From the time our children were toddlers, my husband felt very strongly that observing Halloween in the traditional sense was not a good practice. He contended that it fostered selfishness and mischief. I found myself defending the tradition, remembering warmly my own childhood experiences.

But times have changed. When the fun and excitement of dressing up changes to “How much candy can I get?” or “I’m too big for all this kids’ stuff, but I’ve got to do something tonight,” what can parents do to change the focus of Halloween?

We held a family council with our five children, ranging in ages from seven years down to one month, and offered an alternative which has since become our own tradition: The week preceding Halloween at our family home evening we choose five families who are close to us or who need friendshipping. On Halloween day we all work together to prepare our “treat.” On Halloween night each child delivers the treat to one of the families. Then we all go out together for ice cream or a movie.

Not once has one of our children wanted to change back to the older tradition. Also, the joy that comes from giving on Halloween instead of receiving has seemed to add spirit to the holiday season that follows. Sherry Morrill, El Cajon, California