My bright idea

Posted by The Wizzle | Posted on Thursday, October 28, 2010 at 7:29 PM


So, I've been stewing a little bit about how to handle Halloween this year.

I'm Mormon, and I live in Mesa (aka Little Provo) and Halloween is on Sunday. I'll preface this by saying that I don't have any problem with any choice any individual makes in this situation (can't seem to bring myself to get worked up about someone going with the flow of their own locality and visiting their neighbors on a Sunday evening once every seven years) but I personally was having a little trouble. We just moved, and our new neighborhood is definitely peppered with Mormons, but it's very far from every house, or every other house. I didn't know how everyone was going to handle it. Do people here observe Halloween on Sunday? Does everyone mutually agree to "move" it to Saturday? I couldn't seem to get a straight answer.

My ward held a trunk-or-treat a few days ago, on a night we could not attend. And besides - no offense to anyone who isn't with me - but I think trunk-or-treating is the most soulless activity ever invented, and I hate it. Hate. Really, we have an opportunity to go around and say good evening to all of our neighbors (what a rarity that is at all anymore!) and we section ourselves off into groups (yes, Mormons, I kind of am looking at you), remove ourselves from the neighborhood at large, and line our cars up in a parking lot, depriving our kids the fun of ringing the doorbell and literally making it *all* about the candy grab? Whose genius idea was this? I can see it if you live in an unsafe neighborhood, or in a place that is too rural or spread out to allow for walking, but that's definitely not what is going on here in my town.

My kids don't fall for it, and neither do I. I'm old-fashioned in a lot of ways, and this is one of them. Trick-or-treating means going door-to-door, saying "hello" and "thank you" and introducing yourself if you don't yet know the person handing you a Baby Ruth. Devlin looked at me like I had snakes for hair when I asked if he would be satisfied with only going to a trunk-or-treat this year.

Still, we agreed that running door to door hollering for candy was not an ideal sort of Sabbath activity, and if possible we should make other arrangements. My parents' ward is hosting their trunk-or-treat on Saturday night, and we have planned to go to that to satisfy the kid-approved candy-grab quotient of the holiday. But I still wasn't sure what to do about Sunday night. Should we just cave and go around our neighborhood? Would people even be expecting us Sunday night? Would they be expecting us Saturday? This doesn't exactly come up very often and I was getting different answers from everyone I talked to. My fellow Mormons thought I was nuts for worrying about it ("why not just go to the ward activity?" *headscratch*) and my non-Mormon friends are sort of irritated at the whole situation because they, too - like it or not - now have the problem of trying to figure out what the devil (pun intended) is going on this year.

Tonight, I came up with the perfect solution, and I'm sharing it not because I'm out to toot my horn, or because I think everyone should do it, but because I had a legitimate dilemma and I think I've hit upon a fabulous compromise and I thought someone else might be in the same ghoulish boat and could use an oar.

Saturday, we will trunk-or-treat in a scenic church parking lot. Sunday, we will trick-or-treat for UNICEF. If you don't know how it works, you go into Toys- or Babies-R-Us and get a little orange box for free. Each kiddo takes the box around, rings the doorbell, and says "trick or treat!" But instead of filling a pillowcase with candy corn, the little orange box fills with spare change from each house, and at the end of the night we have a nice little pile to send to UNICEF. I can hardly think of a more appropriate activity for the Lord's Day.

My kids get their candy, I have a clean conscience all around, and we all get a much-needed reminder that not everyone's biggest problem is how many times they get to fill a plastic pumpkin with sugar in any given weekend.

You're welcome.

Comments (6)

We've run into the same problem here in St. George. We are one of the few non-Mormon families in our neighborhood and I'm not sure when we're supposed to go trick-or-treating.

Now if St. George was only big enough to have a Babies R Us, I would totally follow in your footsteps. What a great idea!

That's awesome, Rachel! That's a wonderful way for the kids to do a service and I think that will be a valuable lesson to them in later years. Very, very cool! Hope it all goes well!

I COMPLETELY agree with you on the trunk-or-treating thing. Even as a kid I thought it was a lifeless way to spend my Halloween.

We had issues with Halloween and our ward last year. Our old ward was a little less than 50% Mormon and if you were to walk every street in our ward boundaries, you MIGHT walk a mile. The ward decided to have the ward activity at the church during prime trick-or-treating time. I thought it was awful that the party would alienate the non members or inactive ones, so we stayed home. Sure enough! When kids rang our door bell and we were actually home, they got all kinds of excited. It was kinda sad, but I'm glad we were home to be good neighbors.

I love your UNICEF idea! That sounds like an excellent way to turn a Sunday Halloween into a chance to serve!

Great idea! We did a trunk-or-treat a few years ago when we lived in a crazy hilly and unsafe area. It totally made sense then, but I couldn't quite pin the reason why I don't like them now that we live in Southern Utah. I think you worded my feelings well!

My mom's neighborhood does a neighborhood party every year on Halloween. They decided to still do it on Sunday this year. Her neighbor (non member) told her, "I understand that the Mormons don't want to go out on Sunday, but last time Halloween fell on a Sunday they all went out on Saturday and I gave them candy. My family went out on Sunday and all the Mormons who came to my door had their doors shut and lights off." This neighbor found the behaviour hypocritical and I would have to agree.

The area I live in now is not as "momron populated" as where I grew up and I know the kids are totally excited to pass out candy on Sunday! I'm liking the donation idea and may have to steal that next year. My kids got WAY too much candy this year! =)

~Michelle (Mollenhauer)

The UNICEF thing is a super idea. I've never heard of that. I'm glad it was a success.

I have to just say one thing about the Sunday/Halloween dilemma. I think we sometimes forget that Mormons are not the only ones that believe in the 10 commandments and keep the sabbath holy. Granted, this is coming from someone that lives in Utah, but at least it's not the Utah County bubble.:) Our neighborhood is pretty similar to Mesa, with about 1/4 to 1/3 of it being LDS. I wasn't sure what to do about the Sunday trick-or-treating thing also, because I didn't want to seem holier-than-thou. But it totally wasn't even an issue. The streets were packed on Saturday night and all but one house (who gave out an unwrapped Keebler cookie instead) was ready with candy. I wondered if kids would take advantage of the double-trick-or-treat possibility, but I was surprised that we did not get a single trick-or-treater on Sunday. I was impressed and reminded again that Mormons aren't that different from any one else with a religious background. And it feels good to not be so peculiar after all. :)

I'm loving hearing so many different perspectives! I really wasn't sure what the norm would be around here.

As it turns out, we only had one person come by for candy on Saturday - a group of teenage girls who said they would come back Sunday too! Nice. An email went around in our ward where people could "reply all" and say if they were going to be going out/passing out candy Saturday night. But I'm WAY too lazy, and again it defeats the whole fun and spirit of Halloween, to put my kids in the CAR and drive them around to cherry-picked houses to collect candy from only the "approved" people. Just feels weird to me, personally. SO we didn't do it. :)

Sunday was definitely the big trick-or-treat night in our neighborhood. The streets were full, and it was fun to be out with everyone but know that we were doing it in a way that definitely felt right for us!