Not my favorite ‘holiday’, it causes me to grimace and shudder but not because of the scary costumes.
I’ve gone back and forth and forth and back on how I feel about Halloween..or All Hallow’s Eve, er…the Eve of All Saints? What if I put in a few more apostrophe’s – Hall’o’ween?
You see, once upon a time, I was a little girl and Halloween was a regular fun day at our house growing up. We dressed up, we knocked on people’s doors and got candy—and got to eat it and we were normal.
Until—Rosalie. [cue: Alfred Hitchcock or the Twilight Zone music]
Rosalie was the lady that came once a month or so to help my mom clean the house (I think she tricked my dad into this service when she had preeclampsia with my little brother and was on bed rest for a bit.) Rosalie was a nice enough lady and did a fantastic job cleaning the house. (I always loved coming home from school on her cleaning days to find my room all nice and fresh.)
But, Rosalie was a little crazy and had some interesting ideas about Christianity and the occult.
My mom is an incredibly smart woman, she’s classy and never wore denim jumpers or anything like that but Rosalie was such a kind woman and meant so well she got a tad sucked into her extreme ideas. The devil is bad bad bad and the last thing my mom wanted was for any of us to get caught in his claws, even if by accident.
So, suddenly anything that had the slightest possible connection to the occult got thrown out—literally.
Anything in any way related to witchcraft, spells or any other hocus-pocus was gone—including, all my troll dolls I got for my 10th birthday and, believe it or not, peace signs. Somehow even my Barbie dolls got caught in all this and zapped away also. (I think the “Halloween grinches” were in league with the Barbie-doll prohibitionists during those days.)
So that year (a.k.a the “Rosalie year”), instead of dressing up in fun costumes and collecting yummy treats around the neighborhood, we spent Halloween hiding from trick-o-treaters in our basement. Sure, we got to watch a ‘family movie’ but how does that beat free candy? It wasn’t all bad though, one year they did take us to an “All Saints Day” party out in the country somewhere with the “homeschoolers”.
Thankfully Rosalie moved away and the spell she had over my mom slowly faded away and we didn’t have to hide in our basement every Halloween; but it was never the same again. The fear that the devil would steal my soul if I even uttered the “H” word out loud held a strong grip on me for quite a while. I honestly don’t remember Halloween time after that first prohibited year – I blocked it from my memory (aside from a couple fun high school parties I could never forget)
When I got married and had kids the same childhood fears returned. Should I let my kids participate in Halloween or would I be leading them to the dark side?
My husband mostly laughed at me (as usual) so we eventually compromised, as long as I could call it “Costume Day” I would let them dress up and have one or two pieces of candy. (you see by then, I knew sugar was almost as evil as the devil himself) I was convinced this would work and they would never know the truth. Oh and they’d only be allowed to dress-up as nice happy things like pretty princesses or puppies.
Fast forward a few years (zzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZZZP!) I’m a mother of four and we are very much a part of the outside world withvery smart and perceptive kids.
I still get all itchy and twitchy when Halloween time comes around but decided that unless we hid in our house from about September through November 1, there is no way of avoiding Halloween. Like my friend, Monica, said, we live in the world and we can’t just sit at home watching religious movies and reading religious books our whole lives. Besides, it’s not going to kill our kids’ souls to let them watch/read/listen to something not directly related to Jesus and Mary or the Angels & Saints.
I still don’t particularly like this day but I now enjoy watching the kids have fun dressing up and collecting all sorts of horrible sugary treats (which we still limit how much they actually get to eat in one sitting because puke sucks). We talk to our kids honestly about our feelings about Halloween and have our own set of ‘rules’ (similar to these). We’ll never allow them to dress-up as anything evil (sorry, no ‘cute’ little devils) or overly grotesque or watch anything that would give them nightmares (this may have more selfish reasons – we’d sure be sorry in the middle of the night when they woke us up screaming at the top of their lungs). That said, while we don’t have to completely shun Halloween, we can’t be ignorant or use it to hide the fact the devil is out there and he’s not our friend. I still struggle though, with how to do this. Part of me hates even talking about the devil because I don’t want to give him more credit or attention than is due but, on the flip-side, I want my kids have some fear of the darker powers that really do exist; they need to know heaven is real but they also need to know hell is too and their choices in this life could land them in either of those two (or purgatory) after this.
I realized how far I’ve come when we went shopping for costumes this year and I turned to see my boys playing with the Grim Reaper and Demon masks. My former self would have totally freaked imagining the devil taking over their souls from merely touching masks like that and me having to call the priest to deliver an emergency exorcism right there in the store. Ironically, my boys decided to be ghosts this year—and I was totally cool with it. (Which proves I’ve really changed my views on Halloween or being the mother of four has made me weak and lazy – white cloth, 2 holes for eyes, 1 for mouth, done.)
Oh and about All Saints Day. I see it is a separate day—a Holy Day in fact. Why try to mess with combining the two when they are obviously not connected anymore?
However, I could always let them dress up as one of the martyrs for Halloween—would that count as both a Halloween and All Saints Day costume?
(psst, Mom if you are reading this, don’t worry, I’m don’t blame you for the past and am totally over it…can I have my troll dolls back now?)