Here we go again…
It happens every single year, and it’s right around the corner now. No matter how much my dislike for it increases each year, it always comes back like clockwork.
There is a nip in the air that sweeps in, and the days suddenly grow shorter as the sun continues to slide farther and farther away to the south. The explosive, vivid colors of the leaves paint a spectacular piece of artwork while nature slowly prepares for a well deserved and needed rest. The first chimney smoke of the season emerges and fills the air together with the sentimental smell of rotting leaves. Pumpkins, gourds, and bails of hay start popping up, guarded by the watchful eyes of an army of silent scarecrows.
And I love that. All of that. I enjoy celebrating the fall season.
But with all that, something else comes in tow…
It’s the commercial tooth-rotting holiday that stomps all over the fall peace and love and comes out with claws, spooks, creepy commercials, scary movies, sugar highs, costume drama, and never ending parties and parades.
It’s no secret that kids LOVE Halloween. They get to roam around in the darkness of a late fall afternoon, drifting away into the magical world of possibilities and adventures. Some may even get to stay up late. But let’s be honest here: it’s clear that Halloween would be zero fun if kids came home with loots of Brussels sprouts, offal, and mini jars of fermented cod liver oil. Just imagine their sad little faces…
It’s all about C A N D Y. And regardless of what we or our children decide to dress up as on this day, we’re all going as slaves to the candy industry.
I’m not attached to Halloween in any way. To me it’s just another commercial event that most people seem to celebrate in one way or another just because everybody else is doing it. Don’t tell my kids, but the suddenly awoken witch in me wants to cast a quick spell and abolish Halloween for now and for always.
What are we celebrating???
- Tooth decay?
- Childhood obesity?
- Weakened immunity?
- That today, AND TODAY ONLY, accepting candy from strangers is OK?
I actually like when our local streets become colorful and lively and get flooded with pint-sized superheroes, bugs, princesses and fairies. And our kids giggle when they open the door to a 6-foot-tall headless boy and aren’t afraid to hand out candy to a death reaper or a zombie. They ARE having fun.
But I’m just not sold.
Is it weird that I think Halloween celebrates disease, consumerism, and even obedience?
I’m not hyperventilating over the fact that my kids will undoubtedly eat some refined sugar on Halloween. I can live with that, I promise. If anything raises my hair, it’s the lists of ingredients of conventional treats in circulation. It’s the mixture of synthetic dyes and artificial flavors, hydrogenated oils, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, stabilizers, and preservatives that have been linked to a number of health issues, and the many corn and soy variants derived from genetically modified sources that have never been thoroughly tested for safety in humans. That, combined with the begging-for-candy-from-strangers scenario, is what gives me the creeps. Not sugar.
The nagging feeling is back, and I wonder if it’s time to put a stop to Halloween…?
For the past few years, but not until our first child grew all teeth and became fully aware of this celebratory day (sigh), I have taken our kids trick-or-treating. Which wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t live in the Midwest. Even though the local late October weather can be mild, this particular day seems to have been reliably cold, wet and windy, with a chance of hail, sleet, or snow. As soon as you turn around the first corner, all you want to do is head back home in order to stop shaking violently OR pour more rum into your Thermos. But you can’t. Because (1) Halloween is all about kids and having fun, so suck it up and control your shiver, and (2) straight up rum can no longer be called grog.
We only visit homes in our immediate neighborhood, collectively complain about yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s weather, and exchange frozen fake thrilled-to-be-here Halloween smiles with other trembling parents. Which is good, because a positive neighborly contact strengthens the whole community.
We then lug home piles upon piles of candy with our numb hands that we put aside to A) donate and B) throw away. Our kids have fun trick-or-treating, but we keep none of the edible treats they get. I mean, except for my husband who occasionally volunteers to sacrifice himself and secretly consumes some of the peanut butter cups, mini Snickers, Almond-Joys, and Kit Kats in order to save his colleagues, clients, soldiers, and homeless people from certain death.
Don’t feel bad for our kids though. They may not be printing their names on special Halloween jars, but they’re allowed to have treats. We just don’t let the calendar control our sugar intake. They get the natural and organic stuff with ingredients that don’t make me question where the society is headed. The kind we also give away on Halloween.
So this year, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have no plan. We’ll see. But I’m strangely comfortable with putting a twist on Halloween this time around…