Build Community: BOO Your Neighbors
I’ve never been a Halloween fanatic. Sure, it’s fun, but I don’t get all crazy about dressing up and decorating the house. I leave that to my husband, who has enough Halloween spirit for the both of us! But I do love all of the Halloween activities that bring us together as a family and connect us with our community – our town’s annual Halloween parade, a friend’s Halloween party, carving pumpkins together, and of course trick-or-treating!
Then there are the neighborhood traditions. Three years ago someone (whose identity is still a mystery!) boo’ed us, and we have been boo’ed every year since! I think our neighbors do like us – being boo’ed is a neighborly act in this case. The gist of it is that the person being boo’ed finds a bag of Halloween goodies at their doorstep, left there by some mysterious “lil’ ghouls,” and pays it forward to two more friends or neighbors, so that the fun continues being passed around. We’ve since moved to a new neighborhood, but I fully intend to introduce this tradition to our new neighbors – I already have my “boo bags” ready to go!
There are so many ways we can build community and connect with our neighbors. There are big things – like block parties or ice cream socials or holiday open houses – but just as meaningful are the little things we can do day to day. A real, lasting sense of community comes from chatting with a neighbor passing by for a walk, inviting the family next door for a play date, seeing your neighbors each morning at the bus stop, or offering to watch a neighbor’s children for a few minutes before school so she can get to work on time. And, of course, from boo’ing them at Halloween!
Want to start boo’ing? Here’s all you need:
- Two bags. We had one boo’er leave us an adorable felt bag, but I usually just pick up Halloween-themed gift bags. Really, any bag is fine!
- Two copies each of the Boo letter and Boo sign – one for each bag. The links should take you to copies to print or download.
- Goodies for your bags. I try to keep it simple because spending too much or getting too fancy might discourage others from keeping the game going, if they feel they can’t “match” what you’ve done. Dollar stores and craft stores are full of inexpensive, fun things, and you can fill a bag for just a few dollars. For instance, one year we received a mix of Halloween stickers, pencils, a simple craft, and some fun stick-on mustaches. My youngest, who was two-and-a-half at the time, had a blast making the bat craft and found a creative use for one of those mustaches on his bat!
Then, simply leave the bags on two neighbors’ doorsteps, being sure they don’t see you. My boys of course love the “being sneaky” part! The boo’ing usually starts mid-October and lasts until Halloween. Happy Boo’ing!
Click images to download Boo Printables:
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ABOUT ELLIE: Ellie is the Editor of the Family Room at BonBon Break and blogs at Musing Momma, where she shares inspiration for happy parenting and reflects on life as momma in a mixed race family. Ellie has a Ph.D. in psychology and counseled children and families for several years before changing paths to spend more time with her family. She resides in central Pennsylvania with her husband, their two adorably mischievous boys (ages 4 and 7), and their sweet, arthritic dog (age 84, in dog years).
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