The black and yellow wings tugged at my shoulders and the tights scratched my legs. Little bits of sugar clung to my chin as I peered behind my grandma passing out candy to the neighbor kids.
We were passing out candy and in my preschool mind, Costumes + Candy = Best.Day.Ever.
But except for the one time I helped my grandparents pass out candy, my family didn’t really *do* Halloween.
Most years we avoided the issue altogether by hiding in the basement, and other years we had a fun family night at the indoor amusement park. One year we attended a “harvest festival” put on by a local church and I discovered that Pentecostals are a lot of fun. True story.
As a teenager my friends weren’t terribly interested in trick-or-treating (although we were known to go Christmas carolling in mid-summer…) and as a young adult I helped out with my church’s “spookless Halloween alternative”.
Then I started working at my current church, and in my first year, I ran a “Noah’s ark party” on the evening of the 31st. It was a total bust…a whopping 6 kids showed up.
That night, I discovered that there are Christians that trick-or-treat, and I was flabbergasted.
It was possible to be a Christian AND trick-or-treat!
This was mind-boggling for my Halloween-avoidance mindset.
After chatting with many lovely Christian folks from my congregation who loved (LOVED) trick-or-treating and reading several articles about how trick-or-treating is a great way to meet neighbours and show community spirit, I figured, LET’S DO IT!
So every year my husband and I blithely go on our way with our decorated children. Of course, we always have to pick a costume that will fit over a winter coat, because we practically live in the North Pole. And off we tromp to go “meet our neighbours.”
Except the drawback of living on the Canadian prairies is that Halloween is in winter.
In my neighbourhood, the kids go up to the door and do their thing while the parents stand shivering behind them, hands shoved deep into pockets and ears tucked into collars against the cold.
Over the past several years I have had a total of 2 conversations with another family – one of which was at a house that had a pig as a pet (so cool), and another was a family we already knew.
So…apparently trick-or-treating is not actually a great way to meet the neighbours (at least not in my neighbourhood).
It doesn’t help that most people open the door to their home, toss out some candy, say “oh how cute!” and shut the door so fast that not a single molecule of warm air can escape into the frosty night.
So this year, I’m trying something new. Oh yes, my kids are still going trick-or-treating with their dad. But this time, instead of going with them, I’m going to dress up in a costume, drag my glider out on the deck along with about 2 dozen blankets, fill up a thermos of hot chocolate, and sit there to greet families with a hot drink for everyone.
Frankly, I have no idea how it will go. Maybe people will think I spiked the hot chocolate and will refuse it, or maybe it’ll be a hit. At the very least, I hope it will be a conversation starter amongst neighbours!
Either way, that’s where I’ll be this Halloween.
Come say hi, and take a cup of hot chocolate for the road! I promise to make sure it’s extra warm.
UPDATE: we’re approaching year 3 of this! Here’s a picture from year 1, in which I dressed as an old granny and snuggled in my rocking chair to keep warm. In year 2 I used a heater. ?
Want to do this too? Here’s what you need:
- Paper cups with lids (I try to avoid styrofoam. The environment and all that…)
- A crockpot
- A ladle
- Chocolate syrup (you don’t want to use the powdered stuff in this quantity. Trust me.)
- A costume
- If you live in the tundra like I do: a way to keep warm!