Saturday, October 31, 2009

this evening... boys will don their respective hats and the outfits that go with them. no fancy costumes this year; everything they wear will be what they already own. add a little brown to the baby's nose and a little black under the little boy's eyes and voila! they'll be ready for the harvest party at our church tonight.

i really don't like halloween. i'm always relieved when the awful halloween decor is replaced by the cheery christmas decor in stores on november 1st. i shudder when walking by front yards decked out with scary witches, skeletons, spider webs and tombstones. the funny thing is, i feel as if i'm in the minority living down here. halloween is celebrated with gusto, even amongst many church families, which i am not used to. so i don't really know what came over me yesterday when i taught my son how to say "trick or treat".

every year all of the businesses on our main street hand out candy in the afternoon so that the younger kids can trick or treat in daylight, making it safer, and so the parents can be assured that the candy their children are getting is safe. this year, since halloween is on saturday, and many businesses in town are closed on saturdays, they changed the main street trick or treat to friday. tristan had been wearing his michigan football outfit nearly all day, giddily excited about the "hawoween pahty" at church the next evening. i had to go to the grocery store to pick up a few things anyway, and for some reason i just had an irresistible urge to take tristan with me and give him a taste of trick or treating. samuel stayed home with daddy, and off we went, tristan practicing his "twick or tweat" in the backseat of the car.

the first few stores we walked into, everything went as rehearsed, with an added "pwease!" at the end of his trick or treat. adorable. he was wide eyed and smiling at the candy being given him. all went well until we were almost at the grocery store. we entered rite aid and suddenly the little hand that had been holding tightly to mine broke free and i saw my boy's little michigan helmet bobbing away, through a sea of children, heading back out the door. thinking he had just gotten disoriented, i grabbed his hand again and hauled him to the table where the candy was being handed out. a sinister looking figure stood there with a mask on his face (i think it was a werewolf or something) and before i knew it, this wolf person was stooping down until he was inches away from tristan's face. "happy halloween" came the ominous voice from behind the mask. the absolute fear and terror on my son's face should have urged me to pick him up and walk him out of the store, but there was a lineup of kids behind us and so i prompted tristan, "what do you say?" he just stood there, with huge eyes that looked like they were about to spill over. "trick or treat!" i said for him, hoping that the scary person would just hand over the candy without freaking my kid out anymore, but he was either oblivious to tristan's fear, or was enjoying it. he let out a spooky laugh before putting a candy in tristan's bag and then we high-tailed it out of there.

after that, tristan was DONE. he never actually cried, but he took off his helmet and his little shoulders slumped under his shoulder pads, head down. he would no longer say "trick or treat" and he didn't seem to care if he got any more candy. i tried to tell him that the man was just pretending to be scary, and wasn't he a funny guy? but all i got was silence. so we did our groceries and walked back to the car and once he was safely buckled in his seat, he started to talk. all the way home he told me about the "scahwy man" and how he really didn't like him. then he did an imitation of the man's voice, which was actually sounded quite accurate! once we got home, daddy was told all about it, and then, as i was putting the groceries away, i could hear tristan telling his little brother in the other room how scared he had been.

there are a few things about halloween i don't mind: the cute pumpkins & roasted pumpkin seeds, the chance for kids to play pretend and look the part. but the scary side is just impossible to get away from. i don't care to put my child at risk of fear and bad dreams just because i think he'd look cute all dressed up. we will have fun at the harvest party tonight, i am certain, and i'll have to remind myself in future years to just stick with that from now on.

now tell i the only super-protective parent who feels this way?


Sara said...

I am with you. We would only take our kids to our friends houses via car. I hate all the scary stuff and tell the kids i don't even know why we have this holiday. We actually went years without celebrating it(I hate even using the words celebrate and Halloween together).
All my kids are just getting over coughs and fevers so this year we are trick or treating in all the doors inside our house, making homemade pizza, playing bingo and watching a movie...i am SO happy!!! and so are they.

Aimee said...

My heart is in the exact same place as yours. I can see myself doing the same thing - cause my kids look so cute dressed up. I'm sorry for the scare your little guy got. that doesn't feel good as a mom to have let that happen, I know that feeling too. So grace to you and your little man.

I do hate halloween too and have been sprinting past the creepy houses in our neighborhood so the kids don't have to see the sick decorations. Oh dear. We're staying in tonight. Kids are getting sick and Lance is so busy with school that I don't want to "waste" the little family time we have today going door to door in the cold dark asking for candy. Early bedtime sounds better to me!

Hope your party tonight is fun and free of scares but just filled with the fun of pretending and imagining - which is that part about the day that I love. It can be so creative!

kelly ens said...

right there with you! i never liked it as a kid, and still don't. i have an apprehension that our kids will get scared like Tristan did (but WHO DOES THAT to little kids?!?!?!), and it's just not something i care to 'celebrate' either. our church doesn't do a harvest fest either (well, they did one on wednesday for older kids...doesn't leave us much help!).
anyway, we're making nachos and banana splits, and watching the new Tinkerbell movie - my kind of night: family!!! :)
i hope you have a good night!

PS. just had to add that my 'word verification' for this comment was 'disco'! :)

dj kosmotronix said...

No, you're not alone. We have a six foot, burlap ghoul hanging from the top of a two storey house just a few doors down and at night, they turn on the glowing, red eyes that peek out from behind their huge pine tree. Freaky doesn't do it justice. If they keep that up and Kaiser grows up here in this house, he'll be encountering those eyes and having to try to sleep with their image implanted on his little mind.

I'm sorry for Tristan's experience at Rite Aid. If the afternoon/daylight trick or treat deal is for little'd think the grown ups would act the part. Perhaps the 'scahwy' guy doesn't have any kids to love and console once he gets home.

Heading to our church's harvest party with my homemade rooster,

Nicole said...

I'm with you too. I'm just not comfortable making a big fuss out of Halloween, but I do like for the kids to get to dress up. Normally we try to do a fun alternate something where the kids can get dressed up, but I think we'll continue to steer clear of trick or treating and the scary side of things.

Charlene said...

Ditto for me Heidi. I really don't like Halloween. I wish we could skip it all together.

Anneliese said...

Yes it's alwasy hard to know what to do... especially when some people know exactly what to do. Maybe the fact that he got scared will help him see what Halloween is about and that it's not good for that reason. He won't be begging to go out next year and you can find a happier alternative.
It's hard to let our kids learn about scawy things and mean people etc. It's a world where our responsibilities to love and make our homes a safe place, while we teach them right from wrong, is even more important than ever. Your little guy has a sensitive spirit. So good!