Monday, October 29, 2012

Why I hate Halloween

I know, I know. Call me Scrooge if you like. But don’t expect me to have my head turned by visits from the Ghosts of Halloween past and future. I just don’t like 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.


  1. I'm 2 decades younger than you and I feel similarly. I hate how the sugar rush makes my kids turn into *actual* monsters (for a brief, but traumatic amount of time) and how all things scary and ghoulish are touted as fun and silly.

    Sure, I sound like a fuddy-duddy, but I just don't see the Saviour dressing up in a zombie costume, do you? :/

  2. I give my lovely wife a lot of credit -- she is more patient with this dumb holiday than I am. And she has done some terrific costumes in the past (we have always tried to avoid the icky ones, though when our boys hit middle school they all leaned that way).

    We skipped our ward's Halloween party this last weekend and went out to dinner as a family instead. Our 12-year old daughter was a little bummed, but she enjoyed her meal out with us. :-)

  3. I pretend to love Halloween, but I've disliked it for the longest time. Sure, I like the cute costumes --it's always fun to have a little photo shoot with my kiddos --but I hate having to figure out what to wear myself. I really dislike the candy, too --pounds and pounds of diabetes and cancer causing treats, and if I pay my kids to throw them away, I'm a monster! How could I!? Or if I pass out something non-food related, I'm crazy. I tried pencils one year and the neighborhood kids said the rudest things.

    I hate the gore. I hate the excuse for women to dress like hookers. I'm a fan of a good ghost story or suspenseful drama, but not the horror.

    So! In order to bring harmony into my home and allow Halloween to exist, I've decided to go the cute route. I have cutesy decorations. We carve pumpkins (kids love that) and do costumes (rule: no gore). We go to the ward trunk-or-treat, but we don't go around to houses. I convince the kids to choose their favorite candy and then we throw the rest away. On Nov. 1st, the Thanksgiving decor comes out and the pumpkins go in the trash.

  4. I'm so glad we aren't alone in this. We really dislike (actually, more HATE) the whole holiday for many of the reasons you have listed. We put up our Thanksgiving decor at the beginning of October in protest. Here's to only 3 more days until Nov. 1!

  5. Glad you've both mentioned Thanksgiving -- my favorite holiday (except maybe Easter). A great meal, a day off work, and giving thanks. No gifts. Cool seasonal decorations. And family time. Yep, I'm a big Thanksgiving fan.

    (For Easter we have never done Easter baskets; the Easter bunny has never come to our home (shock!). We have a family Easter-egg hunt on Easter Saturday and the plastic eggs are filled with candy which gets dumped into a communal basket. Sunday's all about the Atonement.)

  6. It's so true that it's always the coldest night. Haha, made me laugh!