My memories of celebrating Halloween with my family are wonderful.

We never got into the scary stuff, nor did we spend much money on costumes. Instead, we made Halloween a time where we did everything together.

About a week before the big day, we’d carve pumpkins together, then season and roast the seeds to eat. My mom would help us figure out a simple costume, generally using borrowed or recycled fabrics.

On Halloween day, my sister and I would put on our costumes, makeup, light our hand-carved jack-o-lanterns and wait for the rush of the darkness outside to seep in, signaling it was time to fill up our plastic pumpkins with goodies.

We’d go visit my grandparents and great-grandparents first, then meet up with our closest family friends to collect our candy in the neighborhood, alongside scores of other children in the darkness.

Now that I have my own family, it’s my goal to recreate that joy, anticipation and fun with my daughter and my husband It’s become such a fun tradition for us!

I love the way Halloween brings families together—

The entire family gets to be “kids” for the night.

Halloween gives you permission to be silly with your children and to let out the “kid” still inside of us.

In my family, this means themed family costumes. When my daughter was six months old, we dressed her like a lobster, and my husband and I were chefs. The following year, we were a family of Totoros (Japanese Anime). This year, in honor of our love for Mario Kart, I’m going to be Luigi, my husband will be Mario and my little one will be Raccoon Mario. I can’t wait to put on a goofy hat and fake mustache and take on the neighborhood.

Your family gets to meet the neighbors.

Where I live, everyone leaves for work in the morning, comes home, hits the garage door button and disappears straight into their garages. Because of this, I’ve found it very hard to even meet the people who live in our neighborhood, much less talk to them.

However, on Halloween all the walls come tumbling down, as families emerge from their front doors, ring our doorbell and say hello.

You can all stay up late together.

Because trick-or-treating starts when it gets dark, bedtime always gets pushed back on Halloween. Honestly, this is part of the fun! It’s a great chance to break from norms and spend time together—just for one night.

You all have a valid excuse to eat candy together.

Don’t you remember eating candy until your stomach hurt as a kid? It was glorious!

I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like sugar, but as adults we spend more time talking about avoiding sugar than actually enjoying it. Halloween provides an awesome excuse to eat candy and let our kids enjoy it too.

You have a good reason to see or connect with your extended family.

If you live close to family, it’s pretty much impossible to not drop by and show off your adorable kids on Halloween. Even if you are far away from family, Halloween is the perfect time to video chat with a family member you haven’t spoken to in a while.

Even if your children are too young to remember their first years of trick-or-treating, it can still be meaningful. While the exact memory may fade, the family connections you make on Halloween will not.

Even if you decide to stay in for the night this year, I encourage you to thoroughly enjoy the frequently ringing doorbells, let your kid or kids hand out the candy and stock up on more goodies than you think you need. (I always seem to run out!)

Don’t forget to enjoy every minute of the holiday—together.