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It’s almost Halloween and, not sure about you, but we’re definitely getting excited over here. We could all use some lightheartedness right now and if a kid in a bug costume (or superhero, super villain, cartoon heroine, or really, any costume at all) doesn’t do the trick, not sure what will. Yes, it’s going to be a different experience this year than in many years past, but there’s still a lot to look forward to.

"My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage."
-- Aunt Frances, Practical Magic

Although Halloween has become an essential part of our autumn calendar, we may not all know where the ghoulish merriment comes from. Ancient Celtic rituals, as it turns out. According to this History channel article, the Celts, who lived mostly in what is now Ireland, the United Kingdom and northern France, observed a festival called Samhain (pronounced sow-in) on the night of October 31. This was a time they believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. To mark the occasion, they would have large bonfires and don costumes to keep those ghosts at bay. Over the centuries that followed the celebrations were infused with Christian religious traditions and, ultimately, more secular, child-friendly ones like trick or treating to give us the holiday we know today.

But, what to do if you’re not taking your children house to house this year as you have before? Plenty! For starters, check out some of these great ideas from the Mountain Academy in Jackson, WY:

Plan a Hide & Seek Trick or Treat Experience: Invite your family or your pod to hunt for candy around your yard, marking it with glow in the dark bugs or paint. Your little goblins will love the chase and the reward.

Go for an Owl Hunt: Layer up in some of our merino, bring warm drinks (apple cider, hot chocolate, tea) and head out for a pre-bedtime adventure to look at the moon and llisten for owls.

Be a Witch & Make Magic Potions: Cook up this dancing rice potion, milk magic potion, or let your child create a yummier option with juices, blueberries, and blended kale or spinach. It’s good for their brain and their bellies (not that they need to know that…!)

Read Halloween classics like Room on the Broom (also a kid-friendly movie), The Little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anyone, Piggie Pie, and A Very Brave Witch.

And, while we often do focus mostly on children and their activities during Halloween, the holiday is not just for them. Check out this list of scary stories that have run in the New Yorker over the years and read them for your own annual dose of spirited, spooky, fun. If you need more than a magazine article, The Oprah Magazine has a long list of books to scare you plenty, as well. And if a movie is more up your really-way-too-dark alley, browse this selection of new horror films streaming to your TV this month.

If you happen to need a treat to eat while you’re reading or watching TV (or, obviously, for no reason at all), this list of the top 50 Halloween recipes from the Food Network would be a good place to start. By the looks of these, it probably wouldn’t be too difficult to get your little sous chefs to help you prepare them either. Strawberry cheesecake brain? Mummy muffins? Spider cookies? Sign us up.

Finally, we’ll leave you with this terrifyingly fun fact: the Guiness World Record for the fastest time to carve one tonne (that’s about 2,200 lbs) of pumpkins is 3 hours and 33 minutes.

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