Starting A New Family Halloween Tradition: 5 Free Or Cheap Ideas

Starting A New Family Halloween Tradition: 5 Free Or Cheap Ideas
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The importance of developing traditions has really hit me again since Zoe (our tempestuous 2 year old) started questioning our Halloween traditions.

“Why do we have a Halloween tree?  Jane doesn’t have a Halloween tree.”

“Adam and Peter across the street already haaaaave their pumpkins!  When do we get oooouuuurs?”

I forgot how important these moments were in cementing us as a family–how excited Zachie and MacLean still get at age 13 when we start dragging out the fall wreathes.

If you didn’t have a lot of tradition growing up, or maybe you’re in a new relationship and want to begin to create your own, here’s some ideas to get you started:

Starting A Halloween Tradition: 5 Fun Ideas

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1. The Halloween Tree.  The Todd and I scout relentlessly for just the right tree branch to create our Halloween tree.  Plop it in a bucket of sand or Quick-Mix cement and you’re ready to decorate.  I found the perfect one from a hillside fire by our home–half burned, eerie, awesome.  The kids create paper bats and spiders, and we string it with Dollar Store cobwebs and crows.  Throw on some purple and orange lights and viola!

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2.  The Pumpkin Patch.  Yes, I know you can get pumpkins cheaper and faster from the just outside the grocery store.  But do not underestimate the sheer Awesome of taking the kids out to a farm where they pick their own…play with goats…get covered in dirt and hay…there’s really nothing better.  Our personal favorite here in Utah is Black Island Farms, where you can make a day of it.  They usually have discount coupons on their website by now.  There’s an excellent, comprehensive list of Pumpkin Patches from all over the country as well.

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3. The First Fire Of Fall.  HUGE around the Collard house and we often cave before it’s really, truly chilly.  We’re lucky to have a fire pit in the back yard, but a fireplace inside works just as well.  You need to have a good, chilly night, popcorn, apples and scary stories.  We try to make it on a weekend so we can all sleep around the fire that night.

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4. Pick Your Five Favorite Scary Shows For Movie Night.  Here’s our “must haves” and some thought starters for you.

  • It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
  • The Corpse Bride
  • Ghostbusters
  • Addams Family
  • The Curse Of The Were Rabbit
  • The Wizard Of Oz
  • Beetlejuice
  • Frankenweenie
  • Monsters, Inc.
  • Monster House
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5.  Visit A Creepy Old Graveyard For Some Tombstone Rubbings.  We’re lucky to live by the historic Salt Lake City cemetery, home of the uber-scary Emo’s Grave (say his name three times and he comes out and chases you around his tomb.)  Take some paper and pencils to make rubbings of some of the beautiful old tombstones.  They make great decorations and the kids love the find “their” rubbings from years past.  As the kids get older, it’s fun to spin stories about some of the tombstones there…what the people were like…what kind of lives did they live?

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