Our Family-Friendly Halloween

Halloween does not have to be scary.  It is a holiday that can be enjoyed without the presence of blood, gore, and over-the-top craziness.  Our family prefers simple traditions without being frightened.


Today was one filled with family memories.  We spent time together.  We had fun.  We ate too much sugar.

1. We carved our pumpkins.

pumpkin carving 1   pumpkin carving 2

Those huge pumpkins we received as gifts a couple weeks ago?  They made wonderful carving surfaces for jack-o-lanterns.  Todd and the girls spent several hours together working on their designs.

The end result was pretty cool.  Jocelyn wanted a “surprised” face.  Natalie opted for a face with a beard and mustache.  Abbie carved Stitch, from the Disney movie, wearing a witch’s hat.

Carving pumpkins is an experience our family enjoys every year.  Todd makes great memories with the kids while the jack-o-lanterns come to life.  It is always a fun chance for us to do something together.

2. We chose simple, but creative costumes.


I have sewn most of the girls’ Halloween costumes over the years.  This year’s choices did not involve any sewing for me.  I made one trip to the thrift store for Natalie.  Everything else was already in the house.

Natalie decided to be a cowgirl.  Her hat was a recent gift from her grandparents.  The belt buckle was one that Todd already owned.  The boots and shirt were purchased last week.  Everything else came out of her closet.

Jocelyn is a dancing bear wearing repurposed items.  Her bear suit was called a hamster costume when Natalie wore it several years ago.  The ballet tutu belonged to Abbie for a long ago dance show.  I put Jocelyn’s hair into buns on the top of her head (to look like ears) because the matching headband annoyed her.

In our house, anyone over the age of twelve does not wear a costume.  It is a matter of personal preference, not strong convictions.  Abbie did wear panda ears while she handed out candy to other kids from the neighborhood.

We really only have one rule in our family concerning costumes.  They have to be family-friendly.  Our kids have dressed up as animals, princesses, occupations, historical figures, and television characters.

3. We decided not to decorate.

We own very few Halloween decorations.  We prefer to not have scary stuff cluttering up our home and yard.  Some years we put out the decorations we do have.  Other years we do not.

This fall was very busy for us.  No one seemed very excited about decorating.  So we decided not to do it.  The pumpkins on our front step are the only real visible sign around here that Halloween is happening.

4.  We started a new tradition.


The restaurant, Sonic, sold their corn dogs for fifty cents each today.  Their slushies are always half price from 2-4 p.m.  Even our family struggles to pass up a deal that good.

We broke our own rule about eating out today.  For a whopping $5.91, our family of five enjoyed a snack out on the town.  Since we almost never eat out, Sonic was a pretty big treat.  We had a lot of fun.

5.  We carried on a tradition from the past.

walking wage
Sneaking my pay for walking with them

Todd and I have a terrible habit of stealing candy from the kids.  We try not to take the good stuff.  Really, we do.  But, it is just so tempting.

Maybe you have more willpower than us.  I certainly hope so.  Thieving candy from our children is not exactly a powerful example of family-friendly behavior.

Instead, we like to view this stolen candy as a commission earned.  We make costumes.  We wander aimlessly down streets in the dark while our children beg candy from all the neighbors.  We earn the right to secretly wolf down chocolate bars and licorice sticks late at night, out of sight.

We hope your day was filled with positive memories, fun, and traditions.  How do you create a family-friendly Halloween?