How I’d Like to Celebrate Halloween in the Future

I’ve written about it before, but I have to say again…I love Halloween. I have always loved the autumn and any autumn themed experience. I’ve always loved dressing up. And of course I have a massive sweet tooth, so I was always a big fan of any holiday that included lots of candy. But, there was something more too. Something about Halloween felt mysterious and magical and I loved that. I think most of us long for something of the “other”, something mystical and un-understandable. Sure Halloween has become basically just another hallmark holiday filled with mass produced, sugar filled junk, but every once in a while something of the mystical has broken through all that and whispered to me around Halloween time, when the leaves change and the air chills.

This Halloween we had an opportunity to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve a little differently and I loved it. It felt more real, not at all commercialized and more in-tune with the familiar familial magic of fall. So, what did we do? Well, our friends who own some property in Zelivka, right in the middle of a national park in Prague, invited us to hang out there with them for a little outdoor cook out. We each brought some fresh veggies that we threw in a big pot over an open fire. I made some homemade bread and pumpkin pie to share. My husband brought a bottle of homemade nettle champagne (which he made with nettles he picked out on the property). Our friends brought sausage to roast and pumpkins for the kids to carve. We laid out some blankets and talked, took walks around the property, ate our yummy fall inspired food, and carved pumpkins. The kids played hid-and-go-seek and ghost in the graveyard. The weather was clear and crisp, with just enough sunshine peaking through the clouds to leave long shadows through the trees.

Carving Pumpkins with kids

Something about just being out in nature and hanging out with friends around a fire felt so right. It got me thinking about the type of Halloween traditions I want my kid to grow up with. I want my child to grow up celebrating Halloween because personally I love it, but I want them to grow up celebrating something more real that the commercialized holiday the candy industry has put together. I also want them to grow up celebrating it in a deeper way than the church “fall festivals” that are so common in the states – something about those fall festivals always felt somehow fake and contrived to me.

Here’s what I’d like future Stedman Halloweens to be about:

  • Spending Time Outside in nature - somewhere where the trees are changing color
  • Spending time with family and friends and any other wandering souls that happen to be needing a friendly welcome
  • Making our own autumn feast together and cooking it outside over an open fire
  • Drinking homemade beverages such as nettle beer or homemade apple cider
  • Having a bonfire and roasting homemade marshmallows
  • Carving pumpkins and lighting Jack O’ Lanterns
  • Telling stories about saints and martyrs from the past (picking one Bible character, apostle, saint, or historical church figure and telling their story and talking about them with the kids…?? Maybe??)
  • Doing some autumn inspired activities – like bobbing for apples, hay rides, nature walks in the woods, etc.
  • Having a short time of prayer – praying a liturgy like this one or just praying together informally and thanking God for the people who have gone before us and the example they have set

Dressing up and going “trick or treating” could be included if we wanted it to be on any given year, but wouldn’t have to be. With all the other activities I don’t think any of us would miss it. And I can get my dress-up longings filled all year long now that I have kids to play with me {smile}.

Did you have a good Halloween this year? What would your ideal Halloween look like?

Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman