When I talk about integrating with a new culture, holidays and celebrations often come up. Some holidays and celebrations align with what we believe, some don’t.
Halloween is one of the celebrations that raises a lot of questions and concerns for many immigrants. If this celebration doesn’t align with what they believe in, they worry about the influence it may have on their kids and how to protect and guide them while other kids are out enjoying this tradition. I wanted to write about how I coach my clients on this topic on this day in the hope other parents might find value in it.
For reference on this holiday, you can read about the history of Halloween here: https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween
Personally, I love this celebration. It’s a wonderful way for me and my kids to use our imagination to play dress up. In our household, we believe this fosters creativity. Plus, the kids, Marco, and I get good exercise going trick-or-treating and it’s a good chance for us to answer questions the kids ask about ghosts and what evil means. As parents, Halloween is a time for us to stay true to our values and beliefs without being afraid of this tradition and enjoying the kids’ creativity and fun with their friends and classmates. And since this celebration is highly enjoyed in our neighborhood, with bands and all, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to connect with our neighbors.
So, if you are ok with the holiday but don’t buy into the idea of ghosts and evil and have your own beliefs about that, this is a great way to educate your kids about what you believe and what you don’t believe about this celebration. You can empower yourself and your children by embracing the culture on your terms and having lots of fun with your kids, friends, and neighbors while you’re at it. Which is a win-win
However, if this holiday really makes you feel uncomfortable and it’s against your religion and your values, know that you are not alone. Even some Americans who were born and grew up here don’t celebrate Halloween. People choose not to celebrate Halloween for a variety of reasons, from religious beliefs to not feeling comfortable with the sweets.
Whatever your reasons may be, you can choose not to celebrate in an empowered way. You don’t have to feel bad or guilty about it. Don’t forget you live in a free country.
Tell your children’s school, your friends, neighbors, and coworkers that you don’t celebrate Halloween. Tell them proudly and own it. When you feel empowered in your choice you can also respect the choice of others to celebrate.
Moreover, and more importantly, remember kids learn by what they observe us do and not by what we say and how we say it. If you are coming from a place of fear and not accepting other people’s choices, they grow up to be fearful and unaccepting of others and this could be a disadvantage for our kiddos!
When you feel empowered in your choice with pride and without fear, it’s my belief that others will respect your choice and your kids will respect the values you teach them and respect others' choices at the same time. Which is a win-win