Cord and Tesha Werth’s children will wear costumes this year. According to the Werths, Halloween is about the fun of dressing up and spending time with family.
“We don’t feel like it is Satan’s holiday,” said Cord, a local youth pastor. “I think we can make it what we want it to be.”
The Werths, who have four children under age 12, said they avoid the more ghoulish costumes and stick to outfits of a lighthearted nature.
In the past their children have dressed as everything from ladybugs to Napoleon Dynamite.
“I’m going to be a cheerleader this year,” said Elias Werth, 11.
In the past, the Werths have purchased costumes from various places, but this year they will be making costumes for two of their girls.
“I’m excited about making costumes this year,” Teegan Werth, 8, said.
The Werths moved from Morton, Ill., to Hillsboro last year. They said they celebrated Halloween there even though the town was bigger than Hillsboro.
“Morton has about 16,000 (people), but it had a small-town feel so we were never concerned about trick-or-treating there,” Cord said.
Tesha said it’s nice that Hillsboro offers the Trick or Treat Main Street and Parkview Mennonite Brethren Church does Trunk or Treat, planned for 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday Oct. 30 in the church parking lot at 610 S. Main St.
If these activities weren’t available, the Werths said they still would go trick-or-treating in neighborhoods.
The Werths said their children, who have seen people dressed in gory costumes, don’t see why their own family doesn’t celebrate the dark side of Halloween since it’s just a fun activity.
Cord said he told the kids that people who dress up in gory costumes aren’t bad people, but their family chooses to celebrate in a different way.
“Some people take it overboard,” Cord said. “But we don’t feel like it is right or wrong either way.”
Tesha said families should decide the best way for their family to celebrate Halloween and it’s OK if it’s different from other families in the area.
Some other families in the area are doing just that.
Chris and Kathryn Glanzer, who have children age 11 and 7, said they like that Hillsboro puts on Trick or Treat Main Street, but it’s the only Halloween activity they participate in.
“We allow our children to do Trick or Treat Main Street, but even with this we set boundaries,” Kathryn said. “We don’t allow any morbid or gory costumes and they must be age-appropriate.”
She said her family didn’t celebrate Halloween growing up, so it has taken a bit to get used to letting her children participate.
“Our children enjoy it because of the dress up, but we try not to find any meaning in it,” Kathryn said.
She said she likes that Hillsboro celebrates Halloween by making it a community event. If her family lived in a large city, Kathryn said she definitely would not allow her children to participate.
“I think it can get dangerous and out-of-hand (in a large city), but in Hillsboro it’s a good opportunity and is safe and clean,” she said.
When her children were little and would see some of the morbid costumes, Kathryn said she would ask them how they felt about the costumes. Her kids said the costumes scared them.
Kathryn said she thinks it is inappropriate to wear ghoulish costumes around children and inappropriate to dress up like the dead.
“It’s not a good representation of what we want to be as people,” she said. “We had to draw a line for our children, but they also understand why some costumes are inappropriate.”
Rochelle N. Cecil is a Hillsboro High School graduate and wrote this story for a mass media writing class at Tabor College.