Holidays Between Two Cultures

My native country is Jamaica, but I’ve spent most of my life growing up in the states. With that said, I was always stuck between two cultures. My siblings and I weren’t allowed to celebrate Halloween because it wasn’t celebrated in Jamaica. I remember my mom referring to it as “duppy holiday” (translation- ghost holiday). That was her way of saying that it was “pure foolishness.” We never had costumes and we never went trick-or-treating. I think my teachers felt pity on me. They would slip me a few extra pieces of candy, so I wouldn’t feel so bad. I also remember getting sweet treats from the bodega in Brooklyn on my way home from school.

That was the closest my siblings and I came to celebrating this day that so many kids love. The fact that all my friends enjoyed all the festivities didn’t help. It used to get me upset back then, but in retrospect I’m ok with my mom’s choice in not allowing us celebrate Halloween. Now that I have a little one, I have to make my own decisions as a mom too. I used to say that I would carry on the Jamaican way. But that was before having my daughter, who happens to be an American like her dad.

He grew up with all the classic American traditions including Halloween. His mom made sure the house was decked out with all the Halloween decorations. She also had enough candy for all the trick-or-treaters in the neighborhood, and often brought her son to the pumpkin patch.

My husband in a pumpkin patch in his childhood

His childhood was obviously the complete opposite of mine. With Halloween around the corner, I’ve been back and forth with whether or not I want to celebrate with my little Princess. This is actually her second Halloween. Her daddy and I dressed her up as a pumpkin last year, but she pretended to be asleep the whole time.

Now that she’s a little older maybe she’ll be into it a little more. I bought her a cute fairy costume. We don’t plan on taking her trick-or-treating. But, she’ll be attending a Halloween themed party. We’ll also hang out at home and give candy to the kids. I’ll even dress her up! As far as Halloween decorations, I haven’t mastered that just yet. I do plan on getting a few simple things to put in our window.

We also made our way to the pumpkin patch. I can’t say it was a problem free day though. She was bit cranky at times. But you can tell by these cute pics of Princess that she had fun, even though it was a crazy day. I didn’t realize that pumpkin picking involved a lot of walking. Next time we’ll have to bring along a wagon or stroller.

Princess with daddy and grandma

It was a first for Princess and me. We may have had a few hiccups along the way, but Princess had tons of fun! As you can see, she had fun posing with the pumpins. We also enjoyed a nice family hayride with grandma.

Princess, Grandma, mommy and daddy

We have yet to decorate or carve our pumpkins. In the meantime, my hubby decided to put them in our bay window. Hey, we have to take baby steps! We’ll slowly work our way to decking these bad boys out!

Princess is only one year old, and she won’t remember this day. But, she’ll be able to see how much fun she had after viewing these pics. I’m in no way rejecting my Jamaican heritage. Instead I choose to give my daughter the opportunity to embrace her American culture. There’s no reason why we can’t appreciate both.

I’m happy knowing that my baby girl gets to experience what Halloween is all about.

Please share, how do you plan to celebrate Halloween with your little kiddos?


Stacy-Ann Gooden can be seen delivering the weather week nights in New York. However, her most important role is being a wife and mom. She writes about balancing career and motherhood in her blog, Weather Anchor Mama.




  1. Aisha Greene says

    We celebrate with sort of normal fall stuff like pumpkin picking and going to fall fairs. This year we will also be doing a haunted walk and going to a halloween dance party for kids. We always dress up. Nothing "evil" – just always fun!

  2. says

    Stacy-Ann, it was great to hear more about how your family mixes holidays.  I think this is one thing that interracial and intercultural couples take a lot of criticism for (especially religious holidays), but I think it's such a great sign of couples' appreciation for each others' personal heritages and their ability to compromise.  So super important and special.  :)