Halloween: A Jewish Spin

3-8, 9-12

Want to put some Jewish flavor in grandkids’ favorite day? Halloween. It’s not just about candy. It’s also about neighborhood gatherings, carving pumpkins, school parades, and decorating outside and in with ghosts, goblins, and cobwebs.

For children it remains mostly about candy. But it can be an occasion for giving, too. Remember trick-or-treating with small boxes to collect coins for UNICEF? You can pass along this tradition and make tzedakah part of trick-or-treating (the grandkids can share ideas with fellow trick-or-treaters) and add meaning to costumes by fashioning them after the Jewish heroes and heroines who inspire us.


Create a simple tzedakah box.
Click HERE for an easy how-to.

Where should the money go? A favorite charity? The child’s school? A community drive? A local shelter? Make that a family conversation. If you’re not near your grandkids, share in the experience on video conference as they make their box. Perhaps make your own at the same time, following their lead. Join in the family conversation.

Consider arranging a Halloween fundraiser.
From dollar-a-head pumpkin-carving contests to haunted houses, Halloween activities are naturals for fundraising.

Click HERE to visit donorbox and find a range of fundraising ideas.

Even if the event raises $15, it makes kids proud and may set them on the road to lifelong giving. This activity too can easily be shared on video conference—explore fundraising options with your grandchild. Perhaps contribute a few dollars of your own.



Share the sweets.
Have your grandchildren divide their loot, setting aside candy for others whose day will be brightened by it. Challenge them to give from the candy they like the most. (It’s harder to give away candy they’re fond of!) Ronald McDonald House Charities and Treats for Troops accept candy donations.

Click HERE to find more available information.


Dress Up with Jewish Flair

Send a message with your costume.
Move over Elsa and Spiderman. How about crafting a costume inspired by a favorite Jewish hero or heroine such as Queen Esther, Moses, Judah Maccabee? Maybe your grandkids have a more contemporary hero such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Gretta Thunberg, or a sports figure or local leader.

Jewish values teach children to respect their planet and kids today are budding environmentalists. Consider an original costume of an endangered plant or animal species or make a statement with a cloak of recyclables. Even if your grandkid wants to head out as a kosher hot dog, whether bought or homemade, grandparents can get in on the act by foraging in their attics, basements, and jewelry boxes, or taking kids on a thrift shop outing.

Click HERE for a list of do-it-yourself costume ideas for kids.

Keep in mind that with all its focus on dressing up, collecting candy, and setting out glowing jack-o’-lanterns, Halloween is among the most social of holidays, a chance for all the neighbors to gather as their children revel in the sheer fun of it.