Tuesday, October 14, 2008

We Just Call Them "Fall" Costumes

We don't celebrate Halloween at our house. This is not an easy thing. First of all, I have discovered that it is culturally more acceptable not to celebrate Christmas, because there are many religions who do not. But it seems that all but us Christian extremists (joke! I don't think we are extreme - at least not in the dangerous connotation that word has gotten lately.)

Anyway, I was discussing this last year with Aaron, and he said the reason it's harder to abstain from Halloween is because it's a community holiday. It's not specific to a religion, so no one is afraid of offending anyone by have a Halloween party. And, this is the one time of the year that some see their neighbors! Christmas is celebrated in your own house, with your own family.

My kids know about Halloween, of course, just like they know who Santa Claus is. We just "don't do" them in our house. Leah doesn't really care, 'cause she gets to dress up and go to "Fall" or "Harvest" parties, and she gets candy at said parties. We'll see what happens as she gets older, but maybe then she'll understand our reasons for not partaking: 1) It's associated with things we usually avoid and see as bad: witches, ghosts, vampires, etc., 2) I find decorating with skulls and spider webs rather icky, and 3)Halloween seems to be an excuse for bad behavior - breaking pumpkins, vandalism, etc. To us, that is a sign it is not a good holiday to celebrate.

Plus, have you SEEN the costumes they try to market to girls? Seriously, they are all like versions of the traditional hooker costume. And I'm not just talking about women's getups, either - they go as young as middle schoolers. Feminists, there is some battle ground to be won here.

Of course, my own conscious tells me that celebrating the harvest is even more pagan than Halloween itself. I even had the thought the other day that the scarecrows people use for decorations remind me of effigies- a few pumpkins inside is plenty for us.

We usually spend Halloween evening buried in our house, trying to make it as dark as possible. But last year, we had several people still ring our doorbell. Too bad for them. They got some weird pumpkin gumballs that I'd bought the day before to try. Reaffirming my dislike of the holiday, the next day we found several of those gumballs chewed up and spit out on our driveway and sidewalk. Probably the middle-school age boys that weren't even in costume. Bah, Humbug!

If you're planning on visiting us on the 31st, you'd best call ahead - otherwise you'll just be ignored. Or be given some gross candy. Your choice.


Blue Castle said...

We're avid Halloween abstainers too. We do the same thing - hole up in our house and turn off the doorbell. My kids are really scared by some of the Halloween decorations that people put up. There are way too many skeletons popping up out of fake graves here in town.

I didn't know you guys felt the same way. :)

P.S. Ryan signed up for the marathon in Fargo next May. Hopefully we can get together with you guys. :)

Noel said...

Or consider going to Duluth for literary purposes...

Glensheen Living Literature: Edgar Allan Poe
Thursday, October 23, Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25 at 7 PM

Details: The stage is set for spooky thrills. It is living literature like no other: experience and eerie classic by Edgar Allan Poe in a 39-room mansion on the shores of Lake Superior. Event includes a “flashlight tour” and refreshments. “What’s that sound?”

Price: $30

Call: 218-726-8910, 1-888-454-GLEN or e-mail info@glensheen.org

Noel said...

Just to remove a bit of randomness from my Poe post...our family is contemplating Thanksgiving in Duluth and last night I was investigating potential family activities while there. Unfortunately there is autumn leaf / Halloween stuff in October and Christmas stuff in December, but not much in November. Glensheen, the mansion hosting the Poe event, is a mansion built about 1910 by a iron barron. It was donated to the University of Minnesota - Duluth which runs the site as a museum. My wife and I have toured it once and it is on the list of places to visit (along with the paper mill) with our daughters once they are "old enough". A year ago, Ilene and one of the girls toured Fairlawn which is a lumber barrons home across the lake in Superior Wisconsin. There are also quite a few Victorian bed and Breakfasts in Duluth who prefer to play 19th century wealthy without the docents.

Aaron said...

So, "fall costumes", candy, and parties are still attended? Isn't that basically what Halloween is?

Oh, and please give out candy. Every 10-year-old that sees that you are home and not giving out candy will think you are a jerk. It's not worth it.

Noel said...

Since I'm already on a literary tangent on this blog entry, I will make note here that the author of _Wicked_ has a new book out, _ A Lion Among Men_, dealing with the Cowardly Lion.

Also noted this week are allusions to _Wizard of Oz_ in the latest Veggie Tails movie _The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything_.