We've run the gamut when it comes to Halloween... from homemade costumes and trick or treating in the neighborhood...to fall festivals at church. But these both added up to the same thing. Waaaay too much candy and children who turned into fussy, begging urchins until the sugar finally ran out. It turns out when it comes to creating family traditions that the less is more philosophy works best for us.
We finally hit on the perfect way to make the evening special a few years ago. I pack the kids in the car and meet Stuart for dinner at a local restaurant and then we head to Wal-Mart. We grab a cart and start our first round of Christmas shopping. We start the season off by shopping for Operation Christmas Child. It is so much fun to spend the evening finding things we can put in a shoe box to make one little boy and one older girl happy on Christmas day. Wind-up flashlights, sunglasses, chapstick, marbles, dominoes and Tonka trucks all pass through my children's hands into the hands of another child in another country.
Tonight, a Wal-Mart employee was passing out candy as we were shopping and each child took one piece and said thank you and that was it for our crew this year. Tomorrow I don't have to referee how many Snickers each kid can have before breakfast. Bucking tradition has its advantages.