Friday, October 23, 2009

Halloween Lite

Halloween is around the corner, and I don’t know about you guys, but my kids are really starting to get psyched over it. We’re going today to pick out costumes. It’s funny because I used to spend so much time letting them pick out exactly what they wanted, and making it perfect, but none of them seem to want that anymore – store bought is just fine.

When my oldest was in Kindergarten, she wanted to be the Lollipop Princess from Candyland... try finding that costume in a store... so I made it. My oldest son wanted to be Danny Phantom, also a costume that no one seemed to make... the outfit was easy but turning brown hair bright white is a challenge, my friend.

Littlest guy has never wanted me to make him a costume. I’ve asked every year, and every year he wants something store bought... well, last year he wanted to be a cubs player, which was pretty easy since he already had a jersey, hat and his own baseball pants... I had to draw the line at wearing the cleats to school.

So this year, we’ll see... they’re getting older and they don’t want to be cartoon characters anymore... well, littlest guy might. My daughter varies back and forth between Peter Criss (the drummer from Kiss for those of you who slept through the last four decades), and something store bought. Oldest son wants something really scary.

But there are so many rules now; it’s hard to even make the event fun.

First of all – there are no Halloween parties at school. It’s called a “Fall Party” (I don’t know what’s wrong with the word Halloween, but there ya go)... and the Fall party can’t have anything Halloween-esque.... not witches or goblins or scary stories... you can use pumpkins, but no jack-o-lanterns... oy.

And candy. No candy. We’re not allowed to give out treats to the kids’ classmates. I can buy pencils or small toys for the kids, but no candy... what the hell? I thought Halloween was ALL ABOUT THE CANDY!!!!

Oh, and costumes... No masks (okay, I get it, they don’t want the distraction).... nothing violent. Seriously, nothing violent. I don’t remember any costumes that weren’t violent when I was a kid... it was scary or slutty. Pick one. Personally, I really prefer my daughter scary, thank you very much.

And on the one hand, I get it. Some kids have allergies, or are diabetic... but every year it just seems to get a little more extreme with what we’re allowed to do or say. My daughter had her Kiss costume all planned out, but now she’s thinking of store bought... because there’s no jewelry allowed except stud earrings... nothing shiny with sequence (because they might fall off and be a ‘slipping hazard’ – I’m not making this up, either!) No belts with studs no chains... you know, nothing fun. Basically, she’d be a kid dressed all in black with a cat face, and she doesn’t think that’s nearly as cool.

So how about you guys? Are you doing anything fun to celebrate Halloween? And what was your favorite costume as a kid... or even as an adult?


Laurel said...

I am so sad about the sterilization of Halloween. I live in the Bible Belt and while I certainly respect the (many) households who opt for a Fall Festival over a "pagan" holiday I wonder if they don't remember when we were kids and got to be the monsters we were so scared of? The ones under our beds and in our closets? At least for that night, they weren't scary. They were funny. And make believe.

I am religious and I draw the line at letting my kids dress up in costumes that celebrate, in my opinion, evil but come on. Zombies or vampires or goblins aren't representations of evil because...wait for it...newsflash... they aren't real! So why can't my kids indulge in diminishing what their imaginations get carried away with? It's normal and frankly healthy.

People just do not give kids enough credit for making the distinction between reality and pretend. If your child is so disturbed as to confuse Halloween costumes with real life and behave accordingly, hopefully you will be aware of it and seek professional help. As for the rest of us, can't you let us have a little fun?

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Laurel,

You know, I don't think Halloween is even a Pagan Holiday... It's close to one, I think I have at least one Wiccan reader who could tell us which one it is... but they don't celebrate by begging candy off strangers in masks :-)

I'm with you. I don't see why we have to sterilize everything. There's always going to be one person to complain no matter what you do, anyway.

Colleen_Katana said...

Wow. That is ridiculous. All of candy no studded belts or jewelry. As a kid and even now as an adult, fashion and accessories are one of the many ways I've learned to express myself.'s a costume. It's not like these kids will be coming in every day wearing studs or enormous jewelry.

I believe very strongly in cultural sensitivity and I always thought my school handled it really well. We didn't exclude any holiday or religion. We learned about all of them from Kwanzaa to Christmas to Passover to Diwali. It's important that no kid feel alienated, but at the same time.....c'mon. Banning candy??? On Halloween? That sucks.

And in the real world...on Halloween you walk down the street and EVERYONE is in costume. Coddling children to try to protect them isn't going to accomplish much when as soon as they walk out the door, they'll see all the costumes you just tried to hide them from. They're out there. The best thing you can do is introduce it and why you think it is or isn't appropriate or acceptable. At least, that's my opinion...