Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bah-Halloweenbug

Halloween. Everyone seems to love it. Except me. Yes, I'm the Halloween Scrooge. I didn't even like it as a kid. I never wanted to be anything but me. I remember one cool costume my mom made- I was a tube of Colgate. But it was made from chicken wire and cardboard. I couldn't sit with it on so it had to come off to sit in my desk at school, which was a bummer since everyone else had theirs on. One year, I even went as a "hooker". Yup. It was the 80's and Pat Benetar made hookers into "Ladies of the Night" and they became acceptable for tweens to emulate in costume for Halloween with a side ponytail and some spray on hair color.

Back then, we also didn't have problems with childhood obesity. We left our houses in the morning, played Manhunt all day (on the weekend) and came back when it was dark. We were outside running around playing and riding bikes all the time. There were no food allergies as the norm and not the exception. We also didn't have so much processed food, problems with food dye and poison in food imported from other countries. Most of our moms in suburbia were home at least part of the day and cooking dinners. There weren't even microwaves for a good part of my childhood. I don't happen to cook dinners, any dinners, so trust me, I'm not even close to saying that's what we're supposed to be doing. But there certainly weren't the amount of choices for meals or the ease of getting pretty much whatever, whenever. And there were definitely less processed foods/ingredients.

I'm just saying things were...simpler. I don't think moms were feeling guilty for working vs staying at home. People just sort of did what they had to do and were quiet about it. And they weren't obsessing on how to make class parties grand. No internet to compare parties, share d├ęcor ideas, and try to out-do each other. And "parties" in school were few and far between, were short, at the end of the day, and included a cupcake or a piece of candy and some kind of holiday-related craft. So getting some candy on Halloween wasn't a big deal. I doubt it wasn't even discussed because there was no social media to debate the merits of candy on and no letters gone viral about how kids are getting fat and their parents shouldn't be letting them eat candy. **For the record, I think that letter lady is nuts and mean. There is also MYOB, which she should exercise better**

Separately, Halloween "issues" or elements wouldn't even be on my radar- like Trick or Treating, a school party, Trunk or Treating, house parties, etc. Separately- one of these things or events, even two, aren't a problem for me. It's the damn OVERLOAD. It's the excess of it all. Not the candy or treats specifically. Wait till the November/December holidays when I really end up on a rampage about excess. But Halloween is also now a "gifting" holiday? I see advertising for Halloween GIFTS?! Are you kidding? It's the age of Pinterest, the age of Mompetitors, and just mountains of excess. So there are school parties that take up a whole morning or whole day, parents are now "invited" (code for "expected") where the working parent feels guilt because they can't make it, and it's filled with garbage food the kids don't need or wouldn't. WHY?? Personally I feel like it's competition. Who's the "BEST" mommy? Intensively labored over costumes that are could rival costumes for a Broadway play, elaborately homemade treats, over the top parties with candy, baked goods, intricate costumes and more. It's always more, more, more. And frankly, I'm over the "more".

Listen, I am not anti-kid or anti-fun and I'm personally definitely not anti-candy. Anyone who knows me knows that. I'm anti such gluttony, overkill, and overindulgence. Bah-humbug right? NO. E gets to dress up. But I don't plan it out for him, I don't care if it's the best or most elaborate costume, and I'm glad they don't celebrate Halloween in his school. Because he's in preschool. Guess what? Preschool is ALREADY FUN just by nature of it being preschool. It's not demanding, he doesn't have homework, he sees his friends everyday, he gets to go outside and run around, sings songs, does yoga, and makes crafts. I'd like that to be my every day. Why do they need MORE? More candy, more partying, more everything? I'm sticking with the idea that it's enough already. In some conversation I was involved in someone said something like, "Well, without the parties it's just school". YES. That's what it's SUPPOSED to be. Just. School. And school for them happens to BE fun. The only reason a kid would say he doesn't want to go to preschool is because of some separation anxiety. Not because of the workload or drudgery.

Everything and everyday doesn't need to be made into the most fun ever. Because that isn't real life. I don't want to break their spirit but Jiminy Crickets, we were FINE with school just being school. And not being entertained for every third Tuesday. There are even more made-up holidays. I don't care what Wikipedia or Hallmark says, in no way did anyone I ever know celebrate Sweetest Day, Grandparents Day, Clergy Appreciation Day, or National Doctor's Day.

Rain is expected this Halloween. So I've heard about parents wanting to CHANGE THE DAY FOR TRICK OR TREATING. Ever heard of an umbrella? Now we're asking to change the day of the calendar holiday because Precious can't get wet?? When I was a kid, I remember some Halloween days being so cold, you had to wear a giant winter coat over your costume! Maybe even a hat & gloves. People just had to assume you were dressed up for the holiday.

There are now Trunk or Treats where kids aren't even expected to walk around and ring doorbells. Parents are decorating their cars, sitting in a parking lot and kids are going from trunk to trunk. It's "safer" because the parents are right there, presumably you know all the parents, and you know the exact whereabouts of your kids. Awesome. I guess. But the kicker- these Trunk or Treats are often scheduled for some other day other than Halloween. Maybe it's the weekend before. AND, they're also having a giant party at school at some point, that the Class Moms have been painstakingly organizing and planning for months, that is supposed to end up rivaling the prom for the amount of work put in. Lastly, there is actual trick or treating ON Halloween. Now Halloween will have gone on for about a week. Or more. Some of the kids don't even understand the days of the week or know what the meaning of a "month" is in relation to time. So they just start thinking everyday is candy, party and costume day.

It's. Overkill. Plain and simple. This is where you can call me old. In this particular case, I long for the "olden days" of the 80's and 90's when parents weren't so overly involved trying to be SuperParent, catering to kids' every whim and trying to make each day full of sweets and endless fun and entertainment. Days where Halloween meant wearing your costume to school, being led around the school yard for a short parade and a short school party with just the class and the teacher for the last 15-30 minutes of the school day. A cupcake, a paper pumpkin and a lollipop. Then Trick or Treating with parents & friends. I don't know where all this overcompensation comes from but there has to be a limit. I can't be the only mom who thinks it's all crazy and has reached a fever pitch of epic proportion.

Happy Halloween. Enjoy, be safe, and good luck raiding all the "good candy" out of your kids bags. I'll be doing the "Jimmy Kimmel told me to tell my kid I ate all his Halloween Candy" YouTube assignment for fun. Just call me Mean Mommy.

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