Sunday, October 26, 2008

When Did Halloween Become A Season?

I'm not sure what the Halloween equivalent of Scrooge is, but I'm slowly turning in to it.

Growing up (back in the dark ages, i.e. the late '70s/early '80s), Halloween was on October 31st. The night before we would carve our pumpkins. On Halloween proper, we went to school in our usual clothes, came home and ate dinner. Only after all of that did we put on our costumes and head out in to the neighborhood with our plastic orange jack o' lantern buckets to trick or treat.

Somehow in the past 25 or so years, Halloween has morphed from an evening into a month-long costume/witch/ghost/candy corn extravaganza. There were no fewer than 3 Halloween events we could have gone to yesterday in our neighborhood alone. While I appreciate that this fosters a sense of community, it seems to be spiraling out of control. I get the ubiquitous "Fall Festival" - that works for me - but Halloween events 2+ weeks prior to October 31st just aren't right.

Why is this? Do people really enjoy dressing up in costume that much? Or is it more of a compensation for the fact that so many of the traditional December holiday celebrations have been scaled-back due to political correctness? I know Halloween is a Big Time Holiday for many (including a dear friend of mine who puts on a phenomenal party for the occasion each year - we miss you, A!), but it's gone too far.

I know of more than one friend who has had to acquire a second costume for his/her child because the first one is already worn out from use this year. Are you kidding me? I've always had trouble coming up with just one. (Allow me an aside to describe my all-time favorite Halloween costume: Fourth grade, Cindy Lauper, complete with the spray-colored hair, Mr T-like necklaces, and mismatched tiered flowing skirt. Too bad for you I can't find a picture. Of course, D's favorite Halloween costume of mine was the skin-tight tiger print getup I had one year when we were dating. But I digress.)

I'm not to the point where I'm totally down on Halloween - my kids have costumes, I've already bought the candy (Snickers and Skittles, just in case we're "stuck" with leftovers), and we made the journey out to the pumpkin patch last week to pick out two orange orbs for jack o' lanterns. On Friday, S&A will be dressed up in their Halloween best, ready to go and ply pounds of refined sugar from friendly neighbors. I just feel like some of the fun and magic gets lost when the celebration is carried on too long.

ETA: I just saw Kate's Halloween post as I finished writing this one - glad I'm not the only one!


Amy in Ohio said...

It does get too busy. P's only 2 and there were three things this weekend for Halloween "fun". Not fun when naptime is missed to be sure.

I don't know the reasoning, but I have never been that big on Halloween. The threat of being scared and wetting myself always lingered over my head.

At least for now P's in cute costumes and is happy with three pieces of candy. Get back to me in a few years, I'll probably have a different tune.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I agree - too many halloween activities. If people love dressing up so much, why aren't there more costume parties. Ones where things aren't so SCARY!

Kim said...
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Quart said...

Will is wearing a firefighter jacket his grandma gave him this summer. I have never been that into Halloween and I totally hear you. I am looking forward to their school parade, where all the kids walk around the perimeter of the building in their costumes. It lasts for, like, 5 minutes, but it's really funny!