And now that I’ve shared that “Nightmare Before Christmas” earworm (you’re welcome!) here are some pictures from my Halloween – including a rare photo of me. (Hint: I am not a Power Ranger.)

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Being a Halloween fan, I hear a lot of negative “interesting” comments about Halloween. As a nod to the recent elections, I will now share my responses to those comments in Argument/Rebuttal format:

Argument: Halloween has gotten too commercial.
Yes. Yes, it has. Although, I admit, I prefer that to Halloween disappearing completely and all the focus being on Christmas. (Since the stores put up Christmas stuff in August, that may still happen!) But you don’t have to buy lots of stuff to have fun on Halloween. Especially if you like to make stuff – there are oodles of fun decorations you can make. And jack-o-lanterns are good, cheap, non-commercial fun!

Argument: No one comes to my neighborhood for Halloween.
Rebuttal: This is truly a bummer. I’m fortunate to live in a neighborhood where LOTS of people go trick-or-treating; we get about 200 people at our house. I LOVE standing outside and watching hoards of people in costume trick-or-treating, parents with little kids, big kids in groups experiencing the freedom of running around the neighborhood at night. Everyone is happy and chatty and saying ”thank you” and “have fun” and “Happy Halloween!” I wish our neighborhood was like this all the time; I don’t even know or see most of my neighbors and I’ve lived in the same house for over a decade.

Aside from the fact that we live on a busy street, I think the main reason we have so many trick-or-treaters is that we decorate. And our neighbor up the street REALLY decorates! He transforms the front of his house into a graveyard and his porch into a séance room – at a level that rivals Disney’s Haunted Mansion. Several other people on our street make it clear that they are open for business for Halloween – with jack-o-lanterns, etc. It’s lovely.
My advice:

  • If you decorate (even if it’s just a jack-o-lantern) and turn your porch light on, they will come.
  • Be as generous as you can with your candy.  The huge bags of candy at Costco are a good deal. You can donate the leftovers to shelters. (They give it to children that come stay with them.) If you’re generous, news will spread quickly through the Halloween-candy-underground-news-network. (As in kids yelling down the street “I got a ton of candy at that house!” Works every time.)
  • Greet every trick-or-treater. I always answer the door with “HAPPY HALLOWEEN!” As I put candy in their bag, I greet them by name (as in “Hi Batman!” because for this night – they ARE Batman – even if they are under 3 feet tall. Actually, especially if they are under 3 feet tall) or comment on their costume, if I can’t figure out what they are.
  • Dress up yourself – it’s fun! The little kids especially love it and will often comment on your costume, even if they were initially feeling shy about going to the door. (One year, I dressed as a Genie and a little 3 yo butterfly came to my door. After she got her candy I heard her say enthusiastically  “Mom! A REAL Genie lives there!” Yes, little butterfly. Yes, she does. At least on Halloween night.)
  • Carve a jack-o-lantern and put it on your porch. There are AMAZING patterns out there now and a many of them are easy and free. The big kids often comment on my jack-o-lanterns and I think that’s why mine are never smashed. (Although, handfuls of candy probably help, too.)
  • Get your neighbors to join you. Some neighborhoods meet in groups at various houses down the street, hangout in the garage (with the garage door open) and have wine and treats while passing candy out. Fun!

If you do these things, word will spread that you have the Halloween spirit, your heart will grow by three-sizes that day and over time trick-or-treaters will appear.

Argument: These kids are not from my neighborhood; people are driving them here just to go trick-or-treating! Some of them aren’t wearing costumes!

Rebuttal:  So what?
Maybe no one gives out candy in their neighborhood. Maybe their neighborhood isn’t safe. Maybe they don’t have money to buy candy and treats during the year. Maybe they don’t have money to buy costumes. Are they being nice? (You don’t have to give candy to people who aren’t nice. Although, I’ve never had a problem with this.) Are they having fun? Good! That’s what Halloween is about. I wish I could solve the world’s problems by giving out candy from my front porch at night. But until then, at least I can at least make one night a little happier once a year.

So… give out your candy, enjoy the “HAPPY” in Halloween, be glad you have a neighborhood that’s safe enough to trick-or-treat in. When the candy’s gone, put a nice note on your door, take in your jack-o-lanterns, and turn out the porch light. (And make a note to yourself buy extra candy next year!) Then watch “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” – it’s a Happy Halloween classic!

And now my question for you… what are your favorite memories/traditions from Halloween?