Why I Don’t Celebrate Halloween

Halloween is in a few days, and each year I dread it. Want to know why I don’t celebrate Halloween? The store shelves are just about buckling from the weight of chocolate bars, pumpkins and severed limbs, and hyperactive kids across North America are testing their parents’ sanity. As far as I’m concerned, Halloween is just another greedy, commercialized money-grab that teaches our kids very poor lessons.

Here are four reasons why I don’t celebrate Halloween:

The Money

Jeepers! Halloween is EXPENSIVE. Every store you walk into is trying to cash in on it. According to Global News, Canadians spent $137 on average per person last Halloween ($52 on a costume, $43 on decorations and $42 on candy).

The National Retail Federation (NRF) estimates Americans will spend $8.4 billion on Halloween this year. That’s a ludicrous amount of money.

I would much rather put that money into my kids’ savings accounts to accumulate interest for their future, and spend the day together as a family away from the madness.

The Sugar

The American Heart Association says children between two and 18 should not be consuming more than six teaspoons of added sugar per day. Currently, children in the U.S. have around 19 teaspoons a day. And according to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian was consuming 26 teaspoons of sugar per day!

As if it’s not hard enough to control the sugar intake of our children! It’s in their juice, cereal, granola bars, even bread — sugar is in just about everything. Yet once a year (more if your kids are spoiled with mountains of candy at Christmas, Easter and birthdays) parents encourage their kids to score enough candy for an entire year. What does that teach them about limits?

Sugar is a slippery slope that can lead to tooth decay, obesity and eventually heart disease and high blood pressure as they get older. Is it really worth it?

While candy might entertain them for a short while, when the sugar crash hits, us parents are left with grumpy, agitated, squabbling children. That’s not a fun time.

The Safety

I’m sure safety crosses every parent’s mind when they let their children out of their sight — especially if it’s to dozens of unfamiliar houses. Teaching kids to ask strangers for candy is a very poor lesson. I don’t think this point needs much more clarification!

The Poor Values

As a family, our spiritual and religious values are not at all aligned with Halloween. Instead of partaking in the “Festival of the Dead”, and teaching my kids to “take-take-take”, I will be encouraging them to experience the joy of giving by taking them to volunteer at a shelter, or cooking a meal together to take to another family in need. Values such as kindness, selflessness and generosity are ones that I hope will stay with my children well into adulthood.

That said… my kids have been invited to a Halloween party this year, and here lies a parent’s conundrum. This year we’ve come to a compromise: they are allowed to go, but I’ve allocated a budget of $0 for it, and all candy received gets confiscated and dolled out in reasonable quantities. Seems fair?

Does your family avoid celebrating Halloween too? How do you deal with this time of year?

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