I've always been aware of the differing attitudes towards Halloween.
Growing up, some of my friends didn't participate.
My family always did but in talking with my mom years later, she shared her desire to make the day about "fun" not "scary." As a child, I never noticed. That's how good she was.
If I had realised that she was keeping us away from something or not allowing us to do something, I would have totally caused a fuss! Looking back though, I cant remember a single instance of my mother not allowing me to do something for Halloween.
My own experience as a mother is turning out quite different. Micah who only recently turned 9, has decided that he would rather not go out for Halloween then buy a suitable costume. He wants to be "death" or some other creepy thing, which I will just not allow. I caved last year and let him wear a skeleton mask with his ninja costume, but that's the farthest I've allowed it.
I understand that he's getting older and wants the costumes that his friends will think are "cool" but I just don't want to invite those kinds of things into my home. I don't mind my children dressing up in fun costumes and going around collecting candy. To me, there's no harm in that. But when they start bringing in the decorations, costumes and even pranks that are designed just to scare people, well I don't like that.
So what do I do? I won't allow him to manipulate me with his refusal to participate, but I also don't want him to miss out when at the last minute he decides that he really does want to go out. I've thought about just buying him some costume that I think he'd like and putting it away in case he changes his mind. But is that the right choice? Am I encouraging the behaviour, or rescuing him from feeling the consequences? Advice?