For many many years, I was ashamed to admit this, ashamed that it would reveal me as a party pooper or (worse) an uptight reactionary or (even worse) a selfish adult who can’t enjoy a holiday that’s mostly geared toward children (except when it’s geared toward grown women wearing “sassy” Minnie Mouse costumes, or, you know, the glorification of chainsaw murderers, no embedded link necessary). But I’ve been in the business of begrudgingly half-smiling through the month of October for a good long time now, and I’m finally comfortable enough with myself to say it:
I do not like Halloween.
Now I know many of you DO like Halloween and Halloween masks Love Halloween! For many of you it might even be your favorite holiday. This post is not meant to convince you of the error of your ways; in fact, I’m glad for you that you love Halloween. Go forth and decorate your front porch with all manner of smiling pumpkins and sparkly witches! I’m just talking about myself here. Venting on the internet. Isn’t that what blogs are for? Anyway: no need to feel defensive, is all I’m saying.
1a. To Sew or Not To Sew? I am not a crafty person. I have a sewing machine that I have used, um, three times? And two of those times were aborted attempts at sewing on Scouting patches. (Hooray for Badge Magic!) I almost always end up buying my kids’ costumes, which can be expensive, but what’s a non-crafty Mom to do? I suppose the one upside is I have all manner of flimsy foam Ninja chest armor with which my youngest son can now play dress up.
1b. It never ends. In our old neighborhood, the adults always had a dress-up Halloween party. Oh, the angst! It’s bad enough that I have to come up with appropriate costumes for my kids, but now I have to come up with costumes for myself AND my husband? And a new one every year? And believe me: wearing the matching Hawaiian shirts we obtained back in 1994 and calling ourselves tourists does not really fly in a crowd where couples came as fully tricked out Alice in Wonderland characters. (Mad Hatter, Red Queen, homemade.)
1c. The skankification of little girl costumes. We’ve all seen the catalogs. It’s horrifying. Enough said.
2a. The assault on my personal willpower. I do enjoy a mini Almond Joy a little too much, and when I find a big bag of them on sale three weeks before Halloween and buy it in order to be prepared for the upcoming holiday, somehow I always wind up buying a new bag two weeks before the 31st. And again a week before the 31st. You get my drift.
2b. Candy Police! It’s bad enough that I can’t seem to get a handle one my own candy eating issues, but I for the entire month of November I have two choices. Choice one: become a candy Nazi, hiding my children’s candy from them and doling it out only when a complicated set of expectations have been met (room clean, vegetables eaten, homework done = a box of Nerds as big as your thumb!) For many years I attempted various versions of choice one, but I’m almost forty now and tired. I have reverted now to choice two: sighing with exasperation while doing the laundry and discovering 12 mini Milky Way wrappers tucked inside all four pockets of my son’s jeans. And wondering why nobody wants to eat dinner.
3a. Hay bales and other front porch decorations. One year I decided to get some hay bales and put them on my front porch because everyone else was doing it and it looked cute. But I had stray strands of hay in the back of my car for months, and my hay bales never looked right anyway. Wrong angle? Too far back on the porch? Three bales instead of two? This year I put a little wooden “Happy Halloween” stake in the ground by my front step and wrapped my porch pillars with fall leaves, but the wind keeps blowing leaves down and knocking the stake over.
3b. Pumpkin carving. Messy. Gross. Dangerous knives. The kids can’t do it by themselves. Don’t even get me started on the complicated templates that seem to be de rigueur nowadays. I never feel this resentful over dying eggs at Easter.
3c. Trunk or Treats. So now I have to get my kids dressed up twice, hand out candy twice, and decorate (!!) the trunk of my car (see my issues with front porch decorations)? I like ward parties where all that is required of me is to show up with a spinach salad.
4. Terror and Violence
4a. Depravity. I’m not really a scaredy-cat. I’ve read my fair share of Stephen King; I can watch Poltergeist and The Others without having nightmares; I was always the girl in the front of the group when my friends and I went to a haunted house. But is it just me, or have things ramped up? There’s spooky, then there’s creepy, then there’s downright scary. But have you walked into a Halloween store lately? We’ve moved from scary to depraved. I ran in with my 4-year-old to look for a pirate costume and he was so freaked out by the “scary babies” (no need to link — they’re too disturbing) that he buried his face in my shoulder and didn’t look up until I left. And it’s not just at the Halloween store. Is it necessary to have a beheaded zombie greet my already-traumatized 4-year-old when we run into the grocery store for milk?
4b. Weaponry. I’m also not super-paranoid about my boys having fake weapons. We have a whole toy box full of light sabers and my 4 year old is the proud owner of a cowboy pistol. But my boys, for the most part, aren’t really interested in the costume part of Halloween anymore; they’re interested in weaponry. Scythes! Machetes! Freddy Kreuger gloves! Nunchucks! So not only do I have to talk them out of such accessories, much to their dismay, even if they do have a mildly appropriate costume-related weapon (like my son’s pirate sword, NOT purchased at the depraved Halloween store) they can’t bring it to the school Halloween party or the trunk or treat anyway. Much to their dismay.
I could go on (e.g., when to tell the older kids they can’t trick or treat anymore, anyone?), but I’ll spare you. I want to hear from the rest of you anyway. Do you love Halloween? Hate it? Like it better than Valentines Day but not nearly as much as the 4th of July? Tell me why.