Guest Author - Terrie Lynn Bittner
The topic of Halloween is enough to set off a war on some LDS discussion boards. Some avoid it, some love it, and some compromise, but it seems that hardly anyone is neutral. Older Church magazines refer to it and even have some activity suggestions. The only general theme seems to be to avoid the darkness and to treat it as a fun event if you choose to join in. A search at LDS.org for the word Halloween will lead you to many articles, which you can use to make your own choices. Be sure to note the dates, since teachings change in a church that believes in a living prophet.
If you want your children to have fun, but don’t want to engage in trick-or-treating for whatever reason, following are some ideas to take advantage of the season:
Homeschooling: There are many skeleton and bat decorations these days. This is the perfect time to study the skeletal system or bats in your science classes. Dem Bones, using real bone names, can make the learning more fun.
Ghost Busting: If your children have gotten caught up in traditional Halloween topics through school or friends, explore this web site as a family:
HowStuffWorks: How Ghost Busters Work. This article makes it clear that the majority of ghost sightings can be explained by science, natural events, or trickery. Read it yourself first to make sure you’re okay with the content.
Genealogy: Instead of decorating with fake tombstones of people who never existed, research real ancestors. Have an ancestor party in which children dress up as a favorite ancestor (vary the time periods) and share projects based on the ancestor. If you don’t know anything about the actual person, share information about historical events that occurred during the person’s childhood and find out how children in those days and that place lived. Eat food from the culture or time, and make it a fun night. If your children resent the loss of candy, serve up bags of whatever treats you approve of as party favors.
Reading Celebration: I’ll be doing an article on reading celebrations next month, but in the meantime, here are some ideas for getting started. Between now and Halloween, read a book together as a family. Choose one that has costume possibilities, as well as activity possibilities. Have everyone come dressed as someone in the book. Then serve food appropriate to the book, and play games or do crafts related to the book. As an example, visit Jan Brett’s homepage, with thousands of activities related to her picture books.