There’s nothing cuter than a baby dressed up in a Halloween costume, but don’t get your hopes up when it comes to seeing Gideon Forsyth dressed up as a little cowboy or Ivy Jane Seewald rocking a butterfly costume. When it comes to the spooky holiday, the Duggars have one simple rule: Just say no.
Mom Michelle Duggar was the first to reveal the family’s feelings about the holiday in a now-deleted 2011 blog post she wrote for TLC. Though she admitted the Counting On crew is happy to enjoy the autumn atmosphere, they don’t indulge in the spirit of All Hallows’ Eve.
“While we do go to pumpkin patches and corn mazes, we don’t do the Halloween thing,” Michelle wrote in the blog, speaking on behalf of her kids with Jim Bob Duggar. “From the beginning of our marriage, we just kind of felt like we didn’t want to celebrate that holiday. But we enjoy the harvest celebration. Our church fellowship has had different celebrations through the years that we’ve been a part of, ones where the children can play games and receive candy and toys and do all kinds of fun things, like a cake walk.”
By celebrating at church, the TLC stars don’t have to worry about “things that go on during Halloween,” like pranks or mischief. Even simple trick-or-treating is looked down upon. But that doesn’t mean the family’s never gone knocking on doors on October 31. In their book Growing Up Duggar, Jana, Jill, Jessa and Jinger Duggar opened up about one year when they found themselves campaigning for their dad during the holiday.
“We don’t celebrate Halloween, and everyone totally forgot what day it was,” they wrote in the 2014 memoir. “So that evening as we girls walked through the neighborhood with an adult, all of us wearing our ruffly dresses and hair ribbons and carrying our bags of campaign leaflets, people were offering us candy and telling us they loved our dresses. We eventually caught on and suspended our campaigning efforts till [sic] the next morning, but that day we received the friendliest greetings ever while knocking on doors during a campaign season!”
The kids can’t even get in the Halloween spirit by watching a spooky flick or even something as family-friendly as It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
“One specific thing that our parents have always been careful about is magic, which often shows up in children’s movies,” the Duggar girls explained in another section of their book. “As harmless as it may seem, it’s not a joke in God’s eyes. Magic, sorcery, witches, spell-casting and the like are all part of a demonic realm that God wants us to stay away from. No matter how ‘good’ a film containing magic may seem, God speaks seriously about this throughout the Bible; it is not something to be glorified or portrayed by any means as something fun or attractive.”
All this isn’t to say that the Duggars never dress up in costumes. But you’re more likely to see the family playing dress-up on Chick-fil-A’s cow appreciation day or wearing swashbuckling gear to head to Krispy Kreme for Talk Like a Pirate Day.
One of the Duggar sisters is forging her own path when it comes to raising her children, however. In 2021, Jinger and husband Jeremy Vuolo dressed up with their daughters are Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and a pot of “hunny,” as they went trick-or-treating as a family.
“A lot of us see certain holidays as a social construct that maybe you grew up where your idea of Halloween is getting a cute outfit, with your friends, having your friends over, go trick-or-treating around your neighborhood, say hi to the neighbors, have fun and laugh with your parents, and you get candy, and you get to dress up,” Jeremy explained on their podcast, adding, “If my kids want to dress up and it’s fun time to wear a pumpkin outfit then that’s awesome.”
Now that the Los Angeles-based couple has broken the mold, who’s to say which of her siblings will follow suit.