In front of my kids’ preschool there is a house with Halloween “decorations” that look like a graveyard with bones and bloody hands and feet lying around. We’ve walked by there once and have been avoiding it ever since. Now, I’m not saying there’s any harm in dressing up, but as a mother of young children I’ve started to see the world through their eyes. And in their eyes, dressing your yard in bloody body parts is terrifying. Their little minds don’t quite understand. You have to admit, it’s a strange custom. Where does all this come from? And how do you explain the blood and gore in front of their schools?

Halloween, or Hallowe’en, is a contraction of All Hallows’ Eve, also known as All Saints’ Eve. It is a celebration observed in a number of countries on October 31st, the eve of the Western Christian celebration of All Hallows’ Day, also called All Saints’ Day or All Souls’ Day.  Some view All Souls’ Day as an extension of All Saints’ Day and it serves to remember those who have died.

As a world traveler, I’ve witnessed some of these foreign celebrations. In many parts of the world, the Christian religious customs include going to church and lighting candles on the graves of the dead. In other parts of the world it is a more commercial celebration. The common theme for everyone is that it is a holiday about spirits, or souls.

Most of us are familiar with our bodies, a little less with our minds, but probably least with our souls. The scary part about Halloween for children is to deal with the part that their little minds have trouble grasping, the fact that it is a holiday commemorating those who have left their earthly bodies and have gone back to the world of spirits.

The question here is, how do we help our kids understand all this? What do we chose to feed their minds? What we need to be aware of is that everything they see or hear influences what they think, dream, imagine…

The challenge is that the mind is designed to look for the negative. Why? Because it helps us stay alive! So we have a tendency to focus on the negative. Now in emergencies, focusing on the negative for survival’s sake (fight or flight) is a good thing, but in our day-to-day lives it can influence our thoughts, our happiness, and our health!

Instead of feeding our minds and our children’s minds scary, negative things, we can chose to feed them the positive. Help your child see the full picture, tell them about celebrating the spirits, the part of us that never dies, rather than focusing on scary dead bodies.

As we all know, there is more to health and well-being than focusing on positive things. What we feed our bodies can also have a huge impact, especially for our children. Every holiday can be challenging for parents, but Halloween is the pinnacle of candy overload. So, where did trick or treating come from? And how can we have fun without getting exposed to all the junk that’s in the candy?

Since the Middle Ages there has been a tradition involving going door-to-door in costume, performing short scenes or parts of plays in exchange for food or drink. The custom of trick-or-treating on Halloween may come from the belief that the souls of the dead roamed the earth at this time and needed to be appeased.

Indeed, it is fun to get all dressed up and go knock on doors to collect candy. My kids have been discussing which costumes they want to wear and which friends they want to go with for weeks now. Of course we don’t want to miss the fun! But careful with the things you put in and on their little bodies!

The skin is the biggest organ of the body, and face paint can be toxic and leave itchy painful rashes, sometimes even turning into eczema. So a mask may be a better choice. Also, get ready to hand out organic candy with no HFCS or toxic food dyes (check out Yummyearth on Amazon), and keep some to exchange for the junk your kids will bring home. On Halloween night, I am going to turn into the mom witch who exchanges junk candy for organic candy, non GMO chocolate, and other little toys they love, like new markers, little animal erasers, or anything from the arts and crafts department.

For more information on how to keep your children healthy and happy, check out my children’s book series, Kids’ Questions About Life, a trilogy on body, mind, and soul. The book on the soul will be released later this year.

Happy Halloween and keep them healthy and happy!