27 October 2011
The Grinch Who Stole Halloween

I admit it; I’m not a fan of Halloween. I love everything that leads up to it, the fall air and turning of the leaves from summer green to autumn yellow, orange and red, the bags of apples at the famer’s marked and the explosion of pumpkins everywhere you look. What’s not to love? The sadness that marks the summer’s end is sweetened by bags of candy corn (though biting into that sweetness reminds me that I have receding gums causing sensitivity and probably another gum surgery is in my future…ah middle age).

The early sunset is my cue to light my Harvest Yankee Candle and enjoy the warmth of home. But Halloween itself? That, I could do without. 

The celebration of Halloween just makes no sense to me.  Even as a child, I never got too excited about the trick or treating itself. First, I grew up in a family that didn’t restrict any food so candy, along with everything else, was plentiful. I didn’t look forward to eating candy any more than I looked forward to eating a salad…both were perfect depending on what I was hungry for. And maybe, if Halloween was in say, June, I would have been more gung ho. But October in the Midwest? It was invariably cold and often rainy, necessitating putting on a coat which always ruined the costume I was wearing because once I was zipped and snapped up, how could you tell what I had dressed up as?

Then there was the doorbell ringing in various neighborhoods where there was always a house rumored to be putting razor blades or other dangerous objects in the candy to kill the children. The TV news would even do stories about parents needing to check through their children’s trick or treat bags in search of said elusive razor blades. Really, where was the fun in this? I could be at home in my pajamas eating candy from our cabinets without fear of bloodshed while I bit into a Snicker’s bar. But no, I would join my group of friends ringing the doorbells and dodging the eggs that were being thrown and the shaving cream that was being sprayed from the suburban hoodlums (who of course, we had crushes on).

And now, now that I am an empty nester with fewer children living in the neighborhood, I’m even less motivated to take part in this whole trick or treat night. For years I still gave out candy with a smile and commented on everyone’s costume. But as less and less kids trick or treat on our street, I find myself becoming a  bit of a bitch, I mean witch, myself for the holiday. See, last year, I did the unthinkable. I didn’t buy Halloween candy. I turned off all of the lights in our home so it looked like we were away, and I dragged my husband to the movies with me. It was the best Halloween ever! 

Did I feel guilty? A little. Okay, a lot. But I’m going to do it again this year (though I am going to go to my neighbor’s house to bring her two young kids chocolate pumpkins before I become the bitch, oops, did it again, I mean the witch for Halloween once again). I’m thinking this year we’ll see the Ides of March.

And in my defense: I get that it’s the excitement of the night for kids. But I also think it’s important for parents to raise their kids as attuned/intuitive eaters, listening to their internal cues to tell them when they’re hungry, what they’re hungry for, and when they’ve had enough.  Without any judgment or forbidden foods, candy becomes just one more option of many to satisfy a particular hunger. 

I know when my son and daughter were young, they enjoyed the trick or treating more than the excitement of eating the treats because our house was always full of candy and they could have some whenever they wanted. Typically, after spreading it out on the table and comparing what they got, maybe eating a piece or two, they’d put their trick or treat bags full of candy in the closet where they would forget about it. And I would forget about the bags too, accept when April rolled in and I would prepare to store their winter coats and find the stale candy in the corner of the closet where it had been since October 31st.

So, I guess I’m the Grinch who stole Halloween. Anyone out there want to join Steve and me at the movies Monday night?

Namaste B’Shalom,



Posted by emfrankel at 12:48 PM | Link
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