Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Love Affair With Halloween--NOT


Hallelujah! Three hundred and sixty-five days until it comes 'round again.

I hate Halloween.

I know, I know. I’m a suspense novelist who kills people and writes about things that go bump in the night. You’d think Halloween would be my favorite day. Nuh-uh.

Can’t say when I grew to hate it so. I certainly did my share of trick-or-treating as a kid, collecting my sackful of candy and hogging it down for weeks afterward. And when my kids were little, I did the dutiful mom thing and took them around. Never liked doing it, though. I was already slipping into my hate mode.

Our kids are spread seven years apart, so when our son was twelve, I allowed him to start taking his little sister door to door. I wiped my hands of that task forever—and quite happily. Only thing was, I found myself stuck at home answering the door for all the other trick-or-treaters. Didn’t like that either.

I guess you could call me the Grinch of Halloween. Some clever BG out there—come up with a name for this, would you? (Hinch? Llowinch?) I’ll bet I’m not the only one around.

I just can’t find anything particularly good about the day. I know some Christians really abhor the idea and will have nothing to do with it. I don’t go that far, although much of the reason I don’t like the day has to do with its less-than-desirable origins. On the practical side, kids simply don’t need all that candy. I have a theory that dentists (and we all know how evil they are) invented trick-or-treating. (See “World’s Worst Dental Patient” at the sidebar.)

So years ago when our kids were still both trick-or-treating, I came up with an idea. It was brilliant on numerous fronts. First, it infused some positive spin on Halloween—for me, of course. Second, it immediately diminished some of my kids’ candy stashes, which was more than needed.

My idea? Parent tax.

I called it tax, when in reality it was more like a tithe. Following that wonderful biblical principle of first fruits belonging to God—ten percent off the top. Although in this case the ten percent didn’t go to God; it went to Mom.

I’d wait by the door for the return of my hapless children. (My excuse was, I was stuck there anyway, having to answer the bell so often.)

They’d sidle in, holding their bulging bags behind them. My arms would reach out, my voice clipped and authoritative. “Parent tax.”

Their shoulders would droop. Exchanging sighs, they’d hand over their loot.

I always took the chocolate. Mini Baby Ruths, M&Ms—plain and peanut—Twix bars, Snickers. This wasn’t as hard on the kids as you might think. If they complained too loudly, we compromised. But most of the time, they were into all the sugary stuff that’s not worth eating anyway. Gummi bears, licorice (what insanity led to the invention of that horrible stuff!), sour tarts. Blah. They could have that rot.

My kids are too old to trick-or-treat now. On Halloween night hubby and I turn off the porch lights and pull down the shades. “We’re not home!” our house screams. “Stay away!” Such total party-poopers. But tell you the truth—most of our street’s the same way. It works. We don’t have to buy candy any more. Not one visitor on Halloween night. I cackle about that all evening.

But, man, I seriously miss that parent tax.



22 comments:

Bonnie Calhoun said...

I'm sitting in the same boat. I hate the day, and that's easy for me to say because I don't have any small children chomping at the bit to gather candy.

We keep our porch lights off and the shades drawn on that side of the house, and since we live in the country it makes it kinda' easy!

Deborah Raney said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Deborah Raney said...

OOPS...had to fix some typos! ; )

I'm with you, too. Hate it! We do answer the door. Had over 50 little goblins come to the door last night. Ended up running out of candy and had to turn off the porch light about 8:30...that's usually about the end of it here anyway. I hate the whole begging-with-a-threat concept, but I must say I was impressed with how many of the kids said a sincere thank-you as candy went into their buckets.

What I really despise is the decorations in stores that seem to go up earlier every year. I love November 1 when I can finally go get groceries without being accosted by witches and monsters and cobwebs and SPIDERS hanging from the ceiling...not to mention half-price Halloween candy!

P.S. I loved Mama Ruth's Halloween story!

Tina said...

The first few of years of my marriage, I answered the door at Halloween. I loved Trick or Treating as a kid, so I thought it would be fun to hand out the candy to little kids. But almost every time I opened the door, I saw groups of 16-18 year olds. There I was, 22, 23 myself, giving candy to those not much younger than me. I thought, good grief, why don't you get a job and buy your own candy!

Now we sit in the dark and pretend we're not home. Another... Hallowinch?

Tina H

Anonymous said...

We had our lights off as well. Hubby went to the store earlier to buy a bag of mini-Snickers and teeny-Milky Ways, "just in case." Well, we are stuck with all that candy now (do I manage to wipe the smile off my face?), and managed to have a peaceful evening. Two more Hallowinches!

Jannie Ernst

C.J. Darlington said...

Finally! Someone who hates licorice like I do. I never have liked the stuff. Give me chocolate (or anything with peanut butter) any day.

Kristy Dykes said...

I loved Halloween as a kid, as a young mother with my children, and as a pastor's wife. Oh, the Halloween parties our churches put on when Halloween wasn't like it is today. Maybe it's the dressing-up part that appealed to me. One year, my husband Milton and I dressed up like two accident victims, wrapped like mummies with blood oozing through our bandages and leaning on crutches. Another year, we were country bumpkins. Etc.

This year, our church had a fall festival last week for our kids. We found unique ways to emphasize Jesus in all of the fun. Last night, we went to a church across town who puts on a fall festival that draws 2,000. It has rides and food galore--all free. Really neat. A family night. A fun night. I almost slid down one of the giant slides but resisted since we had church members with us. GRIN.

At our house, I left lights on by the garage and at the front door, and on my front porch I put a cute straw scarecrow and two big plastic pumpkins full of candy. It was all gone when we got home. It gave me a good feeling. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, good! I love being in such company. I hate Halloween too. We live in a condo with a buzzer to get in, so luckily we don't get trick-or-treaters.

I don't know where the disdain comes from, but it is rampant. I think it's just the idea that a once traditional holiday has become so commercialized.

I don't have a name for the Grinch of Halloween, but how about a slogan for the Halloween haters?

Say "Good bye" to Hallo-ween...

(That's poor, but it's still early - I'll try again later.)

Sarah

P.S. I have a strong dislike for Valentine's Day too.

Ernie W. said...

I remember when we moved to Oregon and we didn't do the halloween thing with our children. So, in our clever thinking we thought, "aha, we don't have to hide in the house Halloween night, we'll just take the kids to the mall and walk around and the kids won't have to feel bad when other kids come to the house and want candy. To our total surprise, there were hundreds of kids running from store to store trick-or-treating. From then on, every Halloween we decided to hide in our home and hope no one would come to the darkened house, mistaking it for some kind of haunted thing. I hate Halloween.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Hallowinch. I like it. Has a nice ring to it.

I never would have guessed I'm in such good company. Halloween lovers out there--dare you speak up?

Domino said...

I'm not a true Hallowinch, nor a lover of the dreaded day. We don't do ghost decorations. I just answer the door when opportunity knocks.

Our neighborhood has tons of kids. For years, I printed out a scripture on a quarter-page of colored paper and glued a candy to it. Most would have "Jesus Loves You" at the top along with a scripture at the bottom. Some would have, "Let me tell you about the SPIRIT that lives in my house." And a scripture about the Holy Spirit.

Every year, a few parents on the sidewalk comment that they like the cards.

In the past, my husband has taken our kids around to get candy in the neighborhood, but most of the time they help give out candy. This year we didn't do the cards, but just told each kid that God loves them.

My daughter is tall for her age and didn't dress in a costume this year - and is very soft-spoken. She opened the door to some older boys close to her height and after giving candy, she said, "(mumble) love you." My son was watching from his upstairs window and came to tell her that the boys were laughing outside. They thought she said, "I love you." Ack! How embarrassing. But she persevered all night. I was only on door duty at the beginning of the night.

Wish I'd known about Parent Tax years ago!

CHickey said...

Parent Tax! What a great idea. My husband and I are reaching the bah humbug Halloween phase.

Patricia W. said...

Don't love it or hate it. Loved it as a child. Dressing up and getting all that candy (which Mom promptly confiscated and hoarded). Wasn't as dangerous then, at least I don't think so, because we were rarely escorted by adults.

DH was raised strictly Pentecostal. Halloween was a no-no, so we didn't observe in early years of marriage. Having kids changed things. Allowed costumes for church gatherings. No trick-or-treating.

Last year went trick-or-treating with kids for first time ever (because we were staying with a family that was BIG on Halloween and we didn't want to be rude when we were invited after they had so generously opened their home to us). Kids had a lot of fun. I did too. Was pretty tame.

This year, I gave out a little candy, then hid behind closed doors while I tried to put my 1 year-old to sleep amidst ever-ringing doorbells. Not easy.

Conflicted.

LaShaunda said...

I guess I'm by myself. I love it. Always have. When I was young my mother use to give us a big party so we didn't trick or treat.

When I became a preteen, I went trick or treating. Loved it.

As an adult still love it. I've hosted a big party at our church for the past 9 years. My kids love it. Last night we had 47 kids playing bibical games and they had a great time. I was tired but it was worth it.

Last night I was a Cardinal girl. One of those hotties that throw out free t-shirts at the baseball games.

I figured I could be a hottie six months pregnant.

Check out my smartie pants on my blog - http://lashaunda.blogspot.com

Cara Putman said...

Yep. I hate Halloween, too. We didn't dress up and trick or treat as kids. You guessed it, don't let me kids either. But we do take "taxes" from their fun food. My theory is they'll pay taxes the rest of their life, so they might as well get used to it now. Though we do get strange looks occasionally.

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

LaShaunda, hottie mama, you go, girl!

GeorgianaD said...

I seriously despise Halloween, and so does my oldest after she found out about the origins. So this I renamed it: NANO EVE.

Still love the parent tax idea, and I'm trying to think of other ways I could apply this.

Pam Meyers said...

Brandilyn, You and I think alike! I live in a condo and it's a locked building. I haven't had trick or treaters for years and I like it that way! Until last year I worked in an elementary school district in the administration building. Every Halloween the kids from the K-2 school next door would come to show off their costumes. Most were cute, but there'd always be a few devils (UGH) and other gory things. I hated that so much. One year the office decided to give them a candy as they left. Just what they needed. I was elected to stand at the door with the bowl of candy. They could choose between Hershey Kisses and Slittles. I was shocked. Nine out of ten times I swear they took the Skittles! I even said to some, "This is chocolate." Still they took the Skittles. I guess the chocolate craving doesn't start until we're old. We just figured there was more for us LOL.

I'm going to sign in as either other or anonymous here because as a fellow blogger I can't post comments because I'm on beta with Bloggers new system and right now they don't talk to each other. Very frustrating

Pam Meyers
psmeyers@comcast.net
http://pammeyerswrites.blogspot.com

Julie Carobini said...

We're not into Halloween either. We've taken our kids to a local church on that night, though, where the staff literally hands out buckets full of candy! And not the hard, boring variety, but CHOCOLATE! The parent tax (although I've never called it that before--mawwaaahh) is alive and well in the Carobini household.

Robin Caroll said...

Hello, my name is Robin, and I love Halloween. I love getting the kids dressed up and taking them trick or treating...love going to the carnival at church. Love having adult parties where we all dress up. Maybe I'm just a kid at heart, but I adore Halloween. LOL

Becky said...

Brandilyn, you are a woman after my own heart!

Becky

Air Force Family said...

I love Halloween. Growing up we never did anything for Halloween. My parents are missionaries and Halloween would not be acceptable to the supporting churches, etc. But that didn't stop me from enjoying everybody else dress up and passing out candy. As an adult and now a mom, I love being able to dress Olyvia up (she was an angel this yr). We didn't getting any trick or treaters this year, but we did take Olyvia trick or treating. I do like the Parent Tax, although, it didn't apply this year to Olyvia. We only went trick or treating at our friends homes, so we called ahead and told them not to worry about getting candy. I asked them instead to get something Olyvia would enjoy: baby food!!! She has been enjoying her "treats". Here I am rambling...