Are you sitting down? Brace yourselves! WE ARE LETTING OUR KIDS PARTICIPATE IN HALLOWEEN THIS YEAR!!! That's right, for the last 7 1/2 years we have artfully dodged this "holiday". I know you're trying to think of the most non offensive, polite way to ask why we've avoided it for so long...go ahead and ask. (Did you tilt your head a little to side in that sympathetic way to try show that your not really judging us?) Well, there are many reasons....
1) We're mean.
2) We really don't want our kids to have any fun.
3) We're THOSE people.
Just kidding!!! But, did those thoughts come to mind? It's okay, I can take it. Now, the real reasons...
1) We had the awesome experience of going to Disneyland when Joe was 9 months old. Thanks, Young Life All Staff Conference! While we wandered through the fake streets, taking in the pretend sites, Disney characters roamed about. Well! Joe FREAKED out! He was having none of it! If a character even came near him, he would start screaming! His fear of costumes still exists to this day...he will literally start shaking and freeze up. We had to keep him home from preschool on their costume parade day (Pajama Day doesn't even sit well with this kid), avoid Kenny the Kangaroo (at Kennywood), stay at the far end of the mall at Christmas and Easter, and peek in the windows at McD's to ensure him that Ronald was not, in fact, visiting that day. So, Halloween has always seemed more like a torture than a treat.
2) For Joe's first Halloween, we just didn't see the point of dressing up our less than one year old to collect candy that he wouldn't be allowed to eat in weather that is typically Pittsburgh cold. You know a lot of that candy is sketchy anyway...who really likes Bit O'Honey or Mounds???
3) Jay and I have had long discussions about the origins of this celebration. Sure, by today's standards, it's just innocent fun...kids dressing up...neighbors reconnecting...fun for everyone. We get that. BUT! Do you know the origins of the day? Jay and I had a hard time embracing a day that was used to either invite spirits in or ward them off. And the truth is, is that for a lot of people they still embrace the darker side of this day. Did you know that Trick or Treating started as a practice called "souling"? Poor people would go door to door begging for food and in exchange that person would pray for the souls of the neighbors dearly departed in honor of All Souls Day. How did we turn it into "Give me candy or I'll do something to your yard"? How did it go from dressing as a saint to dressing as a sexy nurse or a zombie or a sexy nurse zombie?
4) Regardless of how cute your/our kids look all dressed up, there is some scary stuff out there! Ya know what people around here think is hysterical? Sitting on their porch dressed as a fake scarecrow, waiting for kids to come to the door, then jumping at them. Guess who's kids would be in a coma??? In the past couple of weeks, I've had to explain to the kids that it was highly unlikely that the people down the street killed and buried at least 12 people in their front yard. And I've found myself, more than once, saying "No, those ghosts aren't real and no, they're not going to get you.", "Of course that 6" spider is not real.", "I don't know why someone put Winnie the Pooh in a giant Jack-o-lantern and lit him up." This is not my definition of fun.
*And, yes, both Jay and I dressed up every year when we were kids (ya know, back when costumes were innocent characters and caustic and flammable?). We went Trick Or Treating and we turned out perfectly fine! Why are you laughing?
So what happened this year? Well, Jay was named Executive Pastor of the church we attend and every year they host the event "Trunk or Treat". Members of the church pull into the parking lot, decorate their open trunks and give neighborhood kids candy. No scary decorations or haunting music or hiding monsters and, hopefully everyone will hand out good candy! The Community Center is also open so that people can hang out, eat hot dogs, etc. Since, we're now part of this church family and the kids wanted to dress up, we thought it might work out okay. Don't worry, Joe already has an escape route planned in case there is any unforeseen, costume related incidents.
I'll let you know how it goes.