my kids up in cute costumes, my favorite are the home made ones and we usually take them to a church halloween party or trick or treating at the local mall. There are many events around us and we might take them around the block to trick or treat but after a few houses they are usually done and we are okay with that. I don't see Halloween as a celebration of death and evil at all though, it used to have real meaning to some people but that is lost now and it has pretty much become a hallmark holiday that pretty much makes money for candy companies, kind of like Valentine's day. I think now it is just cutsie holiday for children to have fun with. If anything I would associate with maybe a harvest season celebration where kids can dress up and play games.
My husband and I were just talking about this! Neither of us really like Halloween for the reasons you stated. Plus, my dad's dad unexpectedly died of a heart attack in his sleep on Halloween night when my dad was just 10, and ever since I've known about that, Halloween has just plain given me the creeps.
We both trick-or-treated as kids, but that was the extent of our Halloween. As we got older, Halloween just felt like an excuse for people to drink way too much and wear way too little - not our idea of fun. Our son is almost 2, so Halloween blows over his head. We've thought about getting a cute costume at the consignment store and just taking him trick or treating to the neighbors we know. As he gets older, we'll take him to the zoo, which has a not-scary Halloween festival. It will be more of a struggle as he gets older and wonders what all the fuss is about.
We plan on going to church festival this year. Last year, we did not even do anything. I agree with you on those thick darkness, death, evil and such that is made priority on halloween. I find it hard to understand the motives behind it.
It's getting more difficult. We do NOT celebrate Halloween. However, I do have candy if kids come to our door and we do usually go to a harvest festival at a church that does not permit scary costumes to enter. The kids have a blast at the Harvest Festival. However, they still want to dress up and go trick or treating like the neighbor kids. I have been dealing with this for over 21 years now...and I still don't have a perfect answer.
i dress the kids up havnt had and scary costume requests yet, but my oldest is only 3. this year he wants to be a rocket ship so im in the process of building his costume and my daughter is going as a kitty! we do safe trick or treating in the square in our little town , where businesses pass out candy and there is face painting and pumpkin carving and fun carnival like activities. its also my husbands birthday so i usually leave the kids with a grandparent or aunt and then we go to eat, but this year my husband is off on a job so its just the kids and me, so we will probably come home and make caramel apples, popcorn balls and other treats. it should be fun i just love spending time as a family!!!
Halloween is great fun! It doesn't have to be celebrated in scary ways - at all! When we were kids my parents would take us to Halloween or Fall Festivals at local elementary schools or churches - there would be games and hay rides and jack-o-lanterns and treats galore! My sisters and I have sooo many fantastic memories from our childhood Halloween's - ESPECIALLY the dressing up part! SO fun!!
I grew up trick-or-treating (my mom even once dressed me up as the "cutest little witch she ever saw" and we were very devout Presbyterians). But in the 70s, we didn't have Goth teens, nor did we have many ghouls and cemeteries decorated on front lawns. It was a neighborhood thing, we knew our neighbors, and they made us cookies.
Now we take our kids to an autumn festival at a big Baptist church. There's candy, rides, even a small meal, cake walk, etc. Very wholesome. Then we take our 11 yo daughter trick-or-treating. I think we've successfully been "in" the culture, without being "of" it. We don't decorate or dress in anything remotely scary. As Christians I don't think we should in any celebrate death.
It's hard teaching a 4 yo about such things, but you'll have years of opportunity to instruct her that people in the world will participate in things without really thinking about it, or understanding it. It's our job as Christians to strive for understanding and wisdom, without judging the pagans around us, as I Cor. says. The world is full of spiritually dead people, and they will behave like dead people do. We shouldn't be surprised. But I expect that, in 20 or 25 years, Halloween will be much more difficult to participate in, for Christians. The cultural lines are being drawn with darker lines.
I've heard the Boy Scouts came up with trick-or-treating b/c Halloween used to be a really ugly, violent night when horrible things happened and children could not be safely outside. The old trick-or-treating traditions changed all that. I hope we aren't going back in the wrong direction.
Tim and I have talked about this a little bit. It isn't something we have to have totally figured out yet, since Darah is still so young. But as a person who always avoids scary movies and the like, I don't think our homes will ever be decorated with truly scary/bloody stuff to celebrate Halloween. With that said, I think Halloween does present a good opportunity to talk about cultural traditions throughout history (Halloween comes from a Gaelic tradition of sorts...I confess I'm not that educated on the specifics).
Additionally, the Dia de los Muertos is a holiday that we are interested in learning more about, and possibly even celebrating in our house. Children are curious about death, and it needs to be discussed and not pushed aside. To be able to do so in a way that is open and also quite celebratory has a certain appeal to me. But again, it is something I need to spend some more time thinking about!
The kids go out with dad every Halloween to pick out a pumpkin, we carve it, I roast the seeds, and the kids are a mess after! We all have fun!
I have always been supportive if the kids want to dress up. My oldest was an only child until he was 8, for this reason ( I believe) he is very big on imagination...and one of his favorite things to do has always been dress up. He loves dressing up...and not just on Halloween.
His favorite thing to do on Halloween is answer the door and pass out candy and check out everyones costume!!
We usually stay in and he passes the candy out, sometimes we take a stroll around our street. It's a lot of fun for all of us.
I agree with "no" on the scary costumes. I always try to encourage my son to be unique and try and "make" his costume. One of our favorite places to shop for costumes is thrift stores (our part in being a little green) to find something different.
As a recovering Catholic, it is so interesting to read all the posts here. I love Halloween, carving pumpkins, dressing up and visiting our neighbors. The neighborhood is alive with families out and about enjoying probably one of the last fall evenings before it gets too cold,. I never look at it as an evil holiday with evil connotations and it makes me sad when people do. I am glad that you are trying to raise your girls to make up their own minds about the holiday.
I'm personally too lazy to ever think of a creative costume which is why Ive never been a huge fan of the holiday....I know once we have kids it will be something we think about more....as I child i enjoyed trick or treating and grew up with no religious beliefs or background....i never associated evil with Halloween...but id like to say i was also blissfully naive.
We love Halloween. Not the gore filled parts, or the scandalous costumes some people wear. We love our traditions that surround it. We always have a pumpkin painting party with friends. this year we used pumpkins from our garden. We make pumpkin treats and drink hot pumpkin cider. We dress up in family themed costumes. Last year our daughter was a bee, I was the queen bee and David was the bee keeper. It is a fun time of family bonding for us.
We Trick or Treat because like you, we have great neighbors that we know. Our church also hosts a Trunk or Treat where the families each decorate their trunks and the kids get to Trick or Treat in the church parking lot, then have doughnuts and hot cocoa at the end.
You could simply host a Dress-Up party that day, and focus more on harvest and fun than the scary side of Halloween. If it was during the day, you could celebrate with your friends, and they would still be able to Trick or Treat in the evening if that is how their families like to celebrate.
You know, it's really great to read your post and the comments and see that I'm not the only one who doesn't really appreciate the holiday. Sometimes I feel like I'm all alone on my anti-Halloween island.
I've actually researched quite a lot about Halloween and the history and traditions and everything I find continues to link back to appeasing dead spirits and other darker traditions that have nothing to do with honoring God. Not only that, but (and I cringe to bring it up because people don't really understand *sigh*) I know a bit about satanic cults and Halloween is one of their biggest holidays and sacrifice days. Human sacrifice. My heart hurts when I think about dressing up my kids and sending them out to gather sweets and have a fun time when I know what I know. I see nothing redeeming about the holiday and we do nothing with it.
Halloween is family time at home for us. And as the kids get older, I think we'll be turning it into a time of prayer for our family and friends.
I definitely do not judge other people who choose to participate - we do what we can with the knowledge we have. I also don't spill all this on people when asked about celebrating Halloween; I don't think it's necessary to make others feel guilty. God convicts different people in different areas and who am I to judge what others do?
Perhaps I don't think about it deep enough - we just look at it as a way to spend time as a family and have fun with costumes. We usually go trick or treating for awhile and have fun looking at carved pumpkins. We don't really decorate (unless its with pumpkins).
I don't like it. It feels evil. When we go out, in the dark, with all these creepy houses, you literally feel this evil presence. The kids like dressing up, and getting candy, but I'm now at the point where I think this will be our last year. I only did trick or treating when I was tiny. My parents never let us and I didn't care. But then again I was homeschooled and wasn't around a bunch of kids that talked about their costumes and fun parties and things.
Just yesterday we went out and bought gords and pumpkins to decorate the porch. it's more about celebrating Fall and the season than celebrating Halloween. We will carve he pumpkins, with cute happy faces, and light them on Oct. 31st.
Yeah, I don't know, it's a sensitive subject.
I know exactly how you feel about Halloween - I don't like the "holiday" at all, but it is fun to dress up and what's so bad about going door to door and getting free candy? :) But, we usually don't do anything. Often we will have a "fall festival" in October at the church and the kids get bags of candy, we have fun, etc... then on the actual day of Halloween we'll usually gather at a friends house for food and games. I keep some candy at the house if we happen to be home and we pass it out - but I too am looking for a way to explain why we don't celebrate like all of our neighbors do, once the kids start asking - which I'm figuring Sugar will be doing next year.
We do not do anything. We tell the kids that the symbolism and tradition behind it are evil, and God would not want us to be taking part in them. They know that it is "yucky" and not something they want to be part of. Trick=or- treating included. To us, Oct 31 is just another day. Although since we live in town, we turn out the lights, close the curtains nice and tight and watch a fun movie together.
We've struggled with this too-how can we, as a Christian family, enjoy free candy and playing dress-up without partaking in the darker side which celebrates the occult and evil?
I read something really interesting today though where a professor explained that trick-or-treating stems from a medieval tradition of giving children treats in exchang for praying for the dead of the household (since the day after All Hallow's Eve is a Catholic holiday remembering those who have died in the past year.)
It made me wonder how it'd go to tell my kids (when they're older and I have more than 1!) about that tradition. And, how cool would it be to leave a note along the lines of "In keeping with the medieval tradition that inspired trick-or-treating, we'd like you to know that in exchange for your kind gift of candy, we'll be saying a prayer for you and your family, and especially for any of your relatives who may have passed away in the last year. Thank you for the candy and God bless. Happy Halloween!"
Kids could leave them at each house they trick-or-treat at, then when they get home, guide them in a prayer for all their neighbors whose houses they trick-or-treat at.
This is such an amazing idea! What a unique way to "fight" the darkness while still enjoying the fun, cultural, non-religious aspect of dressing up and eating candy.
I'm from a small town and we always dressed up in our old ballet costumes (yes, my brother was in ballet! ;) or in things my mom created with her old 70's clothes and face paint (clown anyone?).
Now our church has this great thing called Light the Night which is basically Trunk or Treat, but it's really huge. We will only dress up as fun things, this year my son is a knight and I just found the baby a dragon costume at Old Navy on sale.
I really don't think it matters whether you celebrate it or not because unfortunately they are going to see it all around. You can't go into any Walmart/Target/Box store without seeing it now. And our neighbors kindly have giant nasty decorations all over their house. So, the discussion will have to be had. :(
Oh man. This is a tough one for me. We do Halloween, after me fighting my husband about it for a few years. I grew up not trick or treating. My parents didn't do halloween at all. Our church didn't even do a festival that time of year because too many people didn't want any halloween association.
My husband grew up loving halloween. My family teases him all the time about it being his favorite holiday.
We do dress up, we do decorate (with creepy/cute things like spiders, bats, etc.), we pass out candy & we trick or treat. We live in a big trick or treating neighborhood & I like being involved & not just turning all the lights out.
I have a really hard time with the celebration of evil, though. My kids don't scare very easily. So, it doesn't really bother them. But, I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing....
I don't want them to think it is okay to laugh at death & evil.
I don't know what we'll do this year. For the first few years we didn't do anything like trick or treat or whatever because of Noah's special diet. But last year we did try trick or treating in our neighborhood. I am just on the fence. I was thinking about letting them dress up and pass out candy this year since they delight so much in giving and we always let them have a treat every now and then so they wouldn't be missing out. For many years we were the dark house on the street that didn't celebrate but I want to be a light and smile and welcome and be an inviting house from now on. So many kids come to our yard to play and I've never met their parents. This might be a good chance. Still thinking about it!
I love that your house is THE HOUSE on the street. I sense that from so many of your posts.
The costume on the last picture is ADORABLE!!!! we don't do Halloween for the same reason you have mention, so far our little girls haven't ask anything about it. This year our church are doing a Reformation day party and ask us to invite children that are not attending Church to share this with us, we will see how it goes!
I did not grow up trick or treating and we don't practice it now with our 8-yr old son. My parents were not religious but they didn't want their child going to strangers' homes in the dark and bringing home candy. I never felt like I was missing out either, when all my neighborhood friends went. Finally, when I was 15, I agreed to go. They made fun of, and played pranks on the older folks. I did not enjoy it and never went again.
Our pastor is preaching on 1 Corinthians 8, which has something to do with Christian liberty - as in living with your own conscience based on the Bible. So, I do not condemn my Christian friends who choose to do so, and I am in no position to judge people who do not have the same belief system as I. I have a friend who tells me to "lighten up," but I personally feel that it is not OK to "lighten up" about Death, which to a Christian is the Enemy, no matter how fun and pretty or cute this society makes it. I actually believe it is wrong to make sinful things appear acceptable.
Now, I cannot stomach Halloween, even if our church (same as Jo-Lynne's) asks us to consider using this time to interact with neighbors. Others don't feel comfortable going to a bar; I don't feel comfortable being in the Halloween setting. Besides, we interact with our neighbors throughout the year.
Even tho we are very low key about why we don't celebrate Halloween, our son is endlessly fascinated by it. It's just a non-negotiable for us. How will be handle it in the years to come? I frankly don't know, but I know this:
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet" and I will trust He will guide us.
I agree, there are too many dead bodies decorations. I posted about skeletons surrounding us yesterday - http://mybusychildren.com/skeletons-friends/
I have been wrestling with this same issue lately and just last night was asking my husband if maybe in future years we would go to a church festival instead. We are all about the dressing up thing but I have been fielding some of those same questions. What a great response you gave. It is a fine line to walk and not really a "holiday" I want to "celebrate." We sure do love fall though and enjoy the crisp air, pumpkins, etc. We will probably let our big girl go to a few houses this year because we know our neighbors and to get the experience but in the future... not sure....
Sorry- not much decisiveness to add- just wanted to let you know I am here. I do know a little something you all could do the day before ;)
Yeah, it's a tough one. We go trick or treating. I always did growing up, as did my husband. We don't wear gory costumes or immodest ones. I try to steer clear of gimicky costumes too, but not always successfully. (Last year one of my daughters went as Hannah Montana. UGH.) I kind of regret allowing that, but it did no harm, really, and this year both girls picked out lovely generic queen costumes (I love that they are queens, not princesses) at Cracker Barrel of all places (yes, the restaurant!)
My husband's mantra is, how can a holiday where you get free candy be a bad thing? LOL. That was before we went all freaky health conscious, though, and whereas I used to laugh and go along with that reasoning, now it bothers me to celebrate not only evil and gore but now also gluttony and cheap sugar. BLEH.
But we will. It is a big event in our neighborhood, and at the kids' schools. They have Halloween parades so they will be left out if they don't have costumes. I have justified the Halloween thing by saying that there are religious holidays and cultural holidays. This is strictly a cultural holiday, and we take part in the cultural aspects of it - dressing up, trick or treating, the fun stuff. And we eschew the gory, haunted houses and stuff.
My church actually encourages neighborhood trick or treating under the reasoning that it's a great opportunity to get out and get to know your neighbors. As Christians, we have a tendency to hole up in our Christian activities and never engage with our neighbors. In our neighborhood, this is not a problem, but in many neighborhoods it is. I rather agree with that line of reasoning. I guess it depends on each person's individual situation. In our case, we choose to participate. I see no harm, as it's all good friendly family fun in our neighborhood, and it's a great way to reconnect with some of our neighbors that we only see in the warmer months.
Wow, that was a book. Perhaps i should have just written my own post!
Costumes at Cracker Barrel? Who knew? I bet your daughters will be lovely (and - BONUS - I bet no one will have the same costume).
I agree that there's not a "right" way to celebrate (or not celebrate) the holiday. There are a lot of factors that contribute to each family's decision.
Growing up, Halloween was nothing more than a fun day to dress up and go trick-or-treating. I did not grow up learning anything about what the day was really commemorating at all - it was all about dressing up and getting as much candy as one could get. I think it is safe to say that since the age of 12 or so, I have never been a big Halloween person. I don't like the feel of it all and like you mentioned, the presence of so many dark and evil things. I don't recall ever being aware of those things in my childhood, however I am quite sensitive to them now and my almost 4 year old is too. She does NOT like going into stores that have Halloween decorations up. While I have never even told her that they are not nice to look at, etc. she is so sensitive to the 'darkness' and scariness of them. She often asks, "Why do stores have to put up such yucky things? I don't want to be around it."
It wasn't really until I had my own children that the idea of 'how to celebrate Halloween' even became an issue. Having a husband who did not grow up with it (being Austrian and all) and not ever caring much about it myself have led us down the road of downplaying the day. We have let Analise dress up the past three years and we have gone to costume parties at friends' houses, but we have yet to go out trick-or-treating. She doesn't need the candy (nor do I).
We are able to enjoy the day on a completely different level now. My son was born on October 31st almost TWO years ago (nine days past his due date)!! So, now, rather than focusing on Halloween we focus on him and his special birthday! Last year we had a dress up birthday party for him and this year we are actually having a party at the park for him a few days before - nothing related to Halloween. I don't want him to have to have a dress up party every year for the rest of his life. His day of birth is a much better thing to celebrate on the 31st as opposed to Halloween (which I don't consider a holiday).
We usually go bowling. Sometimes the kids dress up, but not always. We eat pizza and I usually bring a small bag of mixed candy as treats fo strikes and spares.
What a unique way to celebrate! I bet your kids look forward to that tradition every year. Thank you for contributing to this discussion.
We don't celebrate Halloween. I've always done something fun with the boys as they were growing up on that day. It is a day that weighs heavy on my heart b/c I also don't want to judge what others do. But for me, I just can't participate in that day.
But......I can see in my girls how badly they want to dress up and go trick or treating. So, this year, they bought with their own money, ballerina costumes at the thrift store and I am taking them to the Trunk or Treat that the lutheran chruch is putting on at Cienega High. I can already see how much joy it is bringing them. I'm glad that it is not held on Halloween.
I have told the kids that it is a real holiday that celebrates certain things that we don't believe in. I told them that others participate in the holiday that don't celebrate what it represents and that is fine for them. We, as a family, choose to opt out.
We don't really "do" Halloween either. So far we have only just dressed up and gone to our families homes. However, I often, like you, wonder why we are even doing it and deep down, I don't really love doing it. I sometimes more just feel the pressure from society and even our families to do it. It's something that as the years pass we will just pray about and see where God is leading us to go. But it is a difficult thing to decide to do and how to explain it to the girls as well.
My oldest doesn't really like candy, so we'll take him to one house and he's done. The scary houses he won't go near. Our "tradition" if you want to call it that, is dressing all the kids up and my sons like to give out candy at our house while they are dressed up. That way, I figure I only end up with a very small amount of candy left and my kids have fun. My two younger ones like candy, so I can see how this "tradition" could go by the waste side as they get older. They've never really asked about the "meaning" of Halloween...they just see it as a time to dress up and give out candy.
We dress up, but we don't associate with scary things. Princess is afraid of most costumes, and the Halloween aisle at Walmart freaks her out! So we keep it G-rated and NOT scary. We try to make it a fun and happy holiday. We do different things each year though. This year we're going to Chuck E. Cheese (where my husband works for his second job) for pizza after trick-or-treating in our cul-de-sac.