fun and fantasy
"Nana, you know what holiday I really don’t like?", J said to me with a wistful sadness in her voice. "Yeah, baby, I know. I’m sorry. It’ll be over soon."
J loves fun and fantasy; she loves dressing up and playing make-believe, loves going door-to-door and filling her bag with candy and goodies. My mom always loved Halloween, too. As the trick-or-treaters came to the door when I was past the trick-or-treating age, she’d call out to me "Oh, come see the little ballerina!" "You have to see this cute sailor!" "Oh, what a great dragon!" She was always so excited when Halloween came along and would rave about each child’s costume as they came to the door, say a friendly Hello to the moms accompanying them and hand out Almond Joys and Snickers and all the good candy kids hope to get when they make their rounds in the neighborhood. Growing up, Halloween was all about fun costumes, cute costumes, witty costumes. I think my favorite was the year that she made a harem girl costume for me (a la I Dream of Jeannie) and an Arabian costume for my brother. (I still have mine tucked away, pink top with cheesecloth sleeves, pink poufy pants, the entire costume still with some spangles and sequins remaining after all these years.)
But each year, it seems, Halloween loses more of the fun and fantasy that made it such a splendid holiday when we were kids. When did the cute little dragon get replaced by a kid with a hatchet in his head, brains oozing out and a bloody eyeball hanging from his face? When did the friendly carved pumpkins on the doorstep that welcomed kids to their neighbors’ homes get bludgeoned into oblivion and become severed heads on tall stakes and dismembered body parts across a front lawn? Instead of the fun, happy holiday Halloween once was, there are grotesque, bloody, evil, violent characters and equally disturbing lawn displays of unbelievable cruelty and violence.
I’ve read several news articles this past week bemoaning how adult parties have become all about girls in skanky costumes. As unappealing as that is to me, the level of violence and evil in costumes and decor is more disturbing, more alarming. J and have even seen some store displays that made us avert our eyes quickly. Where’d the fun in Halloween go?
Have you noticed how the costumes seem to influence the kids’ behavior, too? The little ballerina, adorable ghost and cute witch smile and laugh and say "thank you" as they go from door to door; the hatchet kid with the bloody eyeball yells and screams and roars from house to house, holding out his bag for the loot, then wildly hollering down the driveway to the next house.
HGTV had a special on Halloween decor the other night; they showed one woman who goes all out in decorating her home and dressing up as a witch, serving punch and treats to all the neighborhood to enjoy. As she plans her decor each year, she runs her ideas past the preschoolers she teaches to make sure they aren’t too scary. If they are, she changes them. She wants Halloween to be a fun, festive experience. I love that!
There are some homes that J won’t go up to; I don’t blame her. They don’t seem very welcoming or fun. As she goes from home to home, she mostly keeps her head down so she doesn’t have to see the violently disturbing costumes around her. Poor J; she’ll endure another Halloween with her little heart beating fast in her chest. At happy homes, she’ll relax and laugh, enjoying some Halloween fun with the home’s owners. At others, she’ll hurriedly go to the door and then make a quick exit, getting out of there as fast as she can.
I wish Halloween could just be fun again, filled with fantasy and make-believe; a happy holiday full of laughter, great costumes and – of course! – great candy. I wish each homes’ doorsteps would have welcoming pumpkins and fun decor. I wish we could all have a fun and HAPPY Halloween!
this blog had a nice twist…it obviously comes from the mind of someone who is like the holloweens from the past…fun and gentle….delightfully welcoming… I find coming here a very nice stop each and every time I happen by. Its interesting to find someone nicely concerned about how things are. I hope your celebration was a good one…I am one who loves the day after..it begins the 55 day march up to christmas…how fun is that..!?!
J and Lala…yes, we should have brought them to the Stream with us and had a party.
Thank you so much for coming to the Gingerbread House and telling me I was all right, my sit by the stream friend. Thank you for holding me close and telling me how wrong they were. We can sit on and under our blankets and watch the leaves fall today, can\’t we? With all this turmoil in the news, in the world, on the streets…all I want, all I think we can do besides speak for a moment in private on the 7th is think of beauty and love, healing and peace. I\’d like to smile and laugh with you, and hug you for the tears of gratitude you gave me the day I could finally deal with comments again on my entry.