Traditions of Halloween


Long before there was a controversy about this holiday and long before concerns regarding safety – I celebrated Halloween. I can still remember the skeleton with moveable arms and legs that hung on the front door for so many years he finally lost most of his limbs. I remember the popcorn balls my mother made, not only because we enjoyed them, but because it was so much cheaper to make these delicious treats than buy candy. I remember the plastic masks with a thin, elastic string which kept it on your face. There were holes for your eyes and small holes at the nose supposedly created so you could breath. While my parents stayed home to hand out the popcorn balls, we four sisters moved from house to house until our pillowcases (we didn’t have the money to buy candy buckets) were heavy and laden with cavity producing goodies. When we arrived home, we dumped our sugary treasures on the floor and traded the items we didn’t care to eat.,

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With such delightful memories in my head, I decided to begin a yearly tradition of throwing a Halloween party for my grandchildren. I scoured the internet looking for fun ideas and set about making this a memorable occasion. While each year has a different theme with games and treasure hunts, my grandchildren insist we always bob for apples and make slime.

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They arrive in their costumes ready for supper and the sugar rush they’ll receive after consuming too many treats. Then we move on to games and candy hunts.

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Because Christmas is always right around the corner, I try to keep the cost down by using items I already have and of course I purchase everything else from a dollar store. Common children’s games are played using Halloween themes.


One year I created a pirate theme using things I already owned. I set up a “walk the plank” game and used a treasure box I had already created. Since my playroom had a set of Peter Pan figures, I hid the crocodile, set the kitchen timer (which ticks) and sent them on a search for the crocodile before the timer could go off. I made footprints out of black construction paper and designed a treasure hunt throughout the house with candy and clues along the way.

Pirate theme collage (1).jpg

Halloween really isn’t about the candy, the food or the decorations. It’s about building memories for those I love, just like my parents did for me – and that’s worth celebrating.

Karen Shaw1 Comment