I can’t stand Halloween! How’s that for AWKWARD?

Well, it’s nearly that totally creepy time of the year where we are legally allowed to walk about freely, goo all over faces, acting like lunatics, knocking on random doors to exchange a moments “spookiness” for a piece of lame candy.

We never used to have Halloween in Australia. We knew it was American, and we didn’t pretend it was part of our culture. It was nice to see it in film or TV. Then I moved to London, and Halloween celebrations were starting to infiltrate London life. Houses were draped in scary. In fact, some competitively so. Pumpkins were either hacked or carved creatively.

I didn’t need to worry as my kids weren’t interested in it – until they were. And suddenly it was on our agenda. That’s when I truly knew that I couldn’t stand Halloween. Being the good sport that I was, I shared my view with my daughters. They just didn’t see it my way – it was just fun, lollies, costumes and of course “everyone is doing it”. They bought the commercialised version of Halloween hook, line, and sinker. 

The costumes were kind of cute despite being horridly overpriced for a wear only once-a-year outfit. And let’s note that children grow a lot in a year – so this outfit is often a one-time wonder! The kids loved scabbing from complete strangers, which undermined my intensive stranger danger training to ensure they didn’t accept offerings from strangers nor invitations to come to their car to see their puppy.

Was I the only parent to have a slight fear that some mad neighbour was going to poison the chocs?? Only a few years before there had been anthrax attacks in America, and London was gripped by the Polonium-210 poisoning of Russian businessman Alexander Litvinenko, not to mention the widespread use of Rohypnol as a date-rape drug.

Could I really be the only parent concerned about spiking? Well, it appears I was, and how lonely it was to be that parent who both hated and had anxiety about Halloween. Maybe as a therapist I’d just seen and heard too much.

The children’s massive, sweet stash flew in the face of moderation lessons I’d been implementing and because the contraband was delivered directly into the children’s own receptacle – the sweets were technically “theirs”. This all irritated me. I just couldn’t hide it. This Halloween-hating, bitch-mama told them to choose their fav 10 sweets and then send the rest back out to fellow trick or treaters.

Why were we indulging kids in this weird American culture that had no relevance to us? I totally get it from a child’s perspective – but why do we buy into it? Even if we know that Halloween celebrates All Hallows’ Eve dating back to a pagan festival, why do we celebrate it now? Does anyone care about that?

How’s this – the origins were that people would dress up as saints and go door to door. Yes – you read it correctly – saints!  

How did we go from door knocking saints to grotesque and misshapen faces in expensive outfits often worn once, sweet begging, and poison dodging Halloween? This feels like a whopping stretch to me. Have you ever seen even one kid in a saint costume on Halloween? Yeah – me neither.

Well, I guess saints’ costumes don’t sell so well. In 2020 – even in the middle of a pandemic – Halloween added $8 million to the US economy. So, it makes perfect sense why Halloween moved swiftly around the globe in the last 2 decades. Everyone wants a dollar from the merch.

If we really need to have Halloween – why can’t we get the kids to engage in behaviour that’s even remotely saintly before scabbing – like performing a random act of kindness, or raise some money for charity, or walk the neighbour’s dog. Then I think I might just like Halloween – even a little bit.

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