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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Halloween Revisited

I had no idea the disdain I would in elicit response to my lack of enthusiasm for Halloween. I feel compelled to defend myself so that you all can stop planning the years of therapy you seem to think my daughter will need as a result of her parent's negligence for not ushering Halloween in with a party bigger than the one celebrated in honor of the birth of our Savior.

Am I redeemed by the fact that Daughter has had her Halloween costume for a month now? That I was probably the first person to buy one as soon as the hit the Stuff Mart shelf in response to Daughter's excitement? Am I redeemed by stating that our plan this year was to take Daughter to the mall for indoor trick or treating since we live in the country now and we would have to drive into town anyway and didn't want to run around after dark in the streets with our 4 year old and 22 months old. Am I redeemed in saying that this was our plan despite the expectation to have to take all of Daughter's candy away from her because she wouldn't be able to eat it? That if she really wanted to go trick or treating and this was the only way, we would do it? Am I redeemed in saying that our hesitation in how we expose her to this holiday is further rooted in the horrific experience we unintentionally exposed her to a couple years ago by taking her to a community Halloween party in which not a single bit of candy was offered that didn't have a peanut warning and in which we waited 40 minutes with her to have a turn to jump in the bounce house only for her to turn around just before it was her turn and see the kid behind her wearing a Scream mask that stirred a response from her of panic stricken fear and crying and screaming followed by weeks of nightmares?

Will I invite further judgment on my failure as a mother if I explain that this year, we decided that rather than following our original plan to take Daughter trick or treating at the mall, we will spend the holiday at a church party where she will get to wear her costume but where there probably will not be any costumes that scare her, and that she will get to play fun games and win candy (most of which we will still have to take away from her anyway), but at least she will enjoy the concept of it.

It's a sad day when a person is deemed a failure as a parent for not enthusiastically engaging their young children in a holiday that celebrates death, ghosts, and demons.

7 comments:

Chris said...

Hey! I just read the response comment and this blog and I just want to clarify 'cause I think I must have totally messed up what my intention was.

I in NO WAY AT ALL was suggesting you were a failure as a parent!!! I think you are a great mom and I would never ever suggest otherwise.

I guess I was simply saying that as I got older (8 and up) it was really hard not being able to attend any Halloween activities or go trick or treating. And maybe I should have had more strength of character to not let it bother me that kids thought I was weird because I had to sit in my living room with my t.v. on and all the other lights in the house off.

I admit to this day it's a bit of an issue for me, and if I in anyway took my issues on you...I SINCERELY AND TOTALLY APOLOGIZE!!!

I did not, in any way, intend for my previous comment to be interpreted that way or to offend anyone.

I really am very truly sorry MGM.

raymond pert said...

I'm responding to both of your posts at once.

Just for the record, I hate Halloween. I hate the noise, fuss, smashed jack o lanterns in the middle of the street that roaming vandals swipe off porches and destroy, having teenage kids with pillow cases full of shit come to my door, the whole thing.

The only "holiday" I hate more is the Fourth of July with its noise.

I'm not joyless, but for some reason, like the guy Shylock says can't help that he pees his pants at the sound of a bagpipe, I seem to be hardwired with a deep inclination to have my skin crawl with distaste at these two times of the year.

MGM said...

Chris,

It's cool. I did find your comment a bit offending as it felt judgmental, but I was responding to the comment and not to you personally. I got other comments and emails about this issue, as well. I had no idea the controversy I would raise with my personal opinion of the stupid holiday.

Incidentally, I don't deny my kids Halloween despite the fact that I really despise the holiday and feel it doesn't deserve to be represented and celebrated as a holiday. But my daughter is all about it and wanted a costume and to go trick or treating this year. I figured the only way to let her experience it was to try and see if the costumes still scared her and to have to live with the consequences of being stripped of the contraband candy that is a danger to her. Nonetheless, I hate the holiday and last year we didn't want a repeat of the previous year and so didn't celebrate the holiday in any fashion. It helped that I had to work late and Husband wasn't up to juggling the three year old and 1 1/2 year old by himself. This year my preference would be to sit in front of the tv with all the lights out, but I planned to indulge my daughter in accordance with her wishes to see if she could handle it. We'll see how it goes.

Peace.

MGM said...

RP,
Thanks for this. I especially appreciated the line "...having teenage kids with pillowcases full of shit come to my door...." I laughed out loud in agreement.

Eerily, I'm in total agreement with the whole Fourth of July thing, too. I hate it when the whole neighborhood starts in with the noisy fireworks nearly a full month before the holiday and then for a good full month afterwards. We've had to call the police several years to get them to respond to the illegal activity, but admittedly I didn't care so much about the illegal part as I did about the noise at 1 or 2 am when I was trying to sleep, or in recent years when I had infant children that were trying to sleep. Thankfully we didn't have so much trouble with it this year on our new five acres in the country.

I just want to say thank you for all the ways you manage to validate me without even realizing it ahead of time. It is utterly appreciated and refreshing.

jesse said...

I love Halloween and I understand why you don't like it. I also see why you would take your kids to a church because some costumes are just to creepy for kids and would scare them. I wish our church was doing something but since they aren't I'm going to my mom's to go trick-or-treating with my sis and nephew.

Proto said...

I'm no fan of Halloween either. The best part of this weekend that I am looking forward is getting off of savings time and back to standard time.

Tracy said...

I'm going to try to put a positive spin on a few things for you to try to put a smile back on your face:
1. Getting people stirred up from a post on your blog only proves that people are reading what you have to say.
2. If you hadn't gotten the "controversy" started, how else would you have gotten someone to leave a comment that entailed the phrase "teenagers with a pillowcase full of shit"?
3. Public schools are catching on FINALLY to all of these things and have changed the party from a Halloween Party to A Fall Festival. At our school they let the kids dress up as a favorite story book character and send home a paper saying no scary costumes, no blood, no gore.
Schools have also figured out that some kids have nut allergies and will not allow anything at the party that contains any of these things so you don't have to take them away from your child because they never get them.
The only thing you have to do is survive the years until she's in school.
4. When you became a parent, you earned the right to chose which holidays you would make important to your children and how you would celebrate them. It's your and your husbands decision and nobody else gets to take that away from you, no matter how much they disagree with you. This in no way makes you a horrible parent.
5. I've been talking to Chris for quite some time now and I really don't think that she in any way meant to offend you or imply that you're a horrible parent. I think that when we become parents, we remember the things that our parents did and swear to ourselves that our kids never go through that. She obviously felt that it was a bad experience for her.
I hope some of this made you smile. Or atleast made you feel better.