Dear Grinch: Please Come Steal Halloween

Forget Christmas. Come steal Halloween. (image from tvropes.com)

Fact: If I didn’t have kids, I probably wouldn’t celebrate Halloween. But, because I don’t want them to be social anomalies, I’ll put them in costumes and parade them around town to gather some sweets (which I admit, I’ll sample from). But seriously, why is this “holiday” such a big deal? I’m just not a fan. I mean, like every kid, I loved Halloween when I was a tot. Who wouldn’t love piles of Sugar Daddies, Starbursts, and the ever elusive Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?

My dad always took us trick-or-treating, and I have fond memories. I’m not sure why my mom never went. Maybe she stayed home to pass out candy? But we lived out in the country, so probably not. Maybe she, like me, wasn’t a fan of this ghoulish celebration. And who can blame her. Why do we celebrate and funnel money into dark and scary concepts, those which we despise the other 364 days of the year? Oh, who am I kidding, Halloween is no longer a day, it’s a season.

A season, and a reason, to buy not only costumes, but decorations such as miniature graveyards, skeletons, housewares, etc. It’s an entire industry. And it’s definitely more adult in nature that it used to be. Take this Today Moms blog post, which explores the effects of a super-scary super-sexy Halloween culture on children:

What’s happened to Halloween?  Adults are taking it over: Americans are expected to spend $8 billion on Halloween this year, according to CNBC, up 16 percent from 2011. That buys a lot of fake blood. A holiday that used to mean homemade costumes, jack-o-lanterns and bobbing for apples now means terrifying weapons, ghastly spurting “wounds” and nightmarish creatures.  In the name of shopping for costumes or trick-or-treating, children are now routinely confronted with images and ideas once reserved for R-rated horror movies.

Maybe I’m not the only one who’s “over” this holiday. And just what are the origins, anyways? From History.com:

 It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1 as a time to honor all saints and martyrs; the holiday, All Saints’ Day, incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows’ Eve and later Halloween. Over time, Halloween evolved into a secular, community-based event characterized by child-friendly activities such as trick-or-treating. In a number of countries around the world, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people continue to usher in the winter season with gatherings, costumes and sweet treats.

Ok. I get it. We’re just carrying on a tradition. But since when is taking the excuse to dress like “dead sexy bride of Frankenstein” or whatever a tradition? We shake our fists when we see crime reports on TV, but think nothing of dressing our kids up a mini gangsters.

Oh that’s cute. REAL cute. “Ok Johnny, show me your best drive-by impression!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against kids putting on a creative costume and begging (politely) for candy. But when the hyper-sexualized hyper-violent adult-themed Halloween images start appearing in my kids’ line of sight (at the grocery store, on front lawns, on fellow parents trick-or-treating with their kids), it bothers me. We fear death and sexualization of our children and dark spirits, but we just throw our hands up during this time and say, “It’s just for fun! What’s the big deal?”

And yes, I’ll enjoy seeing my little ballerina-robot-princess and pumpkin all dressed up tonight. I’ll have fun taking them door to door of friends and neighbors. And I’ll appreciate those who put in the effort to make a fun atmosphere for the kids. But the blood, guts, cleavage and other “interesting” aspects of Halloween? I’m just waiting for the Grinch to come do his job. Take them. Please.

I have to admit, turning her into a little robot sure was fun.

She does make a cute lil’ punkin.

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