Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Hater

It's my son's first Halloween, which should be filling me with excitement. But it's not. Because though he's too young to know it now, eventually he's going to find out that his mother is a not-so-closeted Halloween Hater.

I'm not really sure how this started for me. When I was younger, I liked Halloween. I dressed up in cute costumes, often coordinated with my little sister. (One memorable year, I was a car and she was a traffic light.) I went trick-or-treating, sometimes in my grandparents' neighborhood (we didn't have one), sometimes at the mall. I liked looking at the other costumes. I remember one of the years at the mall seeing someone dressed up as a flushing toilet. I also, of course, liked the candy. But sometime during my teenage years, that all changed.

The obvious theory is that my Halloween Hatred stemmed from the year my parents, worried about safety, wouldn't let me go trick-or-treating alone with my friends. While I don't blame them for this now (it's not even on the infamous "list of things Mom and Dad did to screw up Leanne's life" that I joke about with them now and then) at the time I remember it causing me a lot of angst and anger. But I also remember dressing up at school for the couple of years following that event, so I couldn't have been overly scarred at that time.

I guess it's as simple as this: as an adult, I just don't GET Halloween. It's a holiday based solely on greediness, scaring people for no reason, and changing who you are for one night. It's not a holiday about family or spirituality or giving. It's the opposite of that. It's about visiting strangers and pagan rituals and getting. None of which are positive things, at least to me.

It's also a lot of bother. Spending time and money on a costume I'm only going to wear for one night? No thank you. Watching scary movies that will keep me awake later? Nope. Buying tons of candy and traipsing up and down the stairs all night to heed the call of the doorbell? A major pain.

But now I have a son, and chances are, at least during his childhood years, he's going to love Halloween. So I need to get over my Halloween Hatred and find some redeeming feature of the holiday. I can only hope that his excitement over it will be infectious.

In the meantime, I'll be spending my Halloween looking forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas, two holidays I love and will spend lots of time and effort on.

1 comment:

  1. I'm about 95% of the way with you on the Hater side. I do NOT enjoy scary movies(hence our love of Henry Rowengardner), I've never gone into a haunted house or corn maze, and I used to dread the parties where my friends would want to play 'manhunt' outside after dark. But you missed one big aspect of the holiday, and its redeeming quality for me- its also about pretending!

    For kids, getting dressed up, pretending to be something fun that they love is not that rare. But getting a special costume AND being allowed to leave the house and show off their costumes is special and awesome. And for grownups who don't often dress up and pretend anymore, it can be fun to be a kid again and be something different and fun for one night :)

    This is the first year that my kids have chosen their costumes- and also decided what I should dress as and my husband too. And they were able to choose and decorate their own pumpkins this year too, and they loved it. We make the best of this so-so holiday(in my eyes anyway) by spending time and effort on the parts of the holiday that are fun for us, and not participating in the parts that we don't enjoy.