Seek out Alternative Halloween Events

I grew up trick-or-treating door-to-door. I couldn’t imagine my daughter doing anything less. These Halloween parties everyone talks about seemed hokey, a faint and flimsy substitute for the real tradition. But great googly moogly, I’m a believer now.

Photo of the King and Queen of Halloween sitting on their thrown in a dark room lit by white lights and adorned in harvest decor. The king and queen greeted us indoors before sending us out for an evening of stories.

We brought our Little Miss to an all-ages “Halloween Festival” this weekend that will be an annual tradition for us. At dusk, we arrived at a church located on several rural acres where perhaps 16 venues had been set up to perform 5-minute non-religious plays. Hundreds of kids attended, but were broken down into groups of about 20 each. The kids and parents walked from performance to performance, led by a silent ghostly character carrying a lantern.

We watched skits featuring Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, the Old Man in the Shoe and a variety of other classic and original reenactments. My daughter is only 28-months-old, but she and other toddlers watched as intently as 8-year-olds in the group. At the end of each skit the kids received a gift for their “treasure bag.”

The tour lasted 90 minutes, but we waited in line for an hour before it was our group’s turn to go. Strike that. We played carnival games for an hour—bowling with pumpkins, creating jack-o-lantern faces with felt, listening to stories, coloring, etc. The event organizers thought of everything.

I wasn’t going to write about this event because it’s a local thing and I’ve only met one other local parent who reads Thingamababy. But then I saw Brett over at DadTalk debating whether and where to take his kids trick-or-treating because he just moved his family to Chicago and his neighbors all seem to be college students. My advice: find a parent who can tip you to the best Halloween events in your community. That’s how I found out about the one shown here.

Photo of characters acting out a scene from Peter Pan. Click to enlarge.

Overview photo of a horse and actors for an 4-H skit with a group of kids and parents watching. The sky is getting dark and fog is visible in the background. Click to enlarge.

Kudos go to the Humboldt Unitarian Universalist Fellowship for hosting the annual event shown in the photos.

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