As a child, Halloween was probably my second favorite holiday after Christmas.
It was just so fun to dress up and pretend to be someone that you
As a single parent, I didn't have much money for ready made
costumes, so we had a great time trying to come up with a costume using
items that we already had on hand or were inexpensive. Face paint was
essential for the transformation!
Ryan and Brie, dressed up and ready to go Trick-Or-Treating!
You can also enter your own Halloween Events there!
History of Halloween
Halloween is celebrated on October 31st, always, and is officially
known as an "Observance" rather than a "Holiday". It is not a Federal
Holiday, Bank Holiday, or School Holiday.
It is a patchwork holiday that has evolved through the ages, and is
actually several holidays rolled into one. It combines Celtic practices,
Catholic and Roman religious rituals, and European folk traditions.
It remains at this time a fun holiday for kids, often associated
with local harvest carnivals, candy, pumpkins, costumes, and pranks!
It has a dark history that is often overlooked!
The video below from the National Geographic Channel does a great job of
describing the history and some of the culture traditions...like how
did the phrase "trick or treat" come from?
Black Cats and Halloween
Photo: My daughter Brie's Black Cat, Whiskey
So what is the deal with Black Cats and Halloween?
Black cats are associated with witches, bad luck, and the dark side,
and are often used for pranks, party props, and even satanic,
sacrificial rituals around Halloween.
Black cats became known as witches mascots, or "familiars" through which witches could communicate with the spiritual world.
In many European countries and in the United States, black cats signify bad luck.
In England, your luck is said to turn good, if a black cat crosses your path.
Many animal shelters limit their adoptions of black cats during October, and especially close to Halloween.
It is advised to take precautions with your cats, especially if they
are all black. During Halloween night, it is best to keep your cats
locked up in a room within your house, so they can't slip outside when
you open the door to trick-or-treaters.
Photo Courtesy of: Dawn Mason Riazi
Facts About Halloween
In addition to black cats, bats and owls, evil spirits, witches,
rituals, and vampires are all associated with the darker side of
Candy Corn, Black jelly beans, Candy, Corn stalks, Corn mazes, Hay
rides, Parades, Costume parties, Harvest carnivals, scary monsters,
scary music, scary movies, scary stories, slimy concoctions and goo,
cold toes of parents, zeal and excitement, are also associated with
Pages could be written about this observance and all of the traditions. It’s a fairly tame fun day today.
The most candy is sold on this observance, second only to Christmas.
Some places around the United States, that would be interesting to visit during this time include: Transylvania County, North Carolina; Skull Creek, Nebraska; Tombstone, Arizona; Pumpkin Center, North Carolina; Pumpkin Bend, Arkansas; Cape Fear in New Hanover County, North Carolina; Cape Fear in Chatham County, North Carolina.
One thing to remember in Truckee is that by October 31st, the weather
is really cold at night when the kids go out trick-or-treating. My
kids never wanted to wear a coat over their costumes which would hide
their costumes, and I didn't want to cart around a bunch of coats all
night, so we always made sure that they wore long johns under their
costumes and warm socks to help out.
Next to Christmas, Halloween is one of the times of year that people decorate their houses and yards the most.
Pumpkins carved into all kinds of designs are the main home
decoration at this time! Kids’ contests abound for the most glorious
"This Is Halloween" from the Nightmare Before Christmas.
Halloween and Pets
If you have a Truckee Dog, it will probably want it's own Halloween Costume! My kids always enjoyed dressing our puppies up for Halloween.
Just be sure that your Dogs don't get into any Halloween Chocolate as it is not good for them!!
If your dog(s) are not super friendly with kids, and you get a
lot of kids in your neighborhood, you might consider putting your pets
in a back room, where it will be less stressful for them. With all the
barking that comes with door bell ringing, (my dogs even barked when
they heard a door bell ring on T.V.!) I often just sat out on the porch
with my dogs to hand out treats to the kids. They both loved kids and I
didn't have to listen to all the barking!
The video below has some cute Dog Costume ideas:
Eat, drink and be scary. ~Author Unknown
A grandmother pretends she doesn't know who you are on Halloween. ~Erma Bombeck
Halloween was confusing. All my life my parents said, "Never take
candy from strangers." And then they dressed me up and said, "Go beg for
it." I didn’t know what to do! I’d knock on people’s doors and go,
"Trick or treat." "No thank you." ~Rita Rudner
There will be lots of kids out after dark trick or treating on
Halloween. If you can, stay off the roads, and don't drive during peak
hours in the evening. If you have to go out, drive slower than normal
and watch for any kids who might be crossing the road, especially in
Truckee where there are no street lights.
Kids should carry and use flashlights - they will be easier to see
and they can see where they are going and avoid falls. Wearing something
florescent is also a great idea!
Older Kids should go out in a group
Younger kids need to be have a parent or adult with them.
Avoid homes that do not have porch lights on
Stay outside the homes - never enter a stranger's home or car for a treat.
Don't eat anything until they have been checked out by an adult at home.
Use sidewalks if available, if not, walk on the farthest edge of the street.
Don't assume that cars can see you! Be careful crossing the street!
Do not eat anything that is unwrapped, and notify law enforcement officers if you run into anything suspicious
Don't throw pumpkins! They are very messy to clean up and the insides can be slippery!!
Pumpkin Facts and Carving
Pumpkins are actually a "Fruit", and not a "Vegetable".
Even Alaska grows Pumpkins. The only continent that does not, is Antarctica
In the U.S., pumpkins were originally a Native American Indian Crop.
Pumpkins provide fiber, Vitamin A and Vitamin B, Iron, Protein, and Potassium, and are low in fat.
Pumpkin seeds are also edible, you can scoop them from your pumpkins
you carve, give them a good scrubbing and put them in the oven until
slightly golden for a tasty treat.
The tradition of carving Jack-o'-lanterns in the U.S. started from the Irish Immigrants, who had previously been using turnips.
The largest pumpkin grown on record is 1,810 pounds.
The video below has some cute ideas for how to carve your Truckee
Halloween Pumpkins - some are a little over the top, and the fire ones
are definitely not recommended in Truckee due to Fire Danger!
Healthy Diet Habits - Tips for Halloween Eating
This section was written by my sister, Kerry of Healthy Diet Habits, one of my Eat and Drink Category Sponsors who is helping me with my foodie section and Holiday section!
This is a funny section to write because I am not sure that there
is a healthy way to enjoy the Halloween holiday, when candy and treats
abound. As parents we encourage healthy eating and keep sweets limited.
It’s difficult to let kids trick or treat and then ask them to dispense
with part of their candy; that just does not seem fair. Yet we send such
mixed messages. I would encourage:
Let your kids indulge in a few treats right after trick or treating,
and then limit your kids to a certain amount of pieces per day. Keep
their stash out of site and in your control.
Serve their candy treats with something healthy like a glass of milk or a healthy snack first.
Encourage them to only keep their favorites.
Pull the chewy candy with all the food colors and throw it away.
Set the limits beforehand to stop complaining. Spin it positively.
Buy your household candy at the last minute to avoid overindulging before Halloween. You know you eat it!!! This is huge!
Consider handing out non sweet treats that are healthier, so you do not end up with lots of extra candy leftover.
Do not buy your favorite candy bars to hand out. Consider buying your least favorite candy to avoid temptation!
Stay away from day after candy sales when candy is very cheap. Slowly back away!
Do not send your extra leftover candy to your grown up kids. My mom
has actually spent the money to send her candy to me, because she could
not bring herself to throw it away!
Throw your excess candy away! I know it is extremely wasteful, but it is hard to encourage donating it to anyone.
Consider buying back your kids candy, if they are motivated by money.
These are just a few ideas that you can try. It is a tough call though,
and often parents just give in and let their kids indulge to their
hearts content. They realize that Halloween is not a healthy diet habit.
It’s an isolated sweet fest, in an otherwise healthy life, and don’t
make a big deal of it. I am not so sure that that is wrong.