I have a confession to make. I hate Halloween. Although I seem to remember having fun as a child dressing up and loading up on candy, I now find the holiday exhausting and not much fun.
Maybe what I dislike is the completely kid-centered nature of Halloween. After all, the other big holidays – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and Easter, to name the most obvious – all center on families and being together. There is also a religious element that gives them meaning. But Halloween? It’s all about scaring yourself and getting a pillowcase full of candy.
Since becoming a parent, I have learned to dread the approach of All Hallow’s Eve. Round about August, my kids would start talking about what they were going to be for Halloween. They usually changed their minds numerous times, driving me insane as I spent way too much time in our local party stores arguing with them about costumes.
The costume dilemmas only get more difficult as children get older. Schools have strict rules about the presence of blood, gore and fake weapons, for instance. So my sons would complain there was nothing good to choose from. Tween girls pose an entirely different problem, as most of the costumes geared towards them look like something from Frederick’s of Hollywood.
And then there’s the candy. Truck loads of it wound up on our family room floor, where my kids would dump, sort, and trade with each other – all while eating too much sugar and strewing the carpet with candy wrappers. Already hyper from their school’s Halloween parade and party and then running from house to house with friends, my kids were hard to settle down and get to bed on a school night.
Over the years, I have tried to overcome my dislike of Halloween. I try to get into the spirit by dressing up in a costume and inviting friends over for a bowl of chili and a beer. And I do enjoy answering the door and handing out treats to the adorable little neighborhood kids. But let’s face it. If there were a Halloween Grinch, I would be it.
After the Christmas holidays, I am always a bit sad as I dismantle the tree and take down all the festive decorations. In contrast, my Halloween decor, which has gotten less and less elaborate as my children have gotten older, is down and packed away by midday on Nov. 1. Good riddance, Halloween, I Grinch-ishly hum to myself.
Then I go through my kids’ candy stash, put my feet up, and enjoy a well-deserved rest.