Halloween Humbug!

I don’t know what it is especially but I do not like Halloween and I do not like children being involved in it. When I was a youngster we didn’t acknowledge it. We knew it happened over in America and that gave it some appeal but it was only as onlookers.

I suppose the surfeit of the ‘Halloween’ genre of films in the late 80’s early 90’s brought it more into our experience and at some point after this it became the massive industry it is now.

Why don’t I like it? Well I am very against encouraging children to terrorise people with their Trick or Treating. In the USA it is part of the culture but here it is not. So you have a large portion of the population who do not want to be disturbed and then have eggs and flour thrown at their doors.

The picture of youngsters skipping down the street with mums or dads, popping into neighbours homes for sweets seems to be very far from the truth. It has been used in some case by gangs of youths to demand money with menaces.

Over the years the fancy dress has moved into something grotesque with enough blood to keep a transfusion service going for quite a while.  The masks and other props are so scary that I cannot imagine any youngsters not having nightmares. I understand that there is a Gaddafi mask doing the rounds. Surely that is no way to teach children what is appropriate.

For schools it is another ‘celebration’ that they are expected to support. I know of a PTA that has gone to a great deal of trouble to decorate the school hall in preparation for a Halloween disco.

Can someone explain to me why we encourage our children to experience this annual event? What do they learn? Where is the fun?  I especially like to hear from anyone who is the parent of a nervous youngster and how they cope at this time of the year.

This is a cross post with ‘I Don’t Like Halloween’ over at the Head’s Office as both appeal to different audiences.

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20 comments

  • Robert Johnston

    We never celebrated Halloween much in the UK because we have bonfire night on 5th November. But there has been a lot of commercialization in recent years to sell scary tat: I think there must be a lot left over, but it doesn’t stop them from trying to sell it. Some of the costumes look very flammable. I do wonder if they try to push this American festival in the antipodes when Australians etc are looking forward to their Summer.

  • Interesting to read your thoughts on Hallowe’en. It really isn’t my thing either – in fact I wrote a piece about it on my blog, Writing from the Edge, called Happy Hallowe’en
    http://lorely-writingfromtheedge.blogspot.com/2011/10/happy-halloween-ive-been-wondering-what.html
    But where I live, it is the major event of autumn!

  • We celebrate Halloween at my house. However, we stick strictly the houses with porch lights on, and there is absolutely no egg or flour throwing. I think people put too much into this holiday (pagan celebration and what not. All of our holidays can be traced back to that but that’s another story). Anything that allows the kids to have fun, be creative and dress up in costumes I’m all for. It’s just supposed to be fun!

  • I too think there is a fun side, and it shouldn’t be taken too seriously. but i also agree that a small minority mistreat it. I will never give money at my door, so i get some disappointed, frankly too old, trick or treaters when I thrust a mini mars in their hands.

    M2M

  • Years ago, Julia, it was fun. We went when it was pitch black outside, our parents made our costumes, and neighbors would invite you into their homes. Our one neighbor would set up his entire garage with his train set. It was scary and fun. Today the prices of costumes is outrageous or they are so cheaply made–all plastic or vinyl.Now the kids trick or treat before dark. 🙁 I am no longer a fan of Halloween because of these reasons.

  • It’s all a nonsense isn’t it, but fun nonsense. The mass marketing of it is a relatively new phenomenon to my mind, but that’s the way of the world. And the netherworld perhaps. The kids love it so I’m not arguing.

    I’d like to get all ranty with the church type, but I won’t. 🙂

  • Han

    Okay so I wrote an epic answer then decided I was going round in circles lol.

    As a Christian I believe that we shouldn’t celebrate Halloween as it’s based on a pagan festival. Now to have a proper look into it I looked at CARM (Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry) as I figured they’d have a better worded answer than me lol.

    So it says in the Bible not to be involved in practices that support or “celebrates” the occult, witchcraft or that kind of thing. So in that sense you can’t really celebrate Halloween. However some Christians do say that providing that the costume you’re in isn’t demonic in nature (like a little devil. ghost, witch etc) then it would be okay.

    The way we do is it at church is to host an alternative party so you come to the church building and hang out. We’ve had karaoke, a bouncy castle, a cocktail bar (Don’t worry it was nonalcholic and you came up with your own crazy creations), make up and hair salon thing for the girlies, computer games for the boys. Basically a fun night out for the kids so that they didn’t feel left out when their friend’s were going trick or treating. If they wanted to come in fancy dress it was allowed – we’ve had a number of kids who have been out trick or treating been past the church and decided to stay!

    So yeah I don’t celebrate it, when I have kids of my own I’ll leave CJ to explain and we’ll take them to an alternative night like church runs.

  • Julia, I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Halloween from outside the US. When my kids were small, we always took them to a “halloween alternative.” Our church, wherever we were stationed in the US in the military, always had some kind of “Hallelujah” party where the kids could dress up [no evil stuff allowed!] and play games and get a lot of candy, LOL. Many, many churches do this now. I think the popularity of this kind of event has really grown over the years in the US. This is the first year I’ve heard of churches and others hosting “Trunk or Treats.” Sounds interesting.

  • It was not a South African thing at all. When I moved to this complex 9 years ago, the 2 Canadian children came round. All I had was a small packet of sweets and an apple for them.

    Nowadays there are streets where the parents all walk with the small children and neighbours hand out some sweets. But I think there’s more at clubs etc in terms of horror.

    I really can’t relate, it’s not a holiday with any real history here

  • Interesting post. My children and I love Halloween, we carve a pumpkin, dress and up and go trick or treating. It is customary to leave a lighted pumpkin outside your home if you welcome trick or treaters, this way no one gets disturbed that doesn’t want to be involved.
    I think it is an excuse to celebrate at a darker colder time of the year. As far as I’m concerned winter needs all the celebrations it can get!
    However I don’t like any of the things you have mentioned about halloween, but tbh haven’t really encountered any problems in my area. Perhaps it’s living in a fluffier part of of Bristol.

  • This is a really interesting question. I never understood the threatening side of Halloween, the urge to smash pumpkins and toilet paper trees. For me, as a child, I loved the spooky adventure of going out in the dark on and often cold, sometimes snowy, evening in October, dressed as something I wasn’t. This year, my daughter is so excited because she has recently become a fanatic about all things Snoopy related, so her costume is Snoopy dressed as the World War II flying ace. I have to love that. I would be disturbed if she embraced the gorier side of the holiday. I struggle with Halloween every year because I am fascinated by the spookier side of things, and I want my daughter to be able to enjoy some of the adventures of childhood. But now, trick-or-treating happens earlier (often before the sun even sets) as our world becomes more and more paranoid about protecting our children. And I see children going around grabbing candy, or emptying bowls into their bags in a show of greed and gluttony that repulses me, while their parents look on with smiles on their faces. I make sure Sarah says thank you, and most of her candy gets “donated” to college students rather than left at home to tempt her. So, to try and sum up, the fun of Halloween comes from the nostalgia of Halloween’s past rather than the reality of the present. That’s kind of sad.

    • My parents were ‘old’ parents so I never experienced Halloween. I love the films that show families going around neighbourhoods but it just doesn’t seem like that now.

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