Halloween has always been my favorite holiday.
As a child, it was all about the dressing up, the candy, the amazing Halloween cartoon specials, being creative, making people smile or getting spooked while staring at the moon and listening to the wind blow, imagining all the creepy, spooky, magical and awesome things that might be out there that I didn’t know about.
Later as I grew up, it was the spookiness, the scary tales, the parties, the orange lights and decorations, seeing a neighborhood transformed … it’s just one more reason to get creative and have a blast doing something fun just for the sake of fun and sharing that creativity with your friends and family.
Older still, Halloween became a spiritual time for me, as a practicing Wiccan. I honored my ancestors, I cleansed and purified my home, office space, car and Self. As it is the Wiccan new year, I prayed for renewal, casting off the negative, leaving my past behind so I could embrace my future and take hold of my true potential. I sacrificed all that was no longer necessary so I could embrace my future. Through my 20’s, it was customary for me to attend Halloween parties ON Halloween, but to celebrate Samhain on the actual date, which changed from year to year and was often a full week after the 31st. On that date, I’d write down all the things I didn’t need anymore, basically making my “new years resolution” list of what I was going to leave behind, then I’d burn it in a fire while embracing all the goodness I was opening myself up to for the new year.
Around my late 20’s and once I was married, Halloween became just another busy time of year. In my minimal time off, it became a time to watch horror film marathons or go to Scary Farm, make Halloween treats while watching 24 hour episodes of Ghost Hunters, inventing awesome costumes while decorating our apartment with as much Nightmare Before Christmas stuff as I could get my hands on. I loved building props for decorations and creating themes for awesome get-togethers and in my early 20’s, my friends and I would turn entire houses into themed wonderlands… but now, we had small children and no money, so eventually it was bare bones and barely enough left over for costumes. In fact, once we had kids, well… we pretty much gave up. I would wear a Friday the 13th tee shirt and he would usually wear a Dracula one, and that was the extent of our “costumes”. One year I wore a witch hat with a goth dress and called it a day, another year I put on a plaid shirt and put marks all over my face and arms and was Amy Pond from “The Silence” episode and last year… I honestly don’t even remember if I attempted to dress up.
Needless to say, since I’ve had children it’s been a challenge to balance my love of Halloween and the broke/child factor. Horror movies, zombie night and paranormal hunting trips have had to battle with obligatory trick-or-treating ventures, princess costumes and bed by 9pm with absolutely no budget for any of it.
I will be honest, it’s kind of bummed me out the last few years because while there are several Halloween options for children out there, none of them are ALSO for grown ups. There are also a TON of things to do for Halloween if you’re an adult… but you must leave your children at home.
It’s frustrating. It feels like once we became parents, we only had one option; pretend we we didn’t have kids, or submit to a holiday of g-rated, largely Christian-based carnival games that ended in tantrums and tragedy because of too much sugar and not enough sleep. No one really goes the extra mile to make a truly magical Halloween experience that EVERYone can enjoy.
Then it hit me – why not create what I’m looking for? Something for both adults who love Halloween and all it has to offer, alongside their children to provide an event that could satisfy everyone. A place where adults could have fun being crafty, showing off their costuming/prop making skills, maybe playing with make-up or building something for their front yards or learning how to make cool effects for their homes while the kids are safe and enjoying what they love about it; candy, trick-or-treating, costumes, stories and games. Something that doesn’t cost a ton of money to get into, where you could pick and choose which event made sense for you and your family to participate in. Somewhere where you know you are in good company with people who love their families and being creative.
If it doesn’t exist, build it. That’s what I always tell people. So what do you think, parents? Would you go to a place for crafty Halloween lovers who ALSO have families? A place where you could come in costume, geek out with others who love it just as much as you, go to Halloween prop or make-up workshops WITH your kids that were age appropriate and safe, where you could let them trick-or-treat without fear of razorblades or hallucinogenics in their candy, have a responsible glass of wine or a few beers and maybe even enter a costume contest? If it weren’t local, would you travel to get there?
This is my early stage brainstorm brewing here, so feedback and insights are welcome, as well as ideas for how to fund a project this size.