Traditions Old and New


I was looking for a photo today to include with a post on my Facebook page and realized how many totally awesome traditions my family has surrounding fall and Halloween. Sure there are the usual ones such as dressing up, handing out candy, and trick-or-treating, but there are some unique if not totally traditional ones as well.

When I was fourteen my family moved from Southern California to Lake Tahoe. Our first fall in the area my mother wanted to take a picnic to an area near a river where the trees are exceptionally beautiful. The entire family gathered to pack a lunch and make the forty minute journey to this fairly isolated spot. It rained. Did that stop us? Heck no. My mom insisted that we have our lunch in the rain, and while I thought she was nuts at the time, we ended up having a really good time. After that first year we started a tradition of making the pilgrimage to that same spot every October. When I married and had children they, along with the children of my siblings, joined the event, and when my own children married and had children of their own I began bringing my grandchildren.


Another of our traditions is to take the family to a place known as Apple Hill. It is basically a place where you can walk through a maze made from hay bails, pick pumpkins from a patch, buy local crafts, feed farm animals, and of course eat everything apple. You can also ride a pony, take a trip on a train, and pick your own fruit to bring home. There have been years when as many as thirty family members made the trip together.

1959  1893  1991 1988

In addition to our outdoor activities we also gather together every year for a Halloween party. Or at least we did when the kids were younger. I make my famous nachos and we watch The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown together as a group. One year I even got a piñata for the kids. I mean it’s not like they were going to get enough candy trick-or-treating. And let’s not forget the annual harvest festival at the local elementary school. We still attend that event.

1908 1868 1874 1946

So tell me about your Halloween and/or fall traditions. Comment below to be entered to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card. I will announce the winner on my Facebook page Saturday morning.


80 thoughts on “Traditions Old and New

  1. Brenda Rozek says:

    Nothing as exciting as yours. Hot chocolate and hot cider while taking the grandchildren on a hayride while trick or treating.

  2. Brandy Barber says:

    We live in a small one light town. We are backroads surrounded by sumter national forest. There is a main St and downtown that everyone goes trick or treating on. Everyone meets in yards, parkd up town, library parking lot and the local churches to hand out candy. It’s a big thing. Then everyone heads to the town gym for a carnival. We have a dj, blow ups for the kids, games, cotton candy/food, and a all ages old to baby costume contest. We always do trick or treat on Saturday. So this year worked out great. We sometimes drag in at 11 or 12 bc you don’t want to leave and miss anything. The kids are to tired to eat candy or sometimes change but we had fun.

  3. Jeannie D. says:

    We have an annual Halloween party. Every year I come up with ghoulish food, renaming everything with befitting Halloween names. every year we pick a different theme. Last year it was the mad scientist lab. The grandkids dress up and sometimes the adults do too. Games and fun.

  4. Laurie Bergh says:

    Our church has “trunk to trunk” for trick or treat. Everybody parks in the church parking lot, we have candy ready and the kids go from car to car and get their treats. We get to see the kids and their cute costumes, the kids are safe but and still get to do the trick-or-treating thing. Not quite the same as going door to door like when I was a kid but they love it .

  5. Ruth Nixon says:

    When I was young Halloween was always at the school and the PTA had a whole school haunted house, white elephant sale, cake walk, food was sold and ended with a huge bonfire and a costume parade. My boys had it very simple in our small town with treat or treating with parents walking door to door with the kids ending at home with friends and hot chocolate. The last son came 12years after the first three and Apple Hill was added. The grandsons have it so much different with lots of farms nearby offering lots of different kinds of things to do with mazes, corn bath baths tractor rides but costly. Their schools have costume parades and simple parties. Then later the whole down town opens up and hands out small gifts to eager kids. and then home for dinner costumes back on and trick or treating nearby. October has already seen 3 family birthday parties too… So October is a busy month for us.

  6. October has been all about Halloween since my kids were babies. The usual costumes and trick or treating but also my love of Halloween type movies. When they were really little of course it was kid type shows but as they got a little older we always spend Halloween watching scary shows together. Of course we have our favorites that are must see’s such as The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown, Hocus Pocus, Casper, and all the Halloween Town series. They are in their 20’s now and we still set down and watch scary shows together in Oct. 🙂

  7. Linda Kleback says:

    I put decorations outside and hand out candy. My adult daughter is a librarian and dresses up for Halloween at work so I help with her costume.

  8. Linda May says:

    When my son was in grade school at Halloween time we use to take him to this Haunted Trail in the words, having all kinds of monsters popping out at you as you walked thru, at the end of the trail they had a Witch’s Garden Party with hot chocolate of hot apple cider & warm donuts, so it was worth getting cold & scared because at the end you were treated to goodies. Thanks for the gift card giveaway.

  9. Your family traditions sound so wonderful!

    The kids in my family always dressed up and went trick-or-treating on Halloween, often bringing home large paper bags FULL of candy!

    On Thanksgiving, it was mostly just the family still at home and a cousin who would drive down from Georgia to eat a large meal with leftovers enough for three more days. We had a large family so the table was always crowded.

  10. We usually go trick-or-treating in a friend’s neighborhood so we can walk as a group of families.

    We started a new tradition last year of going to a local event where the kids visit the “homes” of various fairy tale characters in the woods to collect treats and prizes.

  11. Trick or treating used to be what we used to do. I decorate my door for the most part but don’t hand out candy anymore. Kids stop coming to the neighborhood I am in because it’s gone down hill in the last few years. Kids go to our mall now to trick or treat or private parties.

  12. Candance Bise says:

    We are involved with our church’s trunk or treat! Tons of real food, moon bounce, hay rides, pony rides, face painting and of course candy! For my Beloved and I, we try and make sure we get a leaves changing drive in, at least once for the season.

  13. alice says:

    Except for candy corn, we do something different every year depending on what is going on around town. When my son was little, I used what my mom taught me and made him costumes every year. Two that made me puff out my chest a little bit were his cow costume and his Anakin Skywalker (as a boy) costume.
    Mom treated me to some awesome ones like Martha Washington and a cute as pie red and white polka dot old fashioned bathing suit complete with hat and bloomers.
    I still love to dress up but I am usually figuring out on the fly. Still trying to figure it out for this year!

  14. We (my husband & I) have no relatives or even more than a friend or two, so no traditions at all. We have moved 27 times in 35 years (33 married). Poster children for how not to end up. lol But we don’t feel the lack, so it’s all good. Hard to miss what you never had.

  15. Mary Jane Hopper says:

    Trick or treating at our neighborhood farmers and going to town to treat grandparents was the only tradition we had and that ended all too soon. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

  16. Barbara Hawk says:

    My only fall tradition is to make cocoa from scratch every year! I love it! Of course we used to trick or treat. Happy afall!

  17. My little brother was the king of Trick or Treaters! He’d take shopping bags with him and as he filled them, he’s deposit the full bag in a safe spot, then carry on his route til he had filled all his bags. He’s return home, enlist either our father or eldest sib to drive him to his stashes for pick up. It was not unusual for him to have collected 20+ lbs of candy! Unbelievable! That work ethic continues to this day but not for candy 😉

  18. Myra Ball says:

    Me and the kids make a special time to carve pumpkins and they start planning ahead of time. We usually carve too early and have mushy pumpkins by Halloween. We live in a very rural area of north Alabama and my little community of maybe 15 houses is surrounded by a national forest and we are mostly all related so we drive to trick or treat since our houses aren’t close to each other. No one really has a next door neighbor. It’s more of a next hill and hollow over neighbor. We visit the same houses and our family fixes big bags for the kids so they get a lot of candy. The kids will pile in a vehicle and pile out at each houses. No walking from house to house. After we do our 10 or so houses in our tiny community then we usually go to the valley to our church for a carnival in the church gym or trunk or treat.

  19. Darlene says:

    Going to the pumpkin patch to pick out just the perfect pumpkins for carving, they have hay rides and fun things to do there for the whole family.

  20. robeader says:

    My family enjoys visiting our area apple farm. We enjoy their apple cider and cider donuts. They have fun items for kids to play on and a hay wagon ride. We also enjoy decorating our home for Halloween in a non-scary way for the young little Trick or Treaters. Just the opportunity to watch the leaves change on the trees is great here in northeast Ohio along Lake Erie.

  21. peggy clayton says:

    Wow nothing like yours we used to take the kids to the HMB pumpkin patch over near HWY1 and then go to breakfast over in at the pier in El Granada then we would head home. The next weekend we would walk the streets in Burl to look at the store front windows as they were always so fall and festive before they put up they’re christmas decos then the night before Halloween we would have pizza and then after came out all the newspaper and we carved the pumpkins with all 3 kids.

  22. Mu husband loved to decorate for Halloween night. he’d have the black light. One year he had a coffin and our granddaughter laid in it. Now that he’s gone we don’t do any fancy decorations. We put the fire pit in the driveway and sit around it – passing out the candy. The son and daughter and their families come over. I make chili, hot tamales, hot dogs, spaghetti, and have all the fixings to go along with those. I make the first pumpkin pie of the season and it’s a big hit.
    It’s a fun evening – seeing how the kids dress and just visiting with everyone who comes by.

  23. Christi King says:

    When my sister and I were young, we would go trick-or-treating and also go to the carnival at our elementary school. As we got older, though, it was usually just me trick-or-treating. My sister had asthma as a child and always seemed to get sick when the weather changed. As an adult, I really don’t have any traditions, although I do enjoy Trunk or Treat at my church every Halloween.

  24. Sharon Forrest says:

    My favorite activities are visiting the pumpkin patch, decorating a pumpkin with my grandchildren and collecting tootsie rolls from my kiddos at school. It is a little joke between the kids and me.

  25. Your traditions sound like so much fun! Growing up or tradition was just wachinh The Great Pumpkin & going treat or treating. I don’t have any, but when my sister’s first two kids were little, I used to like to enjoy joining them for trick or treating. I’m not able to do that with the youngest because I can’t walk far these days. I would have loved to have done more but I was always outvoted.

  26. I use to take the kids and Grandkids trick or treating but now my husband and I watch a movie and eat chocolate and drink coffee. Fall activities for the family is to take the grandkids to the Pumpkin Patch to pick out pumpkins and then cidar mill for apples and cidar.

  27. Michele Hayes says:

    Our kids are grown and none of them are married so we don’t have any Halloween traditions any more, unless you count my husband and I taking a cruise every year over Halloween.

  28. Elaine Robinson says:

    One of my Halloween traditions that I recently began is apple picking at a farm. The delicious apples are a Fall favorite of mine, along with apple cidar and donuts. Another tradition is the yearly Cape Cod Doxie Day near my home where one of the contests includes dressing up your doxie or wiener wannabe. My mini dachshund does not like costumes but we enjoy watching the parade of doxies dressed like the Pope, the New England Patriots and those Great White Sharks that now spend time in Cape Cod waters. So for me, Halloween has began a few new traditions that are fun.

  29. Kathleen Costa says:

    Growing up Halloween was an exciting time. We always dressed up to the max, decorated the front porch in pumpkins and streamers, and had lots of candy ready for treating. My elementary school always had a Fall Carnival during that week giving us kids an extra day to wear our costumes, try to win a cake at the “cake walk,” play all the games, and be with our friends! When in sixth grade, my first official kiss was dressed as a wicked witch riding on the hay ride around the grassy field area. Yeah!! I love Halloween memories!

  30. Janet says:

    I made a ceramic jack-o-lantern when my daughter was very small. It comes out each year along with a number of stuffed ghosts that land around the house.

  31. sb8857 says:

    I love your Fall activities! Picnic in the rain or sun, Apple Hill, a school festival, and your own personal family Halloween with Peanuts! What fun for all! Our Halloween traditions are, or have been, parties with games,get-togethers to carve Jack- O Lanterns, making treat bags to hand out, and my husband waiting on the porch in his scariest mask to jump out and “Boo,” the trick or treaters!! 🙂

  32. Marsha C says:

    We would go to the pumpkin patch, do all the activities then go home and carve our pumpkins. Now our son is in college so we make a trip to see him and take in the changing leaves

  33. Wanda downs says:

    I love halloween and decorating and passing out candy to all the cute dressed up kids. I have a large stuffd pumpkin and one year my daughters boyfriend put an engagement ring on its ribbon and asked her to marry him So wvery year out comes the stuffed pumpkin but now its at my daughter and her husbands house. Their kids still love to hear the story

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