Okay, I confess. I dislike Halloween. I don’t like its questionable spiritual origins. I don’t like that it brings gross candy into my house that I don’t even want my child to have. (This point, of course, excludes Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups and other forms of good chocolate…not the cheap waxy stuff that is as counterfeit as all the princesses parading around on the 31st.) As a kid I was freaked out by the notion that my parents would actually want me to knock on the doors of strangers’ houses, talk to the strangers, and ultimately take candy from them. What?! We didn’t have any real neighbors, so Mom drove us to our grandparents’ neighborhoods. It took me years to figure out that although these mysterious figures were strangers to me, many of them were the same folks who gave my parents candy when they were little trick-or-treaters. But even once I concluded that my mom and dad weren’t try to lure me into the hands of would-be kidnappers, I still disliked this pseudo-holiday. What are we celebrating anyway?
But here is what I do like about Halloween: creativity. I remember lying awake at night designing an alarm clock costume when I was in the fourth grade. I explained it in detail, and together my parents and I made my late night musings come to life. We used cardboard, Styrofoam, aluminum foil, felt, yarn, an actual alarm clock, tights, sticky numbers, and paint. The results were fantastic, and I won First Place! What a proud moment. All of my costumes were homemade…sometimes by me, sometimes my mom, even my Aunt Georgia made a poodle skirt and a Rainbow Brite. Now, I’m making costumes for my own children, and while I still frown at the spooky death stuff and cringe at the thought of cavities and tummy aches, I look forward to my little guys saying some September (or perhaps on October 30th !!) “I wanna be a…,” and I’ll say, “Okay! Let’s do it!”
This year we followed our recent enthusiasm for all things pirate-y and created a pirate and his parrot sidekick. While pirates aren’t exactly upstanding citizens, they aren’t so scary that I can’t wrap my innocent four-year-old in such garb. Thursday was the costume party at school. Big fun there! On Halloween night we went to a church’s Halloween Fest that celebrated the Light rather than the creepy darkness. Carved pumpkins served as lanterns all around, and white lights were strung around the church yard and the church itself. There were traditional games like bobbing for apples (and peppers!). And of course, lots of candy and fun costumes. Not too bad…
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