What’s Scary about Halloween? by child grower A. Woz.

statestcowfeetI’m a bit rattled this year because my daughter received an invitation to a fall party where the plan is to go trick-or-treating with her friends on Halloween night.  

That’s right, if she goes, one of the Woz goblins will not be with the rest of the clan this Halloween. This messes with a strong family tradition of holding the hands of our costumed children and leading them through the dark of night for the strange and contradictory festivities that are Halloween.

  • Kids dress up in silly or scary costumes and then go and beg for candy from the neighbors who reward their threat of a trick by paying immediately with hush money paid in chocolates and taffy. 
  • In pursuit of a pillowcase full of candy,  parents actively support breaking all the safety rules like going alone to the door, enticed by sweets to come closer, closer at the promise of sweets from a candy wielding stranger.
  • And how about the outrageous and generous leniency of parents as we allow a ridiculous amount of candy to be consumed as long as mom and dad get to pick out of few favorite treats.

No wonder kids are scared on Halloween!  We are telling them to do everything we warn them not to do on any other day of the year!

But the bags of candy give mine courage and seeing a sidewalk full of friends doing the same makes October 31st rank right up there with the big ho-ho holiday.

Our entire family dresses up and takes to the streets.  Sometimes we make the dogs wear a coordinating outfit but we find it works best if we just drape glow in the dark necklaces around their collars.  Dad wears his decade old gorilla mask and his college graduation gown and and I usually frequent a witch’s hat and sometimes add a splotch of warty looking crunchy peanut butter on my nose. 

My daughter is not happy with me when, without my witch costume, I say, “I am not sure I’m okay with the party idea,”  My daughter wails, as if wearing one of those white Scream masks,  “Mmmooooooooooom, that’s not fair!”

Am I worried about safety?  I completely trust the parents of her ten year old friend but am I ready to give up my place as the protector from the dark spooky night to another parent?

Am I worried about the high fructose corn syrup overload or the tummy ache? I’m absolutely sure she will eat too much candy and I know she will run wild.  Her giggle (or cackle if she is in costume) will lead a pack of silly friends through safe streets and to countless pumpkin decorated doorsteps late into the night.

Am I worried that my ten year old is going to be a trouble maker? Her friends are not the type to take things to the level of pumpkin smashing or toilet papering.  As a parent who never lets my kids run in a parking lot, how can I be okay with letting her run the streets with friends on Halloween, in the dark, yelling like lunatics, and dare is say, having a wild and fun time being unrestrained and living a little bit on the edge of tweens threshold of bravery.

Back in the day (ahem) the only unsupervised kids on Halloween were the ones who knew they were actually too old to go door to door, but who were embracing the trick part of the ask-for-candy equation. Maybe this is when haunted houses took over as a preventive for big kids running around in the moonlight with a flashlights, while wearing masks that provide limited anonymity in these neighborhoods and small towns where everyone knows everyone.

It’s something more that is bothering me, something bigger, something less concrete, something unstoppable, unchangeable-  something we have little control over- that darn growing up part.  For this year, this year only, I guess it is the end of another hectic but much loved family tradition.

Sigh.

Maybe I’ll feel better after I get my cut of the night’s haul.

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