A Nature-Led Halloween

Flowers and pumpkins

In the U.S. we celebrate Halloween on October 31st every year. Oddly enough, when I searched “Which countries celebrate Halloween?” I found a listing of the “Top 14” countries (Wait, 14? Yep.) and the U.S. wasn’t even included on the list! Well I suppose we can’t be first of everything, all the time. At least IRELAND, the birthplace of All Hallows Eve made the list at number 10. Who made this list? Author unknown. Let’s take this ordered ranking with a pinch of salt because no one saw fit to attach their name or justification for it.

One of these years I would love to visit our neighbors to the south, aka Mexico, to experience Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead.) What a wonderful cultural tradition to feast with the spirits of deceased family members in a day of love and remembrance. Everything about it is visual eye candy from the sugar skulls, painted faces, beautiful dresses and black suits.

Here in the U.S. kids run around in the dark going door to door yelling “Trick or Treat” and receiving candy. We pretty much just ignore the “Trick” part of the equation. If you’re considered mean, or if the kids are just mean, you might get eggs thrown at your house, but that’s not very common. If you don’t want to give out candy just keep your porchlight off and the little gremlins will ignore your house like moths looking for the next porchlight to gather around.

I’ve always enjoyed Halloween, myself. I think its fun to dress up and be something different for a night.

Last year, I was sad to think the kids wouldn’t get to celebrate Halloween as usual and while we did have to do things a little differently, many of us still had a lot of fun. I took my son and many people left candy out, so that it felt more like a scavenger hunt. A few neighbors dressed warmly and tossed candy up and over for the kids to catch like pop-up flyballs at the baseball stadium.

This is what I did: We had our window blinds open and waved at the kids as they came to grab a bag off the line. Normally we get eight or nine trick or treaters with a bunch of candy leftover, but last year we got at least 20! I have no idea what to expect this year.

Pandemic Halloween 2020

I’ll be doing this same “Clothesline candy system” again this year.

The vaccine was just approved for children 2-11 years old this week. They’ll be receiving 1/3 of the adult dose. Hopefully many kids can start getting vaccinated by Thanksgiving (November 25th.)

What is Cultural Appropriation? Dressing up to mimic a person of another race in a stereotypical or satirical way. Hollywood was guilty of this for a number of years, often trying to generate comedic value from it. Look no further than Micky Rooney’s character Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961). I don’t think we need to ban everything with offensive content in it. Put a notice on it calling it out for what it is and lets do better to eliminate these prejudices moving forward. Indigenous people’s regalia (headdresses and dress) are not Halloween costumes. They are religious and cultural artifacts. It’s good to admire people of different backgrounds and ethnicities, but don’t attempt to change your skin tone in the name of some misplaced attempt at authenticity. It’s offensive. If you weren’t born Black, don’t put on a “Black face.” When in doubt, go as a tree, or a dog, or some other non-human being. They have no idea what this craziness is all about and aren’t likely to get upset about it. The family dog would love it if you dressed up as soft and fluffy as they are for some couch loafing time.

When I was a kid I alternated between two costumes that I loved from grades 2nd to 6th grade, Generic Princess and the Wicked Witch of the West from Wizard of Oz. My nose kept falling off so I guess I was really just a kid in green face paint. I’ve also been a pirate and Cleopatra. My last “costume” was as a tired mom. It was really cold that year so I threw on my fuzzy bathrobe over my overcoat and walked around with a thermos full of coffee. Somewhere around the eighth house visited I got some Kahlua poured into it. That was nice.

How to make it a Nature-Led Halloween:

Re-use decorations for as long as you can year after year. (Simple is best in my opinion. It takes me 15 minutes to put up/put away Halloween each year and I’ve had these things for at least ten years now.)

Be mindful about the decorations you put outside. Is it secure from the elements like rain and wind? Does it have the potential to trip or tangle up people or animals? Do not use fake spiderwebs or netting outdoors. These have been known to harm and kill owls, bats, and small birds.

Use natural decorations like pumpkins that can last for weeks, often times all the way to Thanksgiving. Then compost them when they get moldy or if its an edible pumpkin or gourd, eat it before it has a chance to go bad.

Use natural elements from around your yard to spruce up a display or flower container. You can use dried leaves on a length of twine to create a banner.

Prices are getting quite high these days for a lot of items. I really wanted some flowers, so I bought the most inexpensive ones I could find and added some fern fronds from the yard to give the arrangement more height and variation. I like how it turned out. What do you think?

Simple Flower Arrangement parts
Simple Flower Arrangement

A “brief” list of countries that celebrate Halloween: https://thecountriesof.com/what-countries-celebrate-halloween-around-the-world/#:~:text=What%20Countries%20Celebrate%20Halloween%20Around%20the%20World%201,Kong.%20…%2010%20Ireland.%20…%20More%20items…%20

Do you celebrate Halloween?

What do you do to celebrate?