It really bums me out how my generation has let Halloween become an adults only party that kids aren’t invited to.
We let them Trunk or Treat, or hit up a church for a ‘harvest festival’ but won’t let them trick or treat. Those kids that do head out often find slim pickings in people giving out candy or grumpy parents that don’t wanna be out. The holiday is big business…but mostly because the adults go out and party.
People need to get over the ‘evil’ of the holiday, which started as a simple harvest/end of the season celebration and was turned ‘evil’ by marketing, pop culture, and silly dolts who take the whole ‘veil between worlds being lowered’ thing too seriously. Halloween is a celebration of our mortality, of not being afraid of death, of community, and of spending time with our family and having fun. That’s what it is to me. It’s a celebration of the weird and spooky, not the evil. I get that a lot of folks can’t give out candy because of finances, boy do I get that, but we need to interact more with one another, not less.
We are creating a dangerous world, not just because of our actions but because of our IN-actions. We are letting our children grow up in fear. Instead of teaching them how to be careful, teaching them to still LIVE in the world but to live wisely, we want to hide them away and force them to interact online anonymously while complaining about their inactivity and cyber-bullying. We want kids to be strong but don’t help them to BE strong.
So what does that have to do with Halloween?
Halloween used to be a social occasion. A night of celebration. A night of partying. A night where families go dressed up and went out together and visited their neighbors and kept those relationships up. Most of all Halloween was a holiday for kids. As an adult I ADORE the holiday and love to celebrate it but truly, this became a night for kids to have fun and to be out at night with friends and family. We have gotten so caught up in creating boogeymen for the night, in brow-beating kids about eating candy, and have drudged up the eeeeeeevil of the night once more. The more we hide ourselves away the worse the world is going to become.
Halloween celebrates creepiness but it doesn’t have to celebrate evil. There are SO many costumes a kid could create or choose, so many things they could be that it can be used a way to foster creativity. There is a dark side to Halloween, no question, but that doesn’t mean that is the only side to it. There is a playful and fun side too. So often we get caught up in the This or That of things that we punish kids for it. Hey, if you are religious and the holiday offends you then that’s fine, just don’t get offended in turn when someone wishes you Happy Holidays. The street goes both ways…but thankfully there’s room for everyone.
Halloween is a special time for me because it let me be creepy, weird, and to have fun with friends. And candy, gah, the candy. And ya know what, if you’re anti-candy then let the kids collect it for someone else, or for a charity, just let them participate. We have darkness in us and to deny it is to lie to yourself, so instead of hiding from it, embrace it and that way it won’t get out of control. Let yourself, let your kids be a little weird and it shows them that they can have an identity outside of you.
But hey, if you are a trunk or treater, and hate Halloween, and can convince yourself that a ‘Harvest Festival’ is nothing more than a euphemism for Halloween then cool. Just don’t spoil it for everyone. Don’t call for the end of a holiday that, in one form or another, has been around for centuries.
So do me a favor and don’t complain how people took Christ out of Christmas when so many are taking the Hallow out of my ‘ween. Take a breath, relax, and just go watch the leaves change while the rest of us get a little weird for a couple days.