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November, 2010

  1. Can We Ban Halloween?

    November 16, 2010 by Wendy

    I hate Halloween.

    There. I said it.

    Isn’t that bad, coming from a mother of three children? Shouldn’t I be reveling in this kid-centric holiday, planning and making their costumes weeks in advance, like a good mom does?

    But no, I kind of dread Halloween beginning Oct. 1.  Maybe it’s because it’s the first sudden flurry of activity after the long summer and stressful start of the school year. Suddenly, the calendar becomes packed with school parties, fall festival and volunteering, plus trying to decide on three costumes and then gathering the supplies for them all. I’m just never quite ready for it when it hits.

    But the main reason I’m so anti-Halloween is because the traditions that go along with it (eating ridiculous amounts of sugar and celebrating all things evil and gory) are the opposite of everything we try to instill in our children all year long. Trick-or-treating is the WORST. Think about it: We are forever warning our children about Stranger Danger, and yet, we take them out in the dark of night (and sometimes on a school night!) and goad them into knocking on strangers’ doors and taking candy from these strangers. And even though we’ve all had it drilled into our heads since we were little that strangers put razor blades and drugs in the candy, we’re all, “Go on, sweetie, go knock on that door and hold your bucket out, and remember to say thank you!”

    Every year, while the girls and their cousins are knocking on some random door, there I am at the end of the driveway, going “Who came up with this tradition? This is terrible. We’re making our kids go knock on some pervert’s door and letting them take candy from them! It’s so dumb! Halloween should be banned!”

    And every year, there’s my Halloween-loving sister, going, “Oh, get over it, ya Scrooge, it’s tradition!”

    That’s not to say we don’t get into it or celebrate it. The twins have always chosen their own costumes, and they’re almost always homemade, which is saying a lot, as I am not a lover of crafting. In past years, they’ve been sushi, an ant-infested picnic table, cotton candy, an ice-cream cone and a bubble bath, winning prizes in the costume contests almost every time. (Score for the non-crafty mom!)




    This year, because they were too indecisive (Twin A), or procrastinated too much (Twin B), we kept it simple. Twin A was a “spa girl” and Twin B was a gypsy, both of which were easy to put together with stuff we already had around the house. Little Miss decided months ago that she wanted to be Snow White, which was even easier, since we already had the costume from previous years, and only had to buy a new wig:




    I do have a lot of fun helping the girls dress up, but I admit it’s probably one of very few things I won’t be too sad to see them outgrow. The tween twins are almost there, but not quite yet. They still had fun dressing up and trick-or-treating this year—especially when we hit the house where the nice old man always hands out money instead of candy. (They know his house—it’s the one with the Bentley parked out in front.)

    Every year, I get into Halloween less and less, putting up fewer decorations and barely glancing at those little booklets for fun ideas. In fact, this year, I didn’t put up a single decoration, other than the tiny pumpkin Little Miss brought home from her field trip to a farm. Thankfully, Little Miss is afraid of anything remotely creepy, therefore I get a reprieve from getting the boxes of decorations down (I only have two) and stretching those pesky cobwebs all over the house. The scariest decoration we have is a pumpkin with a sensor on it that says, “Boo! Did I scare you?” when you walk by. She has nightmares about that thing so there is no way it’s coming inside.

    The twins weren’t quite that skittish, and we got into the holiday more with them. Every year since they were toddlers, we would drive more than an hour away to a farm with a pumpkin patch, where we’d let them pick their pumpkins, and I’d take a million adorable pictures of all things fall. Then we’d come home, let them dig the gunk out, and I’d make roasted pumpkin seeds. But for some reason (usually due to poor planning and lack of time) we haven’t gone, nor have we even carved pumpkins for the last two years. I know, lame.

    Lucky for us, my sister is the complete opposite. She lives for Halloween, and is one of those who decks out her house both inside and out as much as most people do for Christmas: skeleton-bone streamers, bleeding pictures, ghosts, monster footprints, spider webs, rats, life-size hanging ghouls, rattling skeletons, creepy snakes, screeching cats. Come October, her house looks like one of those Halloween superstores.

    And she carries the theme into her menu for the evening. This year she made “feet of meet” (foot-shaped mini meatloaves, complete with mangy toenails made from Brazil nuts), pizza that looked like candy corn, some kind of bloody punch, mashed potatoes with green-olive eyeballs, witch-finger cookies and rolls with finger hot dogs sticking out. You get the picture:



    Clearly, that’s why we go there every year, plus she has a better neighborhood for trick-or-treating.We don’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood and never stay home on Halloween night.

    Especially not since the time two years ago, when just as we were getting ready to leave, our doorbell rang. “Don’t answer it, I don’t have anything!” I said. But it was too late. The girls opened the door and there was a hayride-load of about 15 kids holding their pillowcases and buckets open expectantly. The girls and Hubby ran to the pantry in a panic and came back with handfuls of stale Easter candy and—wait for it—conversation hearts. I’m still mortified.

    That night, we came home to find our pumpkins all smashed up all over the yard. We got the message: Our “treats” sucked and we’d been “tricked.”

    I guess that’s what happens when the kids find out who the neighborhood Scrooge is.