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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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Halloween Traditions

Uploaded: Oct 26, 2019
Growing up Halloween was never a big holiday for my family. I remember my mother making us costumes to wear to our school carnival. And I remember growing pumpkins in our garden and carving them in our basement. However, we didn’t put up decorations and we usually skipped trick-or-treating and instead spent the long weekend up north at my grandparents’ cottage.

After I had kids of my own, I wasn’t sure what our Halloween celebrations would be like. I hoped to make/buy costumes, carve pumpkins, and take our kids trick-or-treating. But the rest was unknown. Over the years we’ve started our own traditions and October has evolved into a fun and festive month.

1. I like to buy pumpkins in early October. It’s our way to start the Halloween celebration. We’ve enjoyed both the pumpkin patch experience and a quick trip to the grocery store. It really just depends on what the kids are interested in that year, my patience, and what our schedule allows.

2. In early October we also put up a couple of Halloween decorations. Nothing fancy, but I love incorporating festive crafts from years past that the kids made at school or we made together.

3. Our middle child loves to be in the kitchen. Baking is one of her go-to activities which is perfect for holidays. We love baking Halloween themed treats, such as pumpkin patch brownies, for our family, friends, and teachers.

4. Halloween crafts. I try to keep the Halloween crafts as simple as possible. Sometimes it is just taking out Halloween themed stickers. Or setting up a table with Halloween themed cookie cutters and play dough. When possible I try to get a handprint craft sometime between Halloween and Christmas just so we have a reminder of how big the kids were each year. Here were some of our favorites this year:

Q-tip skeletons

handprint spider

spider lollipops

5. Making and choosing the Halloween costumes with our kids is, hands down, my favorite tradition. I just need to remember that their interests change and the costume that we worked on for days or even weeks may not be the costume they wear on Halloween night.

6. Trick-or-treat street. If you have little ones just learning how to trick-or-treat, Halloween can be a bit overwhelming. It is dark. There is an abundance of decorations. There is a lot of walking. A lot of strangers. And a lot of waiting to eat candy. We’ve loved M-A High School’s trick-or-treat street as a practice for Halloween night.

7. Songs and stories. Christmas is our favorite holiday for festive songs and stories. However, I love when our kids’ schools introduce them to, or remind them about, different Halloween songs. You only need a handful of songs and stories to get everyone in the Halloween mode. These year we especially enjoyed reading Too Many Pumpkins and The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin.

What are your favorite Halloween traditions?
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The 34th Annual Palo Alto Weekly Short Story Contest is now accepting entries for Adult, Young Adult and Teen categories. Send us your short story (2,500 words or less) and entry form by April 10, 2020. First, Second and Third Place prizes awarded in each category. Sponsored by Kepler's Books, Linden Tree Books and Bell's Books.

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