Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween and Me: It's Complicated

So, it's Halloween. Boo!

I have a weird relationship with this scariest of days and it all stems back to my childhood.

My parents were/are very devout Christians and as such didn't want their three lovely daughters traipsing about as witches, devils, ghosts and ghouls. We didn't even watch Scooby Doo*. This was serious stuff for my parents. For them, if a person believes in Jesus then they should also believe in the Devil and why would they want their daughters dressing up as his minions.

 At the same time, schools were a lot different back in the day. I remember that as soon as Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving is the second Monday in October) was done my classrooms went into full on Halloween prep. There were crossword puzzles, history lessons, spelling bees and math questions all involving Halloween in one form or another and all culminating in a huge, all day, Halloween party. Now, my son is in school and his teachers, for the last 4 years, have committed only an afternoon to Halloween. So clearly my parents were unimpressed by this onslaught of Halloweeness from my school. Which is why my sisters and I stayed home for Halloween.

Yup, we boycotted the holiday all together. Instead of Trick or Treating we went to church sponsored "Harvest Carnivals", pool parties or totally unscary costume parties. We stayed home from the school on Halloween and played games, made brownies and did fun stuff with our mom. We still dressed up because dressing up and imaginative play was huge for us growing up, but we dressed up as princesses, cowgirls, ninjas, angels, hippies, etc. We also ate candy. Tons of candy. My mom particularly liked those disgusting Halloween molasses kisses, so there were always lots of those around the house along with Rockets (Smarties for my America peeps.), mini chocolate bars and caramels. So it wasn't like we were deprived or anything my sisters and I just didn't do Halloween.


Which brings me to today. I don't know how to do Halloween as an adult. I don't have the same reservations about Halloween as my parents did and my husband has no reservations about Halloween at all. I mean, I would freak if one of Jacob's teachers brought a Ouija board into class for students to play with as a teacher from my elementary school did, and I also believe in the fact that there are good and bad things in the world both naturally and spiritually, but I want Jacob to have fun too. It's just so awkward. What are the mechanics of effective Trick or Treating? How do I promote imagination and still keep my kid from dressing up as a demon/ghost/ghoul/other undead critter? How much candy is too much candy to steal from your son's stash?

So yeah, I just don't know how to act, I don't what I'm supposed to be doing and I feel conflicted as a parent. It a good thing that there's tons of candy around to help me deal with these feelings. :)

Everyday we're [zombie] shufflin'. Jacob & Mommy at the pumpkin patch.

*I found out later, when I pointed out that all the spooky bad guys in Scooby Doo were fake, that my mom simply didn't like Scooby Doo and that's why we weren't allowed to watch it.


  1. I think as a parent we always worry about what is right/wrong, but all we can do as good people and parents is follow our hearts. Do what's comfortable to you. There's no wrong answer. Halloween is supposed to be about having fun and traditions are meant to be your own.

    1. Exactly! I just don't remember being told about the guilt and anxiety that accompanies parenthood. :)