I decided a few days ago that I very much dislike Halloween now… it makes me uncomfortable aaaannnnddd yeah, I just don’t like it any more, at least not at the moment. It hasn’t always been the case, I used love a good fright and reason to dress up all freaky and get free treats from people, but recently I have seen a shift in the things I love and the things that make me uncomfortable and it appears that Halloween now falls into the latter camp!
Last year I must have been in a bubble, because I can recall very few memories or emotions from it. I remember reluctantly being dressed up as a spiders web and going to a small local party for the kids. I also remember buying Megsie some cutie pie pumpkin hair bobbles for her bunches and witches hair clips, but other than that I was preoccupied with throwing a last minute pirate party for Ethan’s 4th and coming to terms with the loss of Poppy that I had no time for it really!
The other day I found myself going around the bargainous shops with the kids after school, and laughing my head off with them as they dared each other to walk down the Halloween aisle. They jumped over and over again, their little jaws dropped and between 3 shops for about half an hour they were amazed… I watched them shoot behind stuff in fear and then giggle for ages at the shock of it as they messed about around the displays and with the various decorations. I took great joy in pressing the “try me” buttons on model witches, skeleton sweet bowls and fake door bells because their reactions cracked me up every time (and why not embrace these spontaneous fun moments?). All the way home I listened as they chatted about how scary it all was and as they got into a deep discussion of who they would be for Halloween.
For me though, behind the fun and giggles we were having there was a very real feeling of uneasiness as I saw Halloween through new eyes. The constant images of ghosts, skeletons and “grave” signs all became too much as I realised how personal it all felt. I realised how the thought of scary ghosts made me feel sad and defensive because death was being shown to my children and the world to be something to fear. I felt weird that we take joy in imitating a spirit that’s gone on when to me the soul of a person is a real thing and not to be feared! I also don’t like the idea of people being afraid of graves because to us that is a place of peace…the grave I know is where my daughter rests, its a peaceful place not a haunting place. Aaaand finally I don’t like the thought of skeletons for obvious reasons (I hope). I am more than aware that my emotions here are unique to me, and that my pessimism isn’t reciprocated by the masses, who are blatantly going nuts for all Hallows eve!
I do however like when E wears his skeleton onesie and imitates funny bones, perhaps because again its done in a none fearful, creepy way. I also love pumpkins and dressing up generally…the childhood fear of witches and vampires. I love the kids innocence and reactions to all of the creepy things in the shops, the treats and spidery things too. But I no longer enjoy the fullness of Halloween and the fear of death, the imitations of things to do with death and nor do I feel inclined to embrace it in my life…the whole affair just feels uneasy to me because of its timing in relation to my own loss.
The kids however are very aware and looking forward to it, so how does a Halloween
pessimist protect oneself yet ensure their family still has fun? well in 3 simple steps…
1. Take them to a pumpkin festival – We did this last year at farmer Copley’s and had a wonderful time. The kids love pumpkins and I found the costumes from the staff were family friendly and were more witches from OZ as oppose to creepy, haunting things and I very much loved the focus of pumpkins and the season as oppose to fear, death and gruesome sights. The kids had tractor rides, we saw some lovely little pumpkins and we enjoyed hot chocolates when we got home. Seasonal, harmless fun together – bliss!
2. Embrace the stuff that is okay – Spider crafts, pumpkin crafts, baking of spider themed treats and dress up of things that aren’t freaky is the direction I am taking this year. Megs won a book at Ballet last week and inside are fantastic baked goods and crafts of a Halloween theme. They are not scary or deadly, but fun and cute. I’m not a lover of kids crafts or baking with them, the control freak in me can’t take it, but Megs is and its far more enjoyable one to one so I am surprisingly excited to get cracking with the projects in her book.
3. Love the fact that they have both been invited to fancy dress birthday parties on Halloween and therefore we need no excuses as to why there’s no Halloween party! This is the highlight for me and Halloween will pass by with them having attended a party, enjoying some treats and wearing a costume – everything they anticipate. The night of we will hibernate in darkness to avoid trick or treasurers…DONE!