Reason #1: Halloween scares kids.
“No, Mommy!” My two-year-old tugged with amazing fierceness, desperate to stop me from taking her any closer to the door adorned in skeletons and wart-faced witches.
“It’s okay, honey,” I comforted her. “They’re just Halloween decorations.”
Then, I listened to myself. Odd isn’t it, that we devote 11 months of the year trying to protect our kids, to keep them safe from dark and harmful things, then we spend a month scaring the crud out of them – trying to convince them that it’s all just in fun.
The epiphany deepened on Halloween night, when little Freddie Kruger stepped onto our porch holding out a pillow-case-sized bag. I was the most devoted of moms in teaching our girls to beware of strangers and now I was handing someone hiding behind a mask (and a horrid mask at that) candy. How frightfully confusing.
I can think of no time during my daughters’ toddler plus years that they were ever comfortable with the season (even people in “nice” costumes scared them), except for the candy, of course. And maybe that’s the point of throwing our kids into a world of instant tooth decay; it sweetens the terror.
Hmmm …. the fact that kids (and I know not just mine) have to be coached to like the day, just strikes me as creepy.
Reason #2: Is it just me, or is the day anything less than macabre?
Yesterday, I walked by a home decked out with grotesquely decayed hands reaching out of the ground behind a smattering of tombstones. Further along the way, I encountered ghosts, bats, vampires, zombies, witches and giant spider webs with humungous tarantulas waving in my face. Tonight, the street I strolled down presented a yard decorated with a row of skull-shaped lights. The piece de resistance was a ten foot blow-up, “action” globe featuring a giant, lighted skull with flies swarming about it. Signs scrawled in “blood” warned, “Do not enter!” (That should lead to sweet dreams for our neighborhood kids.)
It might be argued that smiling jack-o-lanterns help subdue the creepy obsession with death and horror found in most decor. Still, I marvel at the increase in extravagant Halloween displays I see every year. As I just described, decorations are becoming more intricate but not less ghoulish and certainly not less expensive.
Halloween is one of the top three revenue generating holidays in America and the frenzy doesn’t seem likely to slow down. Really? We don’t have enough depressing moments in life, that we have to pour money into a day that mocks death and for that matter, life?
Weirdest of all is how Halloween is juxtaposed behind September 11th and in front of a holiday meant to generate gratitude for life and living. (Isn’t it interesting that Thanksgiving gets the least of our attention, except that it’s a good day to eat up and bring our strength to full throttle before wearing ourselves thin on Black Friday? Although, I am relieved that it isn’t as commercialized as other celebrations.)
Although Halloween has been around eons before the terrorist attack on September 11th, I thought possibly that the horror of that day would wake us up. And now with the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy to add to the season, it surprises me that we have any stomach for that which seems far more barbaric than it does benign.
Try as I have over the years to lighten up when it comes to Halloween, it’s just way too creepy for me.