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Monday, October 27, 2008

saving halloween

Let me be clear: Halloween isn't my favorite holiday. I know that's not very trendy of me. Also not trendy: I always buy my kids' halloween costumes instead of make them, and I don't decorate my house, save maybe a punkin or whatever. But just because it's not my favorite day doesn't mean I don't appreciate others' ways of celebrating, and it doesn't mean I don't know how to celebrate it.

Trick-or-treating means going door-to-door, knocking, and getting candy. (Kids, not adults. Though adults should be with kids. Small kids.) (While I'm at it, unless they're going to a costume party, I don't get why adults dress up.) (Sorry if that hurts your feelings.)

For those who haven't heard of the concept of the Trunk-Or-Treat, let me 'splain: billed as a Safe Halloween Alternative, this activity involves many cars parked in, say, a circle, all cars faced outward so the trunks are inside the circle. This is usually done in a large parking lot, maybe at a school, a mall, or a church. Everyone opens their trunks and the kids go from car to car, gathering candy.

I can see the merit in this kind of activity, but only in certain instances. For example, if you live in an area where it is dangerous to walk the streets and go door-to-door at night, this might be a good idea. Also, this would make a good church activity when you live in a place where you don't get to see your friends from church (because they live in different towns, etc.) -- a chance to see people's costumes when you normally wouldn't get the chance. That sort of thing.

Here in my neighborhood, most everyone goes to church together. Not everyone, but most everyone. Each year we have a halloween trunk-or-treat in our church's parking lot. On Halloween. I can't stand it. Here are my reasons:

~We live in a safe neighborhood. We don't need a Safe Halloween Alternative.

~Going door-to-door is a tradition, and I'm going to take my kids regardless of what else they do that night. The problem is that most of the people to whose doors I take my kids were just at the church activity, so my kids are met with, "Hey, I just gave you candy...".

~Those who don't attend our church on a regular basis, for whatever reason, are excluded from this activity. NOW. I know that they're invited because technically it's a neighborhood thing and not a church thing, but, honestly, why should they? It's not fair. With everyone else gone at the church it forces the people who choose not to go to the trunk-or-treat to wait until everyone else gets home so that when their kids knock on doors, people are actually home. And, another reminder, that following this activity, most people just turn off their lights because, "Hey, I just gave you candy...".

I ran these reasons by some fellow church-going friends last week and they replied: That's part of the point: to get them to the church. Again, WHY SHOULD THEY HAVE TO GO TO THE CHURCH FOR THIS WHEN IT'S ON HALLOWEEN??? I don't see any reason why this activity can't be done on a day other than Halloween so that we can keep the actual day as it's traditionally been.

Of course, what can I do? The activity won't not be held, or change, if I take a stand and not go. All that will do is make my kids cry.

*sigh* This is my rant every year. I feel like I'm campaigning. Vote for me.


Lucrecia said...

Okay I see your point. I am the activites chairman in my ward. For the last 3 years I have insisted that the trunk or treat be held on the Saturday before Halloween. My reasoning is that if they want a good turnout they should not do it on the actual Halloween day because many people go visit cousins and grandparents while in costume. But on the other hand it's a great opportunity to reach out to people. There's really no attempts at feeling the spirit or bearing of testimony's. It's a great way to get inactive or non-members to an activity that will not make them feel uncomfortable.

JC said...

Ours are on a day other than Halloween. The kids get to get twice the candy, and wear their outfits more than once. Win-win.

Captcha for this message: crupsag

iluvbrennin said...

I hope you dont mind an outsider commenting. I really dis-like trunk or treat. I have lived in Ut my whole life and I am not LDS. My children dont know about Trunk or treat. And are some of the children left out by this event. I know we are welcome but it is very uncomfortable to attend a church event when you are not a member, nor plan to be one. We do live in safe neighborhoods and i wish they would stop having these events Have your ward parties etc. but go out and visit your neighbors in your ward or not we are good people too..

ash said...

I hate that ours is on Halloween, too. I vote for you.

~j. said...

lu - I love that you and Brook make the activity the Saturday before (I love the pics of your kids' costumes, by the way). My point is that holding the activity on Halloween monopolizes the neighborhood. My friends who happen to not go to church shouldn't feel like their kids are being punished because they choose not to go to an "optional" activity at the church.

JC - yes! Wearing the costumes twice! bonus! (say hi to your mother for me)

iluvbrennin - welcome. You are always welcomed to comment here. Thanks for speaking up.

ash - thanks for your vote. (I'll lower taxes, too!)

Gerb said...

(excuse the long comment...)

I have always loved Halloween, but we have never decorated for ANY holiday. Until 2 years ago when my husband went ballistic over Halloween. Now it's our once-a-year sha-bang, the only holiday we go all-out for.

Enough people in our ward voiced their opinions against doing a trunk-or-treat that they finally stopped doing it altogether and I couldn't be happier, for all the reasons you mentioned.

Why do adults dress up? For me it's a chance to outwardly be the weirdo that I am inside all year long. And my kids think it's funny when I get into character and act like I'm someone else.

P.S. I'm writing you in when I vote next week.

Iann said...


Annette Lyon said...

I was THRILLED when our new activities committee threw an actual Halloween party and bagged the trunk or treat. Aside from all the very good reasons you hate it (all of which I agree with!), here are two more: With Truck or treat I end up buying twice as much candy and my kids end up collecting twice as much. Like I need double the sugar-hyping.

Sherry said...

I grew up in Texas, and we started having Trunk or Treat the Saturday before Halloween (or another night before Halloween) when I was about 16. It was a great ward activity with lots more going on besides the trunks and candy.

But I'm totally with you on the no-need-for-it in Utah. Especially when you go to your neighbors' houses anyway.

I'm also in the "I don't get the big deal with Halloween" camp. Least favorite holiday, and I hate it when teenagers come by expecting candy. PUH-lease. (But that's another rant, I think.)

Semi Granola Mom said...

I like when it is another night too. Where I am from in Cali, we always did it the Saturday before Halloween, worked out nicely.

And people should not be so stingy, yes you may have just given me candy but I made the effort to walk to your house as well, so pony up. :)

I do like the concept of it, because hello, we live 3 churches away from our own, so figure we can hit up every trunk or treat on the way back and be stocked till Christmas :)

My two cents.

Tori :) said...

Yeah- I never quite got the point in Utah since your neighborhood basically is your ward. It makes more sense in other areas I guess, but not Provo or Orem, etc...

I dress up because I'm cool like that. ;)

Anonymous said...

I vote for you because I am on your side. Of course this year I will miss every delightful trick-or-treater because I will be at some random high school in Vegas with a bunch of marching band kids on Halloween. But just say "no" to trunk-or-treat if you live in a safe neighborhood. Amen.

La Yen said...


Also, I hate it.

Because all year I try really hard to make sure my kid knows not to approach strangers in their cars, and take candy from them. Especially when they are wearing masks and expressing serious interest in "how cute and sweet" my kid is.

Also because I hate Trunk or Treat.

verification: pipsac

Trunk or Treat can bite my pipsac.

Karen said...

I vote for you.
Our trunk or treat is on Halloween this year and I told my husband I didn't want to go. (For most of your reasons.) My neighborhood is about 45% LDS and I really like all of our neighbors and I want to be part of the neighborhood celebration. If we are gone for 1-2 hours we miss neighborhood kids coming to the door.
I was activities chairman in my ward for several halloweens, and I tried unsucessfully to dump trunk or treat because the bishop liked that it was one of the best attended activities of the year.(along with the easter egg hunt)
This year I am not in charge and I don't want to go, (and I think I can get away with it because my kids have not even mentioned it!)

TX Girl said...

I don't really understand how Trunk or Treats even came about. I grew up in Utah and never once attended a trunk or treat. I moved to New Orleans and suddenly it was the only option for trick or treating.(Obviously trick or treating in the St. Thomas housing projects is probably a bad idea).

But, I now live in Dallas and thankfully we are back to the old way. However, our ward holds a trunk or treat every year. But, we rarely, if ever, hold it on Halloween night. Actually this year it is November 1.

basquegirl said...

I am voting for you!! I hate that our ward is doing this on Halloween. The people planning it are just phoning it in and the other church in our development is holding a giant fall fest with jumpers and crafts and all the gun things we won't have. I can't see how anyone would come to ours...heck, I don't even want to go! And if they did it another night...those cuties would get to wear their costumes twice!
We live in a wonderful neighborhood and we do not need a safe Halloween alternative. From Idaho, know there a many moms trying to swim upstream on this!!

Monica said...

I'm with you.

I mean really, Halloween was created by devil worshipers anyway and isn't it sort of sacrilegious to hold a halloween event at a church? Any REAL Christian would just throw out Halloween altogether.

That being said, our trunk or treat is tomorrow and I like it because we also do a chili cookoff and that means I don't have to make dinner. When we still lived in Utah I liked the trunk or treat on Halloween, but that was purely because I only had a one year old and it was freezing and this was a very painless way to do "trick or treating". Otherwise I really see no point in doing it at all. Why not just do some other form of a Halloween activity and leave the candy groveling to those willing to go door-to-door?

Also, I want you to know that Eliza is walking around the house singing "I keep bleedin', I keep bleedin'..." thanks to TAMN's playlist.

And do you I get any kind of prize for writing the longest comment ever? Maybe some napkins...

sue-donym said...

don't sugar coat it sista. But I feel ya, I really do.

(can I give this to the bishop?)

Hf said...

I feel the same way! Luckly we have a neighborhood party tomorrow, yes every house in the neighborhood got invited. I love trick or trating and heck now that my kids can actually walk I am loving it even more!

Christi said...

oh i am so voting for you. i even live in one of those wards where you have to drive to a different town to see the costumes (in the church parking lot), but honestly... I DON'T CARE to see the costumes especially when you're in a church parking lot and people come dressed up in nappy yucky sickening gory costumes.. But we go for the same reason you do. I am so not about Halloween. My girls keep asking me when we are going to put Halloween decorations on our house and in our trees... won't happen. But we did carve a pumpkin (ulterior motive-saved the seeds for our garden next year). Give me Christmas. That's my favorite. Oh so joyful.

swampbaby said...

May I suggest moving out of Utah? jk...

Wendy said...

I vote for you, too. Our ward doesn't do them, thankfully.

i i eee said...

I approve this message.

Trunk or Treats are the epitome of lame. Besides, some of us like answering the door and giving out candy. And what other time of the year are you able to just walk up to anyone's door in such a casual way?

Also, I remember last year when my mom mentioned that they didn't have very many trick-or-treaters she was a bit bummed out about it.

I will vouch for teenagers getting candy though: I think a lot don't care so much about the candy as much as having something to do. I remember trick-or-treating when I was a tween, and I was meh about the candy, but I was never invited to the cool parties, so what was I supposed to do? Stay at home? Wah.

Dressing up is fun as an adult if you have a cool party to go to, and an easy breezy clever costume.

I miss this one nearly every year because of my stupid work schedule:

(scroll on down a bit)

Carina said...


Seriously? A trunk or treat ON Halloween? SERIOUSLY?

And now that husband is affiliated, we really have to go, which is annoying. This year it's a carnival, and it's still annoying.

Stop it. STOP IT.

p.s. this is a new thing because growing up in Utah, we never had a trunk or treat/Halloween party at the church--NEVER.

Shar said...

I vote for you. But now that I'm in New Mexico and I want to carry a loaded gun with us trick-or-treating... I welcome the trunk-or-treat on Halloween. And our neighborhood is very spread out, and it would take us 2 hours to hit up 10 houses.

Sister Pottymouth said...

I grew up here, too, and never once had a trunk or treat. I had to have it explained to me when I was in my 20s. I see the point if you live in an unsafe area, but other than that, it seems ridiculous to me. If they HAVE to have one, because it's "ward tradition" (pshaw--that's another post as well), at least have it on a different day.

I vote for you. Every day.

Me said...

I'll vote for you. We used to go to this awesome Autumn party on Oct 31 at a church in Holladay but they're not having it any more. I am desperately looking for alternatives to my ward's "trunk-or-treat". Heaven forbid our kids should burn some calories walking all the way from door to door. Trunk-or-treat is probably more efficient, but if the point were to be efficient each parent should just buy their own kids candy.

Anonymous said...

Our ward's truck-or-treat is on Halloween too, but we're not going to it. Not that I don't want to support the ward's activities, but I am a very tradition-oriented person and enjoy taking my kids(or sending hubby with them so I can answer the door) door to door to the neighbors. Though, like you said, there may not be many at home when we come around. Oh, well. I vote for you, Jenny!

Cari said...

I don't like Halloween either. I like putting together costumes for my kids (they only get a costume from me until they're 12. After that they're on their own.) I decorate for fall only. We do jack-o-lanterns a couple days before Halloween but that's it. I don't get adults getting costumes either. I hate it when teenagers trick-or-treat. As far as trunk-or-treats go, I'm okay with it because I'm lazy. It's easier to walk in a circle than walk the neighborhood but that's just me. But I do see your point on neighbors who don't go to church. I'm the activities chairman in our ward and it's "tradition" to have a carnival put on by the YMYW and then a trunk-or-treat so that's what we do. We invite the whole neighborhood and we do get a lot of people who don't come to our church there. I don't know. I wish instead of a Halloween party we would something else but it's tradition and that's that in our ward.

Anonymous said...

i'm with you jenny. i love the tradition of going door to door. i loved it growing up, going with a bunch of friends.

we don't go to trunk or treat usually, but then again we don't usually go to church either, so maybe there's a correlation there. but honestly, i'm not going to take my kids to trunk or treat b/c we don't go to church and it seems lame to go just for the candy when i can't get my butt there on sunday. so we go to my brother and sister in laws up in cedar hills where the neighborhood welcomes trick or treaters with open arms.

Anonymous said...

The trunk or treat does make sense to me. We live in a ward that is spread out in about a 15 mile radius and includes 3 communities.(although I wouldn't mind if it was on a day other than Halloween) However, what really bugs me about the trunk or treat is the teenagers trick or treating at your car... over.and.over.and.over. And the teenagers coming off the street to your church to trick or treat over.and.over.and.over.Shouldn't there be an age limit?

Anonymous said...

Hey! Dave & I usually work on Halloween so we don't give out candy or see costumes, but we have come to like carvin the punkins'. more of an TYI than you probably want-- Halloween actually started about 2000 years ago as the Celtic fest of Samhein (summer's end), held on the night of October 31, with bonfires and parades. It wasnt' until the 7th century after Pope BonifaceIV designated November 1 as All St's Day did it become know as "All Hallows Eve" which incorporated costumes of Saints, Angels and Devils. The practices were brought to America in the 1800's.
Just in case you were wondering.

TheOneTrueSue said...

I loved it when we lived in Vegas and it seemed like nobody was ever home on Halloween. But in our current neighborhood it would be kind of pointless.

I'm on the activities committee and this year instead of a Halloween ANYTHING we had a Fear Factor activity at the beginning of the month. It was awesome and everyone loved it - especially the youth.

But just in general? I can't stand Halloween. I used to love it, but now that I have to pay for three costumes (ouch), plus candy for the TEN BILLION children in our neighborhood (last year we went through TEN BAGS - TEN BAGS!!!!- before we finally turned off the lights and cowered in the family room, pretending not to be home), plus pumpkins? NOT A FAN.

Logan said...

I have to admit, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, but I'm with you on the whole trunk-or-treat thing. Maybe by the time I have kids old enough to do that it will have been abolished! But I don't ever foresee a Halloween where I won't be dressing up. My husband thinks I'm so weird (he never dresses up) but honestly, for me, it's not really about the costume. I never buy a costume, I always just fashion one out of stuff that I already have. For me Halloween is the one day of the year that I have an excuse to do something totally crazy/fantasy-like with my makeup to create a character and not be thought a psycho :) Then I have cool photos for my makeup portfolio!

bids2calvin said...

I basically said the same thing as you except I do like Halloween but trunk-or-treats stink!

leschornmom said...

You make me laugh!
Halloween is seriously one of my favorite holidays! But don't worry I wasn't offended!
Just wait till Christmas time...I'll have a very similar rant!

Carina said...

So I thought of another reason why trunk or treats SUCK.

I took the kids around to a few of the doors in our neighborhood. We took care to go to the doors of the elderly and infirm. Sure, they took forever to walk to the door, but the seniors were so excited to see the kids.

I learned that we were the only ones who had come to their door (the rest of the peeps were up at the church at the trunk or treat.)

You should have seen them, sitting in their chairs, by their doors, with a bowl of old-fashioned candy, just waiting for little kids. It broke my heart.

Next year I hope I can convince the primary to not hold a trunk or treat.

Stupid trunk or treats.

LuckyRedHen said...

I'm on your side. I'll share with you details why if we talk on the phone ;)

DH took our kids to my SIL's 60 townhouse neighborhood that has an old folks home at the end.

The elderly were waiting patiently in the foyer with baskets of candy on their laps, grinning from ear to ear as the kids came through the front doors. They applauded when my kids came through and professed they were the favorite (homemade Spongebob and Patrick). It still makes me tear up to think about it.

I stayed home to prepare dessert, hot cocoa and cider (for family and friends who stopped by to warm up) while giving out toys to the few kids who came knocking (10 tops). There were 4 well-mannered teenage girls who came too... because they were nice and dressed up, I gave them stuff anyway (we seriously only had about 10 kids show up).

Alyson | New England Living said...

I love Halloween and HATE trunk or treating. So lame!

Guileless Mom said...

...and so it was that ~j was called to be the ward activities leader and broke all tradition by x-ing the annual, ward Halloween trunk or treat. And there was much rejoicing. And neighborhood trick-or-treating. And happy old folks, giving out candy.