When I was a kid growing up in Upstate, NY I celebrated Halloween. Every year my brother and I would spend days trying to figure out what we would wear and how many pillow cases we would fill with candy. We didn’t have money to buy costumes, so it pretty much depended on what we could find in our parents closet. You know the old school costumes like hobos, clowns, 70s dancers. We had a few years it was too cold to stay out long and then there were years that we probably traveled way too far from home on foot with our housing project friends. I don’t remember my last year trick or treating and I don’t remember if the thrill just wore off or if my mom put a stop to it. But I do remember in the mid 80s times changed. All of a sudden my mom spent time going through our bags and made sure to discard the open pieces, anything homemade or anything that otherwise looked suspicious.
And that was the beginning of my change in attitude about Halloween. When you know better, you do better right? I mean at least that’s how it’s suppose to be. Now there are a thousand different interpretations of Hallows Eve, some say it’s a devils holiday, some say it has Pagan roots and others believe it derived from a Christianized feast. But all agree that it is a time dedicated to remembering the dead and as for our home, we decided pre-babies that we don’t celebrate Halloween. I mean there a lot of things I USED to do that I no longer believe in. It’s called life, and learning and maturing.
Seems simple enough EXCEPT we live in Greenville, traditionally home to the largest Halloween celebrations east of I-95 in our state. Halloween is a big deal around here. It’s not uncommon to pass several adults in costumes on street corners promoting costume stores, which this year opened around Labor Day. Costumes are EVERYWHERE. I’m not sure how many Halloween images my children see daily this time of year, but I am certain it increases every year.
In the past church fall festivals or allowing my daughter to pass out candy at our home and keep what’s left seemed to work, but this year seems really difficult. Fewer churches are having activities and Halloween Party invites keep coming. At four and half she’s smart, feisty and analytical. She challenges everything and simply saying we don’t celebrate Halloween is not enough.
“Mommy, I’m sad,” she said. “All my friends keep asking me what I’m going to be on Halloween.” I reply “I’m sorry you are sad about that, but we don’t celebrate Halloween and we shouldn’t change our beliefs to fit in with other people. Your friends will still be your friends after Oct. 31st.” For five minutes we go back and forth about this day. It fizzles out because it’s time to pick up her brother from day care, but I know it will come up again….and again….and again.
As a parent, I believe diversity is power. I think having people with different backgrounds and beliefs makes us stronger, in that I wish our society wasn’t so over enthralled with one custom that it makes it virtually impossible for those who feel differently to co-exist. So I’m not sure what the Taylor home will do next year or the year after that or the year after that, but I do know this year, we’re packing up and getting the heck out of dodge, just to avoid the craze.