Monday, November 5, 2012

5. Halloween in November

I will be honest with you here, as I always am.  I hate Halloween.

It started when I was a child.  As soon as I figured out it was a lot less work to just go buy the candy I wanted rather than going door to door begging for whatever the neighbors were giving out, I was over it.  I never enjoyed getting dressed up and I'm not all that clever so my costumes were usually a flop.

Case in point:  One year I sewed various socks to a sweat suit and went as static cling.  I was the only one who found this amusing.

Case 2:  My old company used to let us wear jeans on Fridays and then stopped at some point.  So that Halloween, which happened to be a Friday, I wore jeans and declared I was myself before the dress code change.  Human Resources argued this was not, in fact, an actual costume at all.

The year I was pregnant, Halloween fell at the tail end of my 7th month.  But since I was enormous, I looked like I was carrying triplets and was due any day.  I sort of felt like it, too.  I put up a sign asking to not be disturbed since walking up and down the stairs was quite taxing.  I left a bowl of candy outside instructing kids to take one piece.  Within 30 minutes, all of the candy was gone and so was my bowl.

After my son was born, when he didn't sleep and the sound of someone sneezing 3 doors down could wake him up, the last thing I wanted was Trick or Treaters ringing my bell.  I turned off the lights to signal we weren't giving out candy.  Teenagers showed up, rang the bell more than once and yelled they could see me inside.  And then my son woke up.

I do take my son trick or treating.  He's a kid after all and I'd do anything to make him happy.  I think the last thing he needs is candy.  Really I think that's true of most kids, but I'm really only concerned with what mine eats.  But, we follow traditions and the culture and we go out, dressed up in an overpriced outfit he'll wear one day and knock on the doors of strangers' houses and make them give us candy that I'm more than capable of buying if I actually wanted my kid to have it in the first place.

Last year, there was a blizzard 2 days before Halloween.  The town next to mine postponed Halloween to the end of that week but my town went forward with it.  And so we trick or treated to a few streets and visited family as we always did.

This year, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Halloween was postponed statewide by the governor until today, November 5.  As a long time Halloween Hater, I think this is ridiculous.  If it's not safe to go out on Halloween, then there should be no Halloween.  The street below mine still has no power.  I have friends who just got power yesterday.  Do you really think they are concerned with answering their door a zillion times?

I know the children love it, but not having Halloween will be a lesson in rolling with the punches and dealing with the many disappointments in life. Sometimes things don't work out. Sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate with your outdoor activities.  If missing Halloween is the worst thing that happens to my kid, then I'd say that he had a pretty amazing childhood.

I can't stop thinking about the kids in Staten Island who drowned in a storm surge one week ago tonight.  They probably had costumes all ready to go.  Or the kids who lived (past tense) on the Jersey Shore or Moonachie or Little Ferry, New Jersey, who don't have homes anymore.

And let's forget about the storm for a minute.  What about the kids who can't go trick or treating even under the best of circumstances?  Sick kids, homeless kids, kids with addicts for parents, kids without parents.  Plenty of kids never get Halloween.

I had multiple conversations today where people told me it would just be so awful if Halloween was cancelled this year.  I disagree.  True, I don't like the day to begin with.  And yes, if my son missed out, he would be sad and I'd feel that sadness equally because when my kid hurts, I hurt.  Regardless, this is not a need, it's a want.  It's not a right, it's a privilege.  It's not a necessity.  It won't kill any of our kids to miss Halloween.

Call me a party pooper or a hater.  Tell me I'm a miserable person who doesn't like to have fun.  That's fine, I can take it.  But don't tell me that Halloween must happen or that every kid deserves this or that it's important.  It's not.  I'm sorry, it's just not.

Canceling Halloween won't undo the storm, it won't help the underprivileged kids out there and it won't stop the world from having tragedies.  I understand that.

We had 5 sets of kids ring the bell tonight.  One set was teenagers who weren't even dressed up.  When I called them on it, one girl told me she improvised because it's cold.  I said not wearing a costume isn't improvising.

The bell just rang again.  It's 8pm and my front lights are all off.  That's the universal sign that I'm done with this crap for the night.  I had such an urge to yell at these girls standing on my porch.  But instead I just dumped candy in their bags and went inside.

I hate Halloween.  Not just this year, but every year.  And every year that passes and a big deal is made about it, I think I'm going to hate it even more.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go eat some candy.

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