I hate Halloween. Every part of it. Completely.
Even as a kid, I wasn't crazy about it. Between the razor blade scare that meant ¾ of my candy got dumped and that one house where someone always jumped out leaving me terrified, it was far from something I loved.
But now, as a parent, I really hate it. And let me tell you, the thought of my children gorging on sugar and corn syrup has nothing to do with it.
I actually don't get it. I truly don't.
Article after article bemoans the influence that violent video games and television shows have on the precious minds, hearts and souls of our young ones. As responsible parents, we try to limit uncontrolled access to the Internet, lest our darlings accidentally click on something seemingly innocent that is really quite the opposite. And there are always those who post the pictures of their organic, gluten-free, vegan lunches that they colorfully hand make (no processed foods of course) every day for lunch. (These are usually the same people that make play dough from scratch.) And yet, alongside that picture of the cauliflower macaroni and non-dairy cheese is little one's adorable Halloween costume (homemade, of course).
Now, I'm not saying it was those very same parents that I bumped into yesterday at Six Flags, but I will tell you, there were a lot of parents there. And being that I saw plenty of sunblock application and careful hand holding, I'm going to guess that at least some of them were "good" parents.
Which is why I just don't get it.
Upon entering Six Flags, there were a row of coffins set up. Yes, coffins. Painted black and to be fair, fitted for vampires. Why, you may ask? Well, picture props of course. I mean, who wouldn't want their children crawling into coffins, pretending to be dead while you snap away? Uh, I guess a lot of people. Not only were there lines, but a professional photographer as well to capture that special moment.
Now, maybe it's just me. But the last place I ever, ever, ever want to see my children is in a coffin. Ever. I don't want to visualize it. I don't want them to enact it. I don't want anything to do with it.
And yet, in the spirit of Halloween, it seems anything goes. It is the day a teenager can dress up in her underwear (um, costume) and leave the house because after all, it is Halloween. It is the day a little boy who isn't allowed to play with toy guns can walk around with a hatchet in hand and blood dripping down his face because it is Halloween. It is the day children should see goblins, goons, devils and other characters of death and destruction, because it is Halloween. Oh yeah, and though children are repeatedly told never, ever to talk to strangers, now it is fine to knock on a stranger's door and take food from someone they don't know (we got past the razor blades scare I guess). And best yet, not ask for candy but demand it. Give me a treat or I'll give you a trick? After all, it's Halloween.
But I am the one overreacting. Or so I am told. Why can't I just relax and realize that it is a day of fun and dressing up and meeting the neighbors? Why do I have to see the negative in everything? And yet, as my streets start to fill with skeletons and gravestones in the yards, I can't seem to find what is so cute and seemingly innocent. And I certainly don't think it brings out the cute and innocent in our children either. Yes, even I will melt at that adorable baby dressed up as a sunflower, but the teenagers who knocked down our mailbox the other year when we weren't home and egged our house, yeah, not quite as cute.
But I really don't blame them. It's not totally their fault. After all, it is Halloween. And just as society taught them over the years, anything goes.
So call me crazy.
Yes, I was the one at Six Flags not allowing my children to pose in coffins. I was the one who got them out of the park as nightfall came and the zombies with chainsaws started jumping at people. I'm the one who will turn off the house lights on October 31 and ignore the doorbell while having a pizza party with my kids inside. Yeah, I'm that one. Because I don't believe you teach your kids something 364 days of the year and then one day tell them to ignore it all because it is Halloween.
But that's just me.
Because I hate Halloween.
Sara Esther Crispe is the Co-Director of Interinclusion.org as well as a writer and motivational speaker. She lives with her husband and four children in Merion, PA.