As we all know, I’m a big old scrooge who shudders at anything fun like Halloween, cow’s milk products, and red carpet events. I’ve written here about our family’s modest “observance” of Halloween before, and I know that for many portions of the Orthodox world, discussing Halloween is really not kosher.
That being said, we live in a secular community where there is a Halloween costume carnival in our homeschool community and besides the fact anything remotely scary scares my kids until they’re about 6 years old, I allow my older son to dress up and run around the park with friends in costume while my little guy and I will cower in the corner of the park and go home early.
What is it about Halloween that makes me grumpy lately? Trick-or-treating. Why? It makes no sense to me, none of the candy is going to be vegan, I don’t have kids who like candy that much anyway, it scares my younger son to even be outside when it’s dark not to mention outside when it’s dark and kids are running around in psycho werewolf and zombie masks trying to scare everyone. Also, if you let your vegan older not-as-scared child trick-or-treat, then you have to make up some Halloween fairy tradition to take their candy from them as they sleep and buy them a toy in exchange (or so I’m told some vegans and sugary-candy haters do). It’s too much work. I can’t handle it. Sorry, I’m a scrooge. Trick-or-treating has not yet happened and I’m going to hold out until my therapist tells me to give it up and let that child trick-or-treat.
What we do in our family, however, is throw a Halloween party for ourselves every year. That means it’s us, my parents, and maybe 2 friends who have no Halloween party to go to and enjoy my kids enough to hang out with them on Halloween. We live in the hills so there are no trick-or-treaters, but here’s what our Halloween looks like:
1. Carve pumpkins. My kids don’t really like getting messy but they like everything else about the process: the fancy pumpkin carving knives, the newspaper we tape to our table to protect it, the colander that sifts pulp from seed, and drawing shapes onto a pumpkin that we then cut out. (My husband started this notion that it doesn’t have to be a face for the kids; they scribble what they want and he delicately cuts out the scribbles. It looks really pretty and is very special for them!) I won’t be carving this year because of my injured hand, but that’s okay, because I’ll just keep rereading my post I wrote about the one-handed party I threw for my 7 year old and I’ll feel better about it.
2. Fun food. I roast pumpkin seeds in vegan margarine, salt and pepper. I make vegan Halloween bars; think chocolate with vegan kosher peanut candies, honey roasted peanuts, and crumbled up Nutty Chews (best kosher vegan candy bar ever). I make frozen foods like veggie nuggets and other such crazy processed goodness we don’t typically partake in except for special events. Fun food, fun night. Weeee!
3. Ambience. “Monster Mash” basically plays on repeat. Sometimes there are other Halloween-y songs like “Thriller” and such that my husband throws in the mix. Good times. Good music.
4. A game. Sometimes we bob for apples. It makes kids laugh a lot. It’s fun, I promise.
5. Mama in jeans. I don’t wear pants outside of the house unless there’s a skirt over them, since I keep to certain rules of tznius (modesty). On Halloween I wear jeans as my at-home “costume.” Look out now: Mayim’s going bonkers.
Are we having fun yet? You betcha. And the best part of our Halloween? Everyone’s in bed by 8.