Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Harvest vs. Halloween

I don't need to be scared of you...

It's that time of year. When the veil between worlds opens up and for a season, wild magic can run rampant in the world with no repercussion. At least, that's how I talk about the holiday with my spawn. They understand this explanation well, and share their knowledge of scary things with other children. It makes them look cool. It's my favorite holiday. Win! And win!

It's not "news" that all over the place, Halloween parties at school are being replaced by Fall harvest parties, as more people are not celebrating the holiday. I used to battle against this all the time when I was teaching, cue the memory of a student calling me a devil worshipper because of my tattoos and piercings and me yelling back at her that the Devil goes to church too. Scared the pants off her and myself, honestly. The holy water don't burn when I go to church, honey. I digress.... I feel a bit disappointed that this is going on now even more. It's taking the fun out of being a kid, in my humble opinion.

Here's where it gets interesting. I was helping out at Pixy's school, which is a Catholic school, and the CHILDREN were discussing this topic. Not because it was being banned from their school, they even have a parade there, but because some of the children have siblings who attend public schools and have to follow different schools. Honestly, I shouldn't be surprised that children can hold sophisticated conversations of their own like this, but to hear them voice my own frustrations in the most innocently accurate of ways...was awesome.

"Halloween Castle" by bplanet from
Spooky or harvest?
In order to hear the conversation in depth, I became a helicopter parent and just hovered by. I NEEDED to hear what they were saying. There was a lot of:" I'm sad that they can't celebrate it. Isn't it just supposed to be fun?" There was also: " I don't see why they're all weirded out. We're playing dress up. Everyone likes to dress up." To this golden nugget from my own spawn: " it can be scary but I don't need to be scared of you in a costume. Lots of scarier things happen in daylight when everyone is watching." Whoa!! Stop the presses!! How do they possess all this wisdom? They're in kindergarten!!! Be a kid, kid!!

Truth is, that children are more in tune with the goings on of the universe than we are sometimes. They overhear things. Trust me, they know more than you do on a good day. So, the fact that they know that other scarier things than neighborhood kids being in costume exist and happen daily, shouldn't be surprising...but somehow it is. Why do we fixate on protecting children from things that for the most part, won't really cause any harm in the long run? Is dressing up as the grim reaper, or a zombie, or a ghost so repulsively horrifying that it will mess up their psyche? Truth is, probably not. We seem to be doing ok and we were exposed to all kinds of parenting that, by today's standards, were irresponsible. I guess, I'm just not sure that's where real evil lies. In costumes, candy, and mischief. Isn't the real evil in the daily things we hear in the news? On the radio? Around us at any time? Will we have to start putting our kids in bubbles to protect them from the next thing that will offend or upset someone?

I think that's where we are headed. Every time someone gets upset about something, they will just take it away, until all we have are robots instead of children. Someone will always be upset about something. It is the way humans work but to target something that is supposed to bring joy to children and adults, make everyone the same age for one night of the year seems...I dunno. Kinda Scroogey.

Perhaps, I'm just upset because it's my favorite holiday. Maybe, it has more to do with school turning into a testing machine instead of teaching anything. For sure, it has to do with the fact that we are protecting a loss of innocence that occurred way sooner than we originally thought and we are scrambling like mad to fix now. Because, let's face it folks, a witch costume did not cause this loss of innocence. Oh no. The loss of innocence I'm talking about is a lot scarier than that. It begins much sooner as the ways of the world seep into our everyday lives, and drives Kindergartners to have passionate classroom conversations about things that walk in daylight that are much scarier. And they're not the walking dead.

As I sit and plan a whole new different costume for Banshee's fall harvest party and separate it from their Halloween night costumes, I shiver a little bit. Yes, me. The woman who really isn't scared of anything and thinks werewolves are cuddly. With that one statement, my daughter just brought a whole new kind of Big Bad through our front door. And there is nothing I can do to keep it away. For now, I will keep on doing my thing: putting up Jack Skellington decorations, carving Jack o' lanterns, and teaching neighborhood skills about the advantages of having a gargoyle on your roof. It will be All Hallows' Eve. We got some candy to score. I guess the rest can wait for another day. Right?

Have you encountered the Fall Harvest vs. Halloween debacle? What is YOUR opinion? 

Photo by bplanet courtesy of