Dad’s Turn: Halloween Memories and Traditions

The following post was written by Andrew (Finleypotamus and Kierbear’s Daddy)

Does the very thought of Halloween scare you? It should! It means that as a parent you have a lot of work ahead of you. There are costumes to buy, and only the most popular ones will do. There is candy to buy, and none of the cheap stuff or you might get egged. There are decorations to put out, or you might be known as the lame house on the block. All of the pressure is enough to melt a chocolate bar. Or hey, you could just be married to a wife that does it all and then you are either excited to bypass another session of decorating the front yard or disappointed… for exactly the same reason.

Well, I am neither scared nor disappointed when it comes to Halloween. No, I don’t believe in ghosts, werewolves, vampires or zombies. I do believe kids and adults do like to be scared, or at the very least surprised, from time to time. I have heard of friends jumping out of the bushes. I have heard of folks even dressing up like an accident victim and lying in the front yard with their car door open and partially up on the lawn. Both of those seem a bit extreme when you are talking about being a good neighbor and letting the little ones have a good time.  I put up a few plastic jack-o-lanterns, put up a scarecrow in the front yard, hang a few lights and put up my little bat family with the glowing purple eyes. I like to let people use their imagination when they go for their evening walk. I don’t go to the extreme but I do like to add to the community spirit.

I had the pleasure of growing up in small town America in a tiny Texas town. Everyone was friendly and you knew everyone for miles around. There was never any major mischief, save the occasional TP incident (toilet paper in the trees). When I was young, in the mid to late 70’s and early 80’s, we went on hayrides down the “ghost road” every Halloween. Basically we took an old farm tractor, hooked a flat bed trailer to the back, covered it in hay and took turns jumping off and scaring the girls and younger ones with a loud “BOO!”.  The ghost road is regionally famous for the “ghost light”. Later in life, you generally discover that the ghost light was either the youth pastor with a flashlight or a phenomenon where light is reflected from distant car headlights by methane gas from a nearby swamp. The phenomenon was only visible on successive windless nights so at windy times, you were forced to get out the ol’ flashlight and improvise.

Back to the present, my wife and I spent a few evenings surfing the web for costumes. We took into account our kids’s likes, size, age and the local weather. The first year our son went trick-or-treating (he was just over 6 months old) he went dressed as a little brown and white speckled puppy dog. That may be a southern thing, I am not sure. But anyway, we didn’t realize it would still be 80 degrees on October 31 and we had to peel the costume off after about a half hour because we felt he might be too hot. Conversely, I get a little irritated at parents in Minnesota that put pictures of their little ballerina on their Facebook page when mom is wearing a ski parka.

As part of the October festivities, we usually make a trek to the local pumpkin patch for photos (I’ve included one of Finleypotamus and I at a pumpkin patch when he was a baby and the one taken of both boys and I last year) as well. We haven’t gone yet this year, but I am sure the wife will have that planned very soon. She loves taking photos!

This year we tried to compromise with the realization that no one can predict the weather nor predict how children will act or behave. Our kid’s costumes are not home-made, we are saving that little bit of purgatory for elementary school plays. We bought their costumes over the internet and will most likely give them away or donate them to charity when we are done. I think next year we might pick something they can wear during dress up day, but this year we just went with something the kids will enjoy and that will be easy. Yeah, we may feel a bit guilty for going with easy, but probably not!

Fine Print: I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Dad Central Consulting and they sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.


  1. Lady V dZine says:

    This will be our first year dressing the kids for Halloween, so I can't wait to see how they react. Hope your Halloween is filled with treats.

  2. I grew up in a small town too and it was wonderful. I love looking at all the kids and adults costumes, it's always a highlight. It's hard around here though, you have to get extremely warm costumes, as there is usually snow by Halloween! What a fun post!

  3. Yellow Tennessee says:

    We are raising our son in a small town. I look forward to the nights of discovering 'ghost road' and creating his own Halloween memories.

  4. We live in a small town too, and it's a lot of fun to see all of the local kids dressed up.

  5. Aww, Halloween is so much fun! Cute pics in the pumpkin patch!

  6. LOVE the puppy dog costume! We have the same problem every Halloween — the costumes end up being so stinkin' hot for Houston!

    I love all of the family traditions we have during October — SO much fun. Even though we live in a big city, I try to maintain traditions with the same venues/friends each year to simulate the small community feel.

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