How To Have A Not-So-Scary Halloween
Halloween used to be filled with all kinds of community gatherings and fun events. Children could freely go from house to house and gleefully collect as much candy as their greedy hearts desired. Mom and Dad got to stay home and distribute candy as they didn’t have to worry about their kids being on the street alone. All of that has changed now. Knocking on someone’s door can be dangerous, and a parent is almost required to go out with their children. Fear of children being kidnapped, abused, or even poisoned is at the top of many parents’ lists on Halloween.
In the old days, things weren’t quite like that. Did you know that kids would build bonfires off of stuff they “stole” from neighbors, and they would dance around the fire? They played tricks on their neighbors. They didn’t say Tricks or Treats; they just played tricks, dressed in costumes, and had a marvelous time doing it. All of this is old Halloween.
Now, our Halloweens are filled with rules to keep kids safe from predators. Counseling centers are set up on college campuses for students upset by someone’s costume choice. Our society seems to get traumatized a little too quickly.
But there are still fun ways to spend Halloween. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, and you don’t have to put a costume on to enjoy a good Halloween.
Let’s first talk about some of the fun ways people are trying to keep the old traditions alive. Trunk or Treats is a new idea and is working quite well. Churches and other groups find a large parking lot, and people come and open their trunks where all the treats are kept. Some folks will elaborately decorate their cars for this event, and most organizations have other games and snack foods that are available for the children free of charge. The kids bring their Halloween bags to the parking lot and go from car to car, picking up treats at each vehicle. There are some large parking lots out there, so a kid can go home with a good amount of candy. It’s safe because every car that participates is registered ahead of time by the organization. No one can show up and give out treats. It’s an excellent way for kids to get their candy and a good way for parents to get to know the churches and service organizations in their area.
Another staple at churches are Harvest Parties. Churches mostly host Harvest Parties and are inside. There are games and food and other things to do. Harvest Parties aren’t new; they are centuries old. It was the adults that would attend, all bringing something from the bounty of their harvests. This was when the USA was mainly a farming country before the Industrial Revolution. Now, Harvest Parties are for kids and are a safe place to go on Halloween.
Trick or Treating in the mall has become a thing, though it may be fading a bit now. Kids went from store to store gathering up goodies. If you have kids and like shopping, you know all about this. It’s also completely safe. If this interests you, call your local mall and see if they still participate.
For those of us who are adults and want to enjoy Halloween. But costumes and parties have become a distant memory; there are still ways to enjoy Halloween.
Food, this is a good place to start. Pick up a few Reese’s pumpkins and whatever other candy you enjoyed as a kid. Don’t overindulge, but enjoy the memories the flavors bring back. Cooking a special meal for Halloween is also a fun thing to do. There are recipes for Butterbeer and Pumpkin Juice you can find online, and The Food Network always has many a meal thought out for the holiday. Find something that will bring chills to you and your loved ones.
I found a recipe recently that is delicious and easy to make;
1 !5 OZ CAN OF PUMPKIN (NOT PIE FILLING)
1 12 OZ CAN EVAPORATED MILK
1 LARGE PACKAGE JELLO PUDDING
1 TEASPOON PUMPKIN PIE SPICE
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Immediately pour 4 dessert bowls and chill.
This is truly a simple recipe and tastes just like pumpkin pie with no crust. Also, there are some great health benefits to eating pumpkin right out of the can.
And don’t miss the quiet Halloween things you can do yourself or with a loved one. Classic Halloween short stories can be read. Stories like The Legend of Sleepy Hallow and The Canterville Ghost are basic short reads that can be done in an hour and leave you a little spooked. If you want to spend a longer reading time, Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde come to mind. There are always books of classic ghost stories at your library if you want something you haven’t read.
Then there are the movies. There are plenty of films to watch around Halloween, and some of them are terrifying, but if that’s now your cup of tea, here are some suggestions for some more pleasant scares. The Uninvited from 1944, an old English seaside house, is haunted and needs to be investigated. The Halloween Tree is an animated film based on the book by Ray Bradbury and is the story of some children who need to go back through time to discover the history of Halloween and save their best friend’s soul. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir is the story of a widow who rents a seaside cottage only to find it is haunted by a sea captain who wants the house for himself.
Disney has a plethora of Halloween films on Disney+. From cartoon shorts starring Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck to full-length movies like Hocus Pocus and Halloween Town.
There is, however, one Disney film not found on Disney+ but is available to watch on YouTube or to purchase online as a Blu-Ray offering from The Disney Movie Club. That movie is The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh. This film originally ran on Walt Disney’s The Wonderful World of Color in 1964 is the story of a pastor on the coast of England during the reign of King George III. It seems King George laid just as heavy a tax load on the people of England as he laid on the American colonies. In order to help his poor parish, the pastor, Doctor Syn, dons the costume of a scarecrow and at night, smuggles goods in from other countries to help alleviate the tax burden on his congregation. No one knows who is under that mask. If he is found out, it would be certain death, but The Scarecrow rides through the night with an eerie laugh that will keep pursuers at bay.
If you watch this film on YouTube, it comes in many forms; look for the two-hour and 30 minute version. This runs all three episodes back-to-back but also has the original introductions done by Walt Disney himself. It is a treat to see Walt in his element.
There are other films as well. The Original Dracula and Frankenstein, The newer Mummy movies with Brendan Frasier. The Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings are great Halloween fare. If ghosts are more your thing, you can choose the Casper movie from 1995 or indulge in the Casper Cartoons, which includes Wendy The Good Witch.
I hope I inspired you with some ideas on a not-so-scary Halloween. Whatever you do, have fun and watch out for things that go bump in the night.