Halloween... are you trick or treating?
Some people are dead against Halloween. This mom takes a look at why it's just harmless fun.
(Life Images Photography)
Halloween is coming up at the end of the month, and in recent years seems to be growing in popularity in South Africa. People seem to have mixed feelings about it, some thinking it is harmless fun and others more concerned about it as an influence of evil. Many are convinced it is just another commercial money making gimmick the shops have cottoned onto.

I remember as a child I always experienced Halloween rather vicariously though American movies. Watching as a kid, it all looked so exciting, the costumes, the jack-o’lanterns, trick or treating. Few of us actually know the history of this day and what the symbolism means.

The Celtic Festival of Samhain,  was a festival at the end of summer when the harvest season was over. The night before Samhain was thought to be a time when the boundaries between our physical worlds and the spirit world were blurred and that spirits were free to roam the earth. They believed that the dead could visit them and wreak havoc on their lives. And so, the bonfires, jack o’lanterns and scary costumes, were to scare away the dead spirits.

It is a personal decision about whether you celebrate the day or not but if you do want to there seem to be more and more things to do, especially with children. I think either way, it is something that parents need to be aware of, as a growing trend, and decide what they want to tell their kids, and how it fits into their beliefs, as I think this day is going to grow in popularity over the years. I know my kids plan their costumes all year and are very, very excited.

While it might be okay to go trick or treating door-to-door in the UK and US, here is SA,  with our high crime rate, big walls and security fences make the traditional door to door Halloween trick or treating, rather more difficult. If you live on a security estate, there are often organised Halloween activities where the kids can walk around.

If you do not live in an area where there is an organised Halloween event, then you can always have a party at home. Halloween lends itself to such great ideas for biscuits and cakes with spider web icing, tomato soup for bat blood, bread dough shaped into witches fingers with red pepper finger nails. Get all the kids to dress up and you can play Halloween games.

Otherwise places like zoos, aquariums, kids play centres, and some shopping centres, do hold specific Halloween events for kids. Look in your local newspaper and area for events being advertised.

How do you feel about Halloween and how will you be celebrating, if at all, this year?

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