Halloween inspires creativity and has the potential to promote something our neighbourhoods are often lacking in this day and age – a sense of community. Start a BOO in your neighborhood and help promote a sense of community with your neighbours. While it is our job as parents to keep our children safe, use caution and common sense when you hear all those warnings about poison and the yearly recycled tale of razor blades in the apples. I discard any item that isn’t securely packaged or made by Granny next door – that’s just smart. Don’t just throw away the traditions of Halloween that you yourself loved as a child, which your own children look forward to months in advance.
Let’s celebrate our collective memories- those we recall from our youth and those we are creating with our children.
Halloween may well be my favourite holiday. I have always appreciated the decorations, especially the scary and eerie element. I love ALL the costumes and overt self expression: the word play costumes; the group themes; the trending characters; the inanimate objects; the cutie-patooties; and the make up – especially the over the top eyelashes. Now that I am a parent, I love seeing the children so excited to dress up in their cute little costumes and waddle up the stairs to ring the bell.
But in recent years, it feels as though Halloween has ‘gone underground.’ Families have been taking their kids to Boo at the Zoo, big Halloween parties held in community centres, or smaller gatherings at home. And there’s always the mall – where they’ve moved away from retailers handing out candy to long line ups for activities and crafts geared toward school aged children. Good times, I guess- but where are the trick-or-treaters?!?
A Halloween BOO is a great idea that treats my neighbours while it honours and encourages the same spirit of community.
The story was the same in our previous home and at many friend’s and family’s houses: the numbers of children brave enough to venture out into the deep, dark, scary and cold Halloween night had dwindled – sometimes into the single digits. While the daring trick or treaters may have been rewarded with handfuls of candy so that the residents would not find themselves 5 pounds heavier from eating the bags of left overs, they were certainly not experiencing the same Halloween that I had in my youth. I have fond memories of running around the neighbourhood with my pillow case heavy with candy. I can still recall the feeling of excitement, yelling some practiced clever chant at the next doorway, wondering if they would embarrass us by making us sing and watching closely to see what they would plop into the gaping mouth of our awaiting sacks.
And then, at last, my excitement about the holiday was rejuvenated by the sense of community we felt in our suburban neighbourhood our first Halloween living there. The streets were packed – PACKED! Children were running everywhere and parents, many of them dressed up, chatted as their kids ran up to another house positively dripping in cobwebs and spooky stuff. My favourite stop served a little something boozy in the hot chocolate for the parents hitting the streets with their littles and we were always strategic with the timing of our visit to that house. I felt as though I had found my people and our decision to move to our neighbourhood suddenly gained weight as we realized we had joined a community.
So, this month I am looking forward to Halloween as much as my children and was excited to discover the Halloween version of ‘Secret Santa.’ A Halloween BOO is a great idea that treats my neighbours while it honours and encourages the same spirit of community. You can find many free downloads online like those at organizedchristmas.com to help you get started. Here is the general outline for a fabulous, easy, and inexpensive project that you can start right now to involve your entire neighbourhood and create an immediate, fun sense of community!!!
How to start a BOO!
You fill a bag with several Halloween-type goodies like glow sticks, candy, cookie cutters, tattoos, baking or whatever else you can think of. Check out 31 Non Candy Alternatives for Halloween & other Holidays to give you ideas.
As the next family carries on the new tradition by BOOing two families, you and your children will delight in seeing these little ghosts displayed on the doors and windows of the houses throughout your neighborhood.
Let’s celebrate our collective memories- those we recall from our youth and those we are creating with our children. Help create the world we want them to live in by starting a BOO and inspiring a sense of community in your neighbourhood.