Over the course of my life there’s been several different reasons we’ve needed a trick or treat alternative. And I always go back to it time and time again because for us, what we do instead of traditional trick or treating is way more fun!
Why I grew up without Halloween
Not everybody participates in trick or treating, I know I didn’t as a child! Growing up, my parents made the decision to skip most of the halloween traditions, which included trick or treating. The reason is really quite sweet.
They had just asked Jesus into their hearts and were trying their best as “baby christians” to live their lives in a way that was honouring God. My mom said that she wasn’t sure what halloween was all about but for her growing up, it was a time full of fear, death, sin and horror. So to err on the side of caution, they cut most of the halloween season out of our lives.
And I’m truly grateful they did. Not because mean faces on jack-o-lanterns are bad, or going to houses and asking for candy is a sin- but I admire my parents for trying their best to honour God and protect us from spiritual danger. It took courage to go against the cultural norm, and at that time (early and mid 2000’s) there were no internet communities supporting alternatives like there are now. Life was much more isolating.
But I’ll assure you, myself and my family aren’t halloween haters! We just choose to focus on the fun and positive aspects of Halloween, and not on the dark side.
This is something I pray about often and educate myself about as a christian mother. I want to honour God, and lead my family in a way that is positive. Halloween is tricky for us as christians, but we try our best to make informed decisions each year. ANYWAY…
Our unusual trick or treat alternative
Instead of having nothing to do around halloween when everyone else seemed to be busy celebrating it, my parents threw something they called a harvest party!
The harvest party was and still is a highlight of the fall season for us. My family along with my two sisters and their families, and our parents, all come together for the harvest party each year.
There are snacks, classic harvest games, costumes, and family pictures.
Each year is a bit different, but always includes pumpkin carving, pumpkin seed baking, new fall style games (even the classic apple bobbing!) and so much fun and laughter.
But specifically, in regards to our unusual trick or treat alternative,
We do a “hunt”. It’s like an easter egg hunt but with halloween treats instead. When I was growing up my mom would go out into the woods and hide our treats all along one of our longest trails we had. And now that me and my sisters all have our own kids we get to have the fun of gathering up all of the treats and going out together to hide everything! It has become such a wonderful tradition to share with each other.
How our trick or treat alternative works;
The basis of the treat hunt is that instead of going house to house trick or treating, the children are instead finding treats on a trail outside and collecting them into their loot bags.
Pick where to hide the treats
We have always done a forest trail walk together. And although you could make this similar to the traditional easter egg hunt and scatter the treats around in an area inside or out in the yard- there’s something special (to me at least) about walking along a trail in October with your family surrounded by nature.
I’m blessed to have been able to grow up on 50 acres of forest, and now I have my own 100 acres to raise my children on that we bought in the summer of 2021. But even if you have a super small yard or garden, this treat hunt will still be so fun and exciting for your kids, I can assure you!
We’ve used the same trail every year since we started this tradition over 20 years ago (ok woah I’ve never tallied up the years before). When the hunt starts, our entire family goes for the walk and its so fun to watch the kids find the treats we have hidden.
The trail walk takes about 25 minutes to the end, and then we all walk back. The kids love when we turn around and walk back through because its always a game on who can find any treats that were missed on the first pass. (even the adults get into it, trust me)
In total our treat hunt takes about an hour.
Collect the “treats”
You still get to go all out for this trick or treat alternative!
Collect fun little treats that you can hide outdoors without them getting ruined (so hiding opened candy is a big no).
If you’re anything like me and my family you may want to gather things up that aren’t sugar based and hide that for your kids instead. This is something I try to incorporate as much as possible so that my kids can enjoy their loot without being on a constant sugar high, or experience the other negative health effects that artificial food brings.
I have a full list of candy alternatives that I made, and you can jump to it HERE if you want ideas!
*TIP* Put things in treat bags if they aren’t sealed in their own packages to avoid critter, environmental, and other damage!
Hide your treats, but keep this in mind!
When you go out to hide your treats keep in mind the different ages in your group and hide your treats appropriately.
We like to have different challenge levels for treats, so our group of kids all get to enjoy it. Since we do our treat hunt each year with my two sisters and their kids, the age group varies between all eight of them and for the last six years there has always been a just-walking baby.
Although the children’s excitement sometimes clouds their listening skills, we try to have a quick pep talk with the whole group before we set off on the trail and remind the older ones to leave the “easy” treats for their smaller and slower family members.
Choosing to dress up in costumes
Although we’re not walking through neighbourhoods and seeing countless people, we still dress up. And it always includes the adults! Even if it’s just a cape or a mask.
Dressing up for the joy of it is a quiet life lesson thats teaching our kids that we want to do things that bring us joy, not do something (like dress up in costumes) just to show it off online or to others.
We dont make sure it’s fair
This may surprise some people, but after the hunt is over and all of the kids are back at home base marveling at their loot, we don’t make a point to be sure all of the kids got the same amount of treats.
Instead, if we see that one child found six bouncy balls, and another is a bit bummed out about not finding any, we suggest that they make a trade or maybe just give a bouncy ball to the unlucky kid.
Over time our kids have naturally learned this and we rarely ever make suggestions anymore.
Another lesson that’s taught (can you tell I’m a homeschool parent?) is being joyful and content with what you have and what you worked for. Not looking at other people and what they have, comparing yourself in a negative way.
I hope you enjoyed this post and found some ideas for your family this halloween season!
Another post you might like;
THE BEST THIS OR THAT LIST – FALL EDITION
Who doesn’t love this game?! Although I’ve seen other blogs with the This Or That Fall Edition game, I’ve yet to find one that is longer than 8 or 10 questions and they seem super short (maybe it’s because I could play this game for hours? Idk…) So I’ve put together a HUGE list of the best this or that fall edition questions not only for the fall lovers, but also for my people who love this game as much as I do.
I’d love for you to follow me on instagram so that you can see what we are up to living off grid, developing our beautiful acreage in Ontario Canada!
TRICK OR TREAT ALTERNATIVE – OUR UNUSUAL FAMILY TRADITION
This is so fun! We’re not big Halloween people either, but this sounds so fun!
Brad MacAonghais says
We’ve definitely done easter hunts that have been a big success. Our middle child always takes the lead as he’s, for better and for worse, the analytical one. Unfortunately, our less than 1/4 acre doesn’t lend itself to a hunt your size but still fun to read of the blessing your kids get to experience
I love this! I thought I was the only one who didn’t care for the traditional Halloween. Having grown up in Germany, we didn’t have it and for some reason I have a hard time adopting this holiday.
YES! we dont “do” halloween very much, but I love celebrating the autumn harvest season!