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Why would anyone want alternative Halloween ideas? Believe it or not, not everyone celebrates the holiday, though many have different reasons.
While there isn’t clear, historical evidence on whether Halloween’s origin really is pagan, the fact is it has become an over-commercialized excuse for witchcraft, gore, evil, and all-around creepiness to be flaunted.
Regardless if it started out that way or not, as a Christian, I can't get behind celebrating the holiday. Which is also why some people pick and choose to celebrate its seemingly innocent activities. That's fine. You do you!
As the sensitive soul I am and always have been, I just prefer to stay as far away from all the gray areas as possible. Basically, if it doesn’t line up with Philippians 4:8’s “whatever things are lovely and pure,” I don’t need it!
Whatever you “feed” on, or allow into your senses, has a lasting impact on your mind and heart. I don’t care how mentally strong you are, how resilient or unaffected you are. You can’t unsee something. It’s called “haunting” for a reason.
Whether fiction or reality, I can’t bear to watch people suffer. And no matter how lighthearted Hollywood may try to make it, the truth is there are practicing witches, devil worshippers, and possessed people in our modern world walking among us.
Again, we may not be able to entirely blame Halloween’s beginnings for the celebration of spooky things. Nonetheless, the streaming channels and store aisles and advertisements are dripping with horror this time of year.
So, what if you want to avoid the cultural norms but still have a good time with family celebrating the season in non-Halloween ways? Read on.
Instead of Trick-or-Treating Door-to-Door…
Due to the pandemic, many people feel uncomfortable attending Halloween parties or collecting candy at each house. All that touching, bleh.
But one thing is always reliable: spending time in nature is needful for the soul. Go for a nature foraging walk! Collect fallen leaves or pinecones to recycle into home décor. Better yet, pick up trash in your local park and nature areas.
If you have kids, turn your woodland stroll into a scavenger hunt to keep them intrigued. This $10 Find and Seek card deck minimizes the need to carry papers and pencils and is easily stored and reusable.
Likewise, take your own journal (this is a guided one) and practice some gratitude or observation writing exercises.
To meet your daily steps quota and creatively burn calories (per last week’s blog), challenge yourself on a blood pumping hike through the fall foliage.
If you are unable to get out into the forest, another alternative Halloween idea is a fall festival.
Pick out your own pumpkins, find your way through a corn maze, pick apples or peaches, feed farm animals, watch pig races, learn from a farm demonstration, jump on a hayride, and listen to live music all while supporting a small business.
Instead of Watching Scary Movies…
Fall in Phoenix is arguably the best time to get outdoors. Why not pull out some harvest-themed yard games to keep your kids or your guests preoccupied?
You can build your own corn hole set easily. But with the price of lumber the way it is, this complete set for $70 on Amazon is a pretty good bang for the buck.
Create a ring toss challenge by transforming orange cones ($16 for a 10 pack) to look like giant candy corn. Use large glow stick necklaces for the rings if you’ll be out after dark.
If you have a firepit, get cozy and roast up some s’mores or hot dogs together!
If you need more roasting sticks, these steel skewers come in an 8-pack for $13. Throw in some musical instruments to make campfire tunes, or have everyone share a funny joke to keep the mood lively.
Alternatively, if the weather is too frightful to hang outdoors, pull out the arts and crafts.
Depending on your kids’ age range or your own interests, you could make candles (this whole kit is $20), create yarn or fabric pumpkins, do a fall inspired cross stitch to display, make a pumpkin vase for floral arrangements, string together a leaf garland, follow a watercolor tutorial (get this beginner’s set for $20), arm-knit a chunky blanket, or DIY your own autumn wreaths.
The other day, I scavenged Michaels’ clearance shelves and scored 60% off fall florals. I guess that's one good thing about stores rushing in the Christmas season.
I used my 20% rewards coupon toward the metal hoop and walked away with enough faux foliage to create 2 if not 3 wreaths. I also had leftover feathers from when I added them to my wedding bouquet.
Although it took me longer than I anticipated – because I’m impatient and creatively challenged – I was really happy with how it turned out!
Instead of Jack-O-Lanterns…
For one, carving pumpkins is super messy and often means more work for the parents than the kids.
Secondly, most people who carve pumpkins turn them into spooky creatures and images, especially when the candlelight causes eerie shadows.
Pumpkin painting, on the other hand, is easier for kids and involves way less cleanup.
Whether you let your kids turn their pumpkins into an abstract piece or use stencils like these cute superhero designs, everyone gets to be creative and involved. Then, place them on the front porch to impress your neighborhood!
You could start a whole new family tradition, too. Although Thanksgiving isn’t for another month and a half, being thankful isn’t limited to one holiday.
Taking a large pumpkin and a permanent marker, write “Thankful for…” around the stem.
Every day, family members take turns adding what they are most grateful for. Read it aloud around the table when it’s completely covered in gratitude!
What About the Candy?!
No one said you can’t get your sugar rush.
But instead of freely passing it out and overloading your kids’ systems, you might be the type of parent who monitors candy intake and prefers rewarding your children with a piece for good behavior.
A candy scavenger hunt in your own home is a fun way to get everyone involved. That way, you still partake in the whole candy aspect of Halloween without the obsessive greediness and gluttony and sugar crashes.
If you combine it with a craft night, you could build your own paper mache pinata (colorful tissue paper found here) and take turns busting it up out back. Just don’t forget to actually stuff it with candy first.
Or, why not make your own candy? Buy some silicone candy molds (these ones are leaf-shaped), your favorite ingredients, and throw on an apron.
Parents can enjoy this alternative Halloween activity as an in-home date night. But it’s also a great way to incorporate hands-on learning for your kids in the kitchen.
The homemade candy possibilities are endless. From truffles, chocolate bark, and peanut butter cups to maple fudge, taffy, Jell-O gummy bears, and caramels, you and your kids or friends will enjoy the experience. Even better, you will know what ingredients you added and can make them as "healthy" as you wish.
Along the same lines, if candy doesn’t really curb your sweet tooth, pastries and baked goods will. Tis the season for apple cider donuts, pumpkin rolls, snickerdoodle cookies, and pies galore.
Your kids would love to help you roll dough, add ingredients, and taste test.
Make it a social service activity by boxing up your baked goods and delivering them to your neighbors, employees, or your kids’ teachers.
Final Thoughts on Alternative Halloween Ideas
...And that's how to have a wholesome load of fun this harvest season!
Like I said before, to each their own. I'm not here to tell you what not to do.
I just like sharing what I love most about fall in case anyone is looking for alternative Halloween ideas this year, for one reason or another.
However you celebrate, I hope you and yours enjoy all this season has to offer to its fullest! Seek blessings and beauty in all you do together.
Now I'll leave you with a few of my favorite scriptures about harvest:
Acts 14:17 - "Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”
2 Corinthians 9:10 - "He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness."
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 - "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;"
Galatians 6:9 - "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Psalm 85:12 - "Yes, the Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase."