So I Have This Problem with Halloween

October 31 is 13 days away. A date that fills me with dread, consternation and cultural awkwardness. 2012 will be my twelfth Halloween in the USA and the fifth or sixth “celebrated” since having kids. You’d think by now I’d be cool with it but every September, just as soon as the kids go back to school, it’s all about Halloween every which way you turn and I just don’t dig it. Here’s why:

Costume Craziness

Halloween, otherwise known as All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day or Toussaint, has many origins but it’s mostly about getting spooked out by ghosts, ghouls and witches. So I can understand dressing up in white sheets, pointy hats and broomsticks, and skeletons but I do not get costumes that have nothing to do with Halloween. Cowboys, princesses, ninjas, Batman, Darth Vader, Minnie Mouse, Thomas the Tank – none of these are appropriately themed in my book. Any why are we OK with spending $25 or more every year purchasing brand new costumes for each kid from the growing numbers of retailers willing to take our money? Not being crafty myself, making or sewing a costume for my kids is rarely an option. So, the weeks running up to October 31 are usually spent trying to gently persuade my kids to either re-wear the costumes bought last year (which have not been worn since) or convincing them to make their own designs.

And while we are on the topic, I have never and will never understand adults dressing up at Halloween. Especially at the office! I do not want to be in meetings with a French Maid, Spider Man, a fireman, Cinderella  Frankenstein or any other caped crusaders. I do not want to sit in a cube across from these characters, bump into them in the corridors, kitchen or bathrooms. I’m all for fun at work but grown-ups in costumes, I just don’t get.

Candy Craziness

I have always been a candy nazi, strictly limiting the volume and kinds of candy my kids consume. In the days prior to Halloween, I totally have to psyche myself into being cool with the fact that they will be consuming huge piles of the nasty sugary stuff. I’m not a total spoil-sport, I let them go to town on Halloween. But it makes my skin crawl and sets off every parenting alert signal. And after the sugar high, the inevitable crash, followed by the awesome moods the following morning. Ugh! What I don’t understand is why does there have to be so much candy? And not just on October 31 but in the days and weeks either side?

Extended Celebrations

Halloween is technically just one evening, so why the parties 7-14 days before? Why decorate houses as soon as October hits? Why is there so much Halloween themed junk on the shelves of stores? Halloween cookies, recipes, crafts? Why are there Halloween Hallmark cards? Who sends these things? Happy Day of the Dead? Gee, thanks for thinking of me. It’s all overkill.

There are many American celebrations and seasons  that this Brit wholeheartedly embraces, particularly in the fall when pumpkins are plentiful and the foliage breath-taking. And, of course, I want my kids to experience all that is fun and cultural and seasonal. But, when it comes to Halloween, I admit I am a Grinch. So bah humbug.

And pass the candy.

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  1. The only answer I have for all of that is this: because it’s fun!!! 🙂

    • I agree it’s fun – and I’m all for fun! – i just think it’s all a over-done and weird. But that’s just the Brit in me! Thanks for stopping by to comment!

      • Anita

         /  October 18, 2012

        Wow – you are the Halloween Grinch! LOL 🙂 I guess I feel like its not really any different than the craziness around the Holidays (how about the fact that has been in stores since August?), or the Valentine candy that is out in January or Easter candy in February – and I’m OK with that – we just don’t have that much around until the actual day. I love our annual pumpkin cutting party with our cousins and neighbors and “boo-ing” the neighborhood kids – its become a tradition! And I cherish sitting on the couch flipping through the pictures with my kids and picking what they want to be – I would have never guessed she wanted to be Batgirl instead of princess – my secret little heroine – how fun! Otherwise, I think the reality of the approaching Winter would completely depress me. Also, keep in mind, for some – THIS is their favorite holiday, not Christmas, New Year’s, etc…this is it – they like being scared and can outwardly embrace a little imaginary fun with their peers.

      • Fair points Anita. It’s not my intention to make it less fun for the kids.But pelase, spare me the dress up at work!

  2. This Canadian has to agree…I have never enjoyed halloween. It has always been more of a chore.

  3. I totally agree with your take on this!

  4. William Agush

     /  October 18, 2012

    Would Cabury’s fruit and nut miniatures improve your opinion?

  5. Annie Moore

     /  October 18, 2012

    I have to wholeheartedly agree with you about Halloween, Sam! I have always felt that Halloween is an overly commercialized, blown out of proportion pseudo-holiday, if you can even call it a holiday. It spills over into school as well, which I see no educational value whatsoever. And what about those kids whose families can’t afford to throw away $20 each year for a costume that probably cost 50 cents to make? When my son was in elementary school, his principal did NOT allow kids to dress up at school for this very reason, as well as respecting other cultures that don’t embrace Halloween. And the candy is WAY WAAAAY over the top!! I still haven’t bought ours because once it comes in the house, we start eating it. I usually have to go out and buy more, and the amount of money spent on candy to feed the kids in the neighborhood (and those bused in from other parts of town) just boggles my mind. One year, we weighed the amount of candy that our son collected and it was NINE pounds! We threw out half of it right off the bat (stuff he didn’t like) and the rest sat in the front hall closet for picking, and believe it or not, we had some still left over by the following year. We will pass out candy this year, but our son is too old to go out “trick or treating”. And adults that dress up for Halloween at work, well that’s just insane. Maybe a mask to go around with the kids, on the evening. So, you are not alone and this is one Yank that also says (and has said) bah humbug to Halloween!

  6. I agree Samantha, we go overboard on Halloween. Candy has been in the store for two months. It’s ridiculous. It’s one night! As far as the parties go, I think some communities, including the one I live in offer parties as an alternative to trick or treating. Some parents these days don’t feel safe taking their children door to door also, I live in a pretty religious town and I think they offer parties as an alternative to the “evil” holiday. LOL! (You think I’m joking?) 😉

    • “Evil” – ha! But I can see that, much about Halloween is to do with the afterlife & all that. I just don’t see the connection to dressing up as Princess Leah, Cleopatra, Woody or Batman. Ah well. Thx for stopping by to comment!

  7. I have a love hate relationship with Halloween. Growing up in Switzerland we knew nothing about this holiday, and as an 11+ year old when we moved to Canada, I was already somewhat too old to get into it. Over the years I just shook my head at the whole idea of Halloween and then….I became a parent. Still, while the children were in their infancy, I grudgingly bought the candy and handed it out to the kids who came knocking at the door.


    OhMyGoodness. My kids are 8 and 6 and CRAZY for Halloween. The younger one especially is not scared of anything and combines all the crazy ideas of costumes with the scary ones. “I’ll be a princes witch!” she says and wants to go way out with her costume, accessories and as much face paint and make-up as possible.

    This year marks the first year I actually am looking forward to it. Last couple of years I decorated half halfheartedly just because I loved the way the kids got into it so, but this year, I told myself: in a few short years they will not be as interested and by then it’ll be too late to wish for it to come back. It’s now or never.

    I got me a big fat bin and filled it with decorations. So there. 🙂

    • You are right – the window is short. I’m all for the fun for my kids. I just wish they’d make their own damn costumes!!! Enjoy!


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