When I was a little girl, the memories surrounding Halloween involved my Maw Maw, unique costumes, lots of candy, and a feeling of love. We would go to my grandparent’s house early in the morning and spend the entire day there awaiting the dusk. My brothers would spend the day playing in the front yard or climbing the lychee and mountain apple trees to pick fruit for my Maw Maw. I would be found either watching Japanese movies with my Paw Paw (who watched them with Japanese subtitles), or I would be sitting on the bridge of the Koi Pond in my Maw Maw’s orchid garden. Every once in awhile I would see her short stature pop up out of the orchid stalks. That bridge was always my favorite place to sit and daydream!
As dusk approached, the excitement my brothers and I felt began to grow. It often came with a “settle down” from my dad or a “leave your sister alone” from my Maw Maw. Occasionally, my Paw Paw would get scolded from my Maw Maw because she would catch him telling my brother Rocky to pick on me so I would yell at him. Once dinner was put up and the kitchen was cleaned…usually by my brothers because I would sneak off and hide in my Maw Maw’s sewing room…we would begin the Halloween transformation!
Once we were dressed in our costumes, my Maw Maw would hand us our trick or treat bags that already had a handful of candy in it. My Maw Maw never gave us a bag, wallet, purse, or trick or treat bag without something in it. Sending us out with bags that already had candy in it was her way of wishing us luck and good fortune. My Japanese grandmother believed this with all her heart. And as my brothers and I returned after several hours of knocking on every door in the neighborhood, my Maw Maw’s lucky handful of candy worked! We scored big time! We would sit in the middle of my grandparent’s living room with all the adults standing around us, laughing and grabbing a few of their favorite goodies from our loot.
Several years after I gave my life to Christ, I started questioning if Christians should celebrate Halloween. Halloween seemed to be surrounded by ghoulish things, witches, spells, and all things spooky! It was based off a tradition that believed this was the time of the year when the veil between this world and the “Otherworld” were the thinnest…meaning the spirits of the dead were ready to mingle with the living. From what I was reading in my bible, Christians were to have nothing to do with fear, darkness, death, and anything evil. (Eph. 5:7-15; Duet. 18: 10-12; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:21-22; Romans 13:12; Eph. 5:15-16).
My conviction grew that year in 1995, and for the 1st time in my life, I didn’t celebrate Halloween. I called my Maw Maw and told her of my conviction. I knew many of my family members didn’t understand the changes that were happening in me. I was teased terribly for being a “holy roller” or “Jesus Freak”. The weight of this decision was one that would break a lifetime of tradition. However, it gave me the opportunity to build new traditions with my own children and to teach them biblical truths.
By sharing my story, I am in no way trying to tell you that Christian’s shouldn’t “celebrate” Halloween. However, I do believe that Christians can take part in activities surrounding this festival in ways that avoid the trappings that go along with Halloween. I also believe that Halloween can be used as a conversation starter with our children and loved ones about the wonderful spiritual life we should live and walk by in His Spirit!
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5 Things to Do as an Alternative to Halloween…
Remember how I said that I built new traditions with my children instead of celebrating Halloween? Well, I want to share with you a few things I would do with my kids to make the evening fun and give them something to share the next day at school while everyone talked about their tricks or treats! I was never one to do the same activities each year, so this gave my kids a sense of anticipation during this time! I think these 5 ideas will give you a starting point to begin your own traditions! Have you done any of these with your children during Halloween? Let me know in the comments below!
1. Stay in Game Night
Our family loved playing games, whether it was on a gaming system or a board game. We would head to Wal-Mart, have the four kids pick out one new game they wanted to play, then we would stock up on ‘gaming goodies’! Chips, cola, and “Halloween” candy! We often would order Chinese take-out too!
2. Attend a Fall Festival
Many churches around town will host fall festivals as an alternative for those who don’t celebrate Halloween. Some churches had “trunk or treat” and other churches went all out with a carnival style festival! We’d dress up in our flannels and jeans and enjoy apple cider, kettle corn, and a cozy hayride!
3. Stay in Movie Night
This was a given! Who doesn’t love hunkering down snuggled up to your little ones eating popcorn and your favorite candy while watching a movie? Of course, this was in the blockbuster days, so the kids really enjoyed taking a trip to pick a flick! We would often get 2 or 3 movies and make it a marathon night! Now, it’s easier for us to stream all the newest movies right there from our devices! Here’s a few my recent favorite kid movies: Pinocchio (with Tom Hanks), the Bad Guys, Turning Red, Encanto, Super Pets, and Minions the Rise of Gru.
4. Pass out Treats to the Neighbors
Instead of taking the kids trick or treating, bake goodies for them to share with the neighborhood! I’ve always loved to bake so this was more fun for me than my kids! 😂 Who wouldn’t want to receive fresh, warm chocolate chip cookies!? Passing out treats was a fun way to show the kids the power of giving! Of course, once we got home, I’d put the cookie dough I set aside for them in the oven while they showered and put on their jammies! We’d sit at the dinner table eating cookies and milk talking about our night.
5. Have a Scavenger Hunt and Bon Fire
This one will take a bit of thought to plan out, but it’s well worth it! Watching the kids trying to figure out the mystery clues that will lead them to their “treasure” was always a hoot! You can make the scavenger hunt as easy or as difficult as you want. Once the children find their treasure (a bag of their favorite candy, a new CD, a new purse, etc.), then we’d have a bon fire to roast hotdogs and have smores!
I hope these ideas spark creative ways for you to start new traditions with your own children!
If you hold similar convictions as mine surrounding Halloween, you know those convictions not only hold true to the activities we take part in. That conviction spills over into the items we make during the month of October. If you’re looking for some ideas on what to crochet this month, I want to introduce you to several designers who I absolutely love to follow on Instagram and love their designs!
(Disclaimer: Not all of these designers hold the same conviction I do concerning Halloween. However, all have agreed to be featured on this blog.)
Designers to Get to Know…
Ali Fiber Arts: Ali is a trained biologist by day and a knit and crochet enthusiast by night! He taught himself how to knit and crochet while attending graduate school as a meditative hobby. His hobby soon turned into a passion or “addiction” as many of us have experienced! Ali now designs scientific motifs for the fiber world to make!
I had the privilege of pattern testing and editing his Phage Beanie pattern and if you love cable work, this pattern is a fun (and really quick) make! It gives me ‘Stranger Things’ vibes!
Bags by Bento: Taylor went from corporate America to hometown crochet after being let go from her job. The pandemic had done a number on her mental health, like it had for many of us. However, Taylor has a form of OCD that causes a compulsion to pick at her skin. Her therapist had suggested working with her hands to relieve anxiety and to fulfill that compulsion. Taylor thought she would try her hand at crochet, and it was love at first stitch! Now she designs crochet patterns and tutorials on YT!
Taylor has a free Rug Pattern for those of you who are looking to decorate for this fall!
Karen Whooley Designs: Karen has been crocheting since she was 7 years old. Her Nonna taught her the skill and the passion for crochet has grown since. Karen designs a wide range of patterns and is the author of over 23 books! Karen is a Catholic and unapologetically loves the Lord. One of her favorite holidays is All Hallows Eve. She designed a beautiful shawl that reflects this holiday. You can also find many of Karen’s free crochet patterns here!
Hearth.and.Wool: Rachel is a wife and mama to four. She started crocheting when she was pregnant with her first baby over 10 years ago, and she hasn’t stopped since. She is, first and foremost, a homemaker and homeschooler who loves Jesus. She started designing back in 2019 and fell in love with it. She creates pieces that you’ll love to make for you, your home, and the people you love. These Harvest Ear Warmers are the perfect pattern for this cool weather!
I Crochet So Hard: Lisa loves designing practical and pretty crochet patterns. She learned to crochet in her Girl Scout troop when she was 10. She crocheted off and on growing up always designing her own item because she didn’t know how to read a pattern. It wasn’t until the pandemic lockdown that she was able to spend more time in the craft and learning to read patterns! She published her first pattern in late summer of 2021 and says that being a part of a creative process has been life-giving for her and a lot of fun! You can find some of her other free patterns here!
Kist Crochet: Christiana is a new designer to the scene, and she just released her 1st crochet pattern! She learned to crochet as a little girl from her great grandmother. Her passion for crochet has grown and it’s her favorite hobby! When she’s not crocheting, you can find her collection eggs from her chickens on her small farm. Christiana is also a single mom who adores her daughter. They spend many evenings playing ball with their husky, Aries! She’s looking to growing her crochet community, so let’s show her how incredible this crochet community is!
Five21crafts: Caitlin is a wife and young mom who is working hard at the hustle! She sells her handmade items as well as a few crochet patterns! If you’re wanting to make some fun items to hand out to the girls in the neighborhood, this headband is the perfect make! If you’re wanting to skip fall altogether and start on Christmas deco, check out her Farmhouse Holiday Tree Set Pattern!
Poema Studio: Brook is a wife to her best friend and mama of two little ones. She has been a “maker” for as long as she can remember. She learned to crochet about 16 years ago. Last year, when she made a bonnet for her daughter, it rekindled her love for crochet, and she decided it was time to open a handmade shop! She stepped into the maker community as a pattern tester and now a pattern designer! Pattern writing has been such an incredible experience for her, and she treasures connecting with so many kindred spirits surrounding this craft.
Posting these patterns are making me want to get into my yarn stash! Which pattern would you want to make first?