Monday, October 29, 2012
Why I hate Halloween
As a kid, I did enjoy the trick or treating. And we lived in a large neighborhood with gazillions of kids, so there was lots of candy to be collected (and eaten – though somehow my older sister always still had Halloween candy at Christmas…).
And as a dad, I’ve taken my kids trick or treating. In fact this may be the first year in about 25 that I don’t actually walk the neighborhood with one my kids. When we lived overseas, we’ve gone to great lengths for the kids to have some kind of trick or treating experience. In Japan, we pre-arranged with other expat families, so expat kids went to expat apartments trick or treating. In Taiwan, we had a great Halloween party at church complete with trunk or treating. And in Venezuela, the school sponsored an awesome Halloween party with trick or treating from classroom to classroom.
Maybe I’m just getting old (and tired), but it’s all so much work for a bag of candy! The choosing of a costume. The making of costumes (which falls to my lovely and creative wife). The schlepping through the subdivision on a night that is somehow colder than all the others before and after.
And if it were only costumes, that wouldn’t be so bad. But the haunted houses creep me out – always have. The fake blood and skeletons and dead bodies. Ick. I don’t know anything about the biology of resurrection, but I’m pretty sure zombies aren’t involved. At least I hope not.
I admit it – I’m a chicken of the highest order. On my mission in Germany, I spent some time in a US Serviceman’s branch, and they had a Halloween party at some farm. They’d set up a bit of a spook alley in a root cellar (descend the skinny creaky stairs into darkness…). It was a mock-up of an auto accident. I kept trying to see things for what they really were – those “eyes” were just peeled grapes. Those “brains” were just cold spaghetti. That corpse on the bench was just the branch president. Until he reached out and grabbed my knee. And I screamed. Like a girl.
That wasn’t my first Halloween trauma associated with a church event. The first was before I was member. My friend in third grade invited me to the Primary Halloween party at church. He also told me the rule: no masks. I was a troll that year for Halloween, in a store-bought costume that pretty much depended on the mask to make any sense. But, in accordance with the rules, I showed up on his back porch sans mask (and looking like a total dork).
He, in the meantime, was being made up by his mom to be an awesome pirate with a bandana, make-up spotted beard, and so on. When he went into the house to get something, I did what any self-respecting third grade dork would do: I ran home. (Fortunately my friend didn’t give up on me; he invited me to subsequent Primary activities, and our family eventually heard missionary lessons and joined the church.)
So I don’t know if my distaste for Halloween stems from my own trauma, or my intolerance for the “ick” factor, or the fact that in my mid-50’s I’m just getting too tired for all of this. But whatever the reason, it’s still true: I hate Halloween. I’ll be glad for November 1, when I can throw the blasted pumpkins in the trash and be done with it.