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Halloween Traditions

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

Fall and Halloween activities lead to big appetites. Check out my category Halloween and Thanksgiving for some amazing recipes.

Here on Long Island, if Halloween falls during the week, the kids go trick-or-treating right after school. Teachers don't give homework on Halloween. As a kid, I was thrilled. As a parent, I was more thrilled. (check out my category Halloween and Thanksgiving)

The first time I heard that other areas trick-or-treat in the dark, I was shocked. In my opinion, it's much more dangerous, it's colder, it's at dinnertime and it's not easy for preschool children. I'm glad we always did it our way.

My nephew and son coming home for dinner on Halloween.

The only time the kids were in the dark was when they got a bit older. They would trick or treat and have shaving cream fights with friends, right after school in the daylight, but would come home for dinner as soon as it turned dusk.

I also never heard of the porch light thing. Nah. Here, the kids just go door to door and ring the bell. If no one answers, they move on.

Of course, if Halloween falls on a weekend, kids trick-or-treat all day long.

Photo by José Ignacio Pompé on Unsplash

Photo by Rachel Loughman on Unsplash

Photo by K8 on Unsplash

My grandma used to cook us a delicious dinner of roast beef and mashed potatoes. She'd put carrots in the mashed potatoes to make them orange and decorate them with olives to make a pumpkin face! It was wonderful coming in from trick-or-treating to a warm, homemade meal!

Now my mom makes her "Halloween Soup" as it's come to be known and usually something easy after it. Hotdogs, sandwiches, and then desserts. Not only does the whole family come over, but many friends and neighbors. EVERYONE wants a bowl of mom's soup! For recipe, click link above. Gluten free pumpkin pie is the perfect ending to a fun day.

When I was a kid, we always had homemade costumes. Part of the fun was finding things around the house to create our costumes. Sometimes mom helped and sometimes Grandma would sew us things.

My sister dressed up as an old fashioned cigarette girl in a costume hand made by my grandmother. She went with a group of friends on a cruise around New York City and won a bottle of Dom Perigone as a first place prize. That was many years ago, before she was married to my now brother-in-law. Today, he wouldn't be in a costume, we all wear masks, but back then, he was just dressed as a medical person.

Top pic - my grandmother made the boys, her great grandsons, Halloween costumes. My nephew was Captain Hook and my son was Peter Pan. On my son's first Halloween, he was superman as was my nephew. Me dressed up as Raggedy Ann with my daughter and two nieces. My sister, dressed as a Court Jester with my nephew and son. We took them to her salon so she could see them as she had to work and then was going out that night.

When my son was little, before my daughter was born, I decided to have a Halloween party at my house. I put my son down for a nap and thought to myself, this would be the perfect time to put on my costume. So I did. I dressed myself up as a clown.

My poor son woke up and was terrified. He didn't know who I was until I spoke. Then he kept looking at me perplexed. I didn't realize at the time that when you are dealing with preschoolers, you should never cover your face. I put makeup on and a big red nose. It didn't go over well with the other kids either. I had to wash my face and take off my nose.

Once the kids were school age, I would leave work early so that I was home when they got off the bus every year to go around the neighborhood with friends and family trick-or-treating..

Superstorm Sandy put a damper on Halloween in much of Long Island in 2012. Where we live there wasn't much damage. Of course the media sensationalized it and made the world think all of Long Island was destroyed. No. A few trees fell by us, we lost electricity, but we didn't have the devastation the news showed and harped on that was along our shores. So, our area did trick-or-treating. It was supposedly cancelled per the "authorities" but we had no reason not to go so we did. Check out my post Hurricane Henri Hitting Long Island.

The best part, it was like a party every day after Sandy. My one sister never lost electricity, so we all piled into her house each night for a week, including our fur babies.

Some amazing costumes by everyone. One year hubby and I dressed up as a Grandma and her grandbaby (hubby was the baby - a 6 foot baby). Another year we were Thing 1 and Thing 2 and once I was the pimp and he was the hooker - with pink hair no less! One of my favorites was him as a priest and me as a nun.

We even had my daughter's annual Halloween party. We borrowed a generator from my brother-in-law and the party was on. We've had some amazing parties through the years! Check out all those amazing costumes over the years. I think her first party was in 2013 or 2014 and she had one every year since. .

On Long Island, you never know what the weather will bring. It could be 75 and sunny or 32 with sleet and wind or anything in between. We've celebrated in rain, cold, and wind and in heat where we were sweating walking through the neighborhood.

When the kids were younger, we always tried to get together as a family and take a weekend trip out east to the farms. Even our furry friends joined us. The farms generally are dog friendly. Check out my post Harbes Farm Out East North Shore Long Island.

Funny Story: Fifteen years ago I took a trip with a friend out east to the farms. I usually take a few trips each season and this time it was just the two of us and my 10 lb Yorkie.

We were walking through the pumpkin patch looking for the perfect pumpkin. I had the dog on a leash - all dogs were required to be leashed. This man came walking towards us from far out in the fields with a huge wagon loaded with three small children and pumpkins and a Great Dane whose leash was tied to the wagon. He was a well behaved dog, so I was told later.

The Great Dane saw my Yorkie and thought - hmmmm, snack! It came charging at us, dragging the wagon with the kids and the pumpkins in it and the man running after it screaming for Danny to stop. Yes, the dog was named Danny.

I yanked my dog up by her harness, turned and ran. I was running, screaming, thinking I was going to be attacked by a vicious beast who was going to eat my dog. The man was running trying to stop the dog. Kids and pumpkins were bouncing out of the wagon and everyone in the nearby surroundings was watching the whole fiasco.

Danny caught up to me, I was no match for him. He leapt up and knocked me down face first into the ground. I moved my Yorkie under me, in a bid to protect her, but she was in fighting mode. I thought I was a goner. I thought she was lunch.

Danny plopped on top of me, covering my entire body. My dog was growling to protect me, my friend was screaming for help and the man finally reached Danny and yanked his leash, pulling him back.

Turns out Danny was not an attack dog. He spotted my dog and was excited to come play. Danny licked me all over as I lay on the ground and again once I was helped up and he made friends with my Yorkie.

The man ran back to gather his children, who were unhurt, and his pumpkins, which survived the trauma.

He had tied the dog to the wagon to give the kids a thrill. The dog was pulling them through the pumpkin patch. They got a thrill alright! Had that been today, it would have gone viral on the internet. I'm glad it wasn't today.

Our furry friends are always part of our celebrations. They too love Halloween and to go trick-or-treating and to parties and the farms!

After a day on the farms, trick-or-treating or partying, everyone has a good appetite. Check out my category, Halloween and Thanksgiving for some amazing recipes.

Wishing everyone a fun Halloween. Start those traditions if you don't already have them. Make those memories. Have fun and be safe.

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