What is being said....

"I need dessert for my blood sugar."

Mallory, 7 yrs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Halloween or Bah Humbug?

I have never liked Halloween. Well at least not since the 6th grade. That’s the year I thought I was too old for costumes & going door to door for candy. Junior Highers just don’t do that sort of thing you know. As an adult, I never liked attending Halloween parties, I don’t like dressing up, I HATE clowns, and I don’t like handing out candy to strangers. (I used to turn out all the house lights and sit in the back bedroom watching TV so nobody would come to the door.)

Alas, when I got married, that kind of behavior just wouldn’t fly. Apparently it’s neurotic. So, each year (since we’ve had kids) our family has celebrated Halloween by attending the Harvest Festival at Resurrection Fellowship Church in Loveland with all of the grandparents, cousins, aunts & uncles. It’s a safe, fun, warm way for the kids to play some games & get candy without having to be out in the cold and subjected to grotesque costumes that would make a Marine cry for his mommy.

The other night we were sitting around the dinner table and Jynelle was asking each of the kids what they wanted to dress up as for Halloween. Bergen wanted to be Darth Vader, Mallory wanted to be a Princess/Fairy/Butterfly, and Hatch wanted to be a snake (all of this has changed many times by now). I’m minding my own business, focusing on one of my favorite times of the day, dinner, and Jynelle tries to drag me into the conversation by asking me what I think the kids should be.

In my best Robert Young impersonation, and speaking before thinking, I said “How about if we don’t celebrate Halloween and just do something fun together as a family.” Well you would have thought I had suggested we kill the family dog (sorry Lucy). My mortified (and beautiful) wife asked me to explain myself and help get the kids calmed down.

I explained that we would end up spending roughly $60 - $80 on 4 costumes plus some extra money for candy, snacks, & whatever other expenses come up during the night. Plus, we never get a chance to just enjoy our time together because each of the kids wants to go in a different direction and keeping up with all the family (there are 18 of us) is a whirlwind. (I didn’t mention the fact that since there are no scary costumes allowed, there are a number of clowns and it freaks me out!) I suggested we take the money and go swimming at the Rec Center or bowling, or Chuck E. Cheese…anywhere where we could just go and have fun. Or we could save the money and stay home and play games, watch movies, and eat candy.

Jynelle (did I mention she’s beautiful?) suggested that anywhere we go, there are going to be Halloween festivities and the costumes aren’t “regulated” so there is no telling what the kids will see. I smugly answered “Not if we go swimming at the Rec Center” (of course some of those outfits can be pretty scary too). So, Jynelle throws down the gauntlet and said “Well, you’d better figure out what we’re doing, because Halloween is just a couple of weeks away”.

I started to think about why I wanted to avoid celebrating Halloween. Is it my pride again (see Dumpster Diving Queen below), is it against my Christian belief to celebrate “The Devil’s Holiday” (be in the world, not of it), or is it not wanting to deal with the hassle of meeting everyone’s expectations? I wish I could say I was more convicted spiritually and isn’t right for our family to celebrate Halloween, but in reality, I don’t see the harm in having some “alternative” fun instead of haunted houses, scary costumes, and trick or treating. I know Christian families who go to both extremes regarding Halloween and I am not about to say which point of view is right or wrong. That is a slippery slope and we’ll leave that debate to the professionals. I think mostly I just don’t want to deal with the hassle of it all and my pride does get in the way (I still won’t dress up for a family theme).

So, after long and thoughtful debate, I have decided we’ll go to the Harvest Festival this year (Feel free to join us. It’s really fun.). If I (as the “Leader of the Household”) don’t find anything morally wrong with going, then it’s my personal issues that would keep us from going and I can’t impose my issues on everyone else (stupid Dr. Phil). However, I will keep the discussion open with the family and see if maybe next year, with a bit more planning, we can do something separate from Halloween. Anybody have any ideas (and no clowns!)?


No comments: