Looking around at the blogging community posts this morning and all the Halloween costumes and crafts I realise that this post is going to go against the grain somewhat but I need to say it, I hate Halloween! And yes I know it’s only a bit of fun, I know lots of kids (and adults) love it and I know some people will think I am very grumpy for the reasons I give for that strong statement. I hear it every year how boring I am and how I am depriving my kids of something so wonderful but here it is… Why Halloween is not for me and what we are doing as a Halloween alternative this year.
I don’t do horror films, I don’t see the point, I’ve never watched one in full, I probably never will whether pretend or not I don’t see blood, gore or gratuitous violence as entertainment and I am disturbed when I hear of anything in the news where a crime has involved a re-enactment of some hideous scene in a film or video game. I want to protect my children from violence too and not expose them to things that will scare them or give them nightmares.
At age 7 and 3 we’re in that difficult stage of teaching the girls about stranger danger as most parents will know it’s a difficult thing to equip small children without really frightening them or making them suspicious and shy with every adult they meet, it’s a hard balance to strike and I don’t think encouraging them on one night of the year to knock on the door of people they don’t know asking for sweets really helps to get the message across.
For some people living alone, suffering from a mental illness or those who are elderly, the week containing both Halloween and Bonfire Night is intensely stressful, upsetting and frightening. Just after the clocks have gone back, it is darker earlier, loud bangs from fireworks which in some neighbourhoods go on for several weeks, knocking on the door in scary costumes making various levels of demands can simply be too much for some and can intensify the feelings of isolation and desperation. I want to raise my children to be considerate human beings, to make a contribution to the community where they live not to be a menace or to think that their bit of ‘fun’ should be more important than somebody vulnerable.
Finally (and yes this usually gets the biggest groan) my Christian beliefs make me very wary of Halloween, for my children I want them to be surrounded with light and love and hope not with darkness and evil, don’t get me wrong I am not suggesting a 4 year old dressed in a skeleton costume is evil, or the toddler dressed up cute as a pumpkin, no, I recognise that there is a play element to all of this of course and for many families it simply is a bit of fun. But ultimately the tone is one of darkness, there are themes of the occult and there are teens and adults who will use Halloween to do things that are dark and more than just a bit of mischief, I would rather not have a part in that.
So what will this grumpy stick in the mud woman and her poor children be doing this evening while everyone else is stuffing their faces with sweets and enjoying the jovial atmosphere out in the street? We are going to carve our pumpkins with the shape of a heart, taking part in the World Vision theme, ‘A night of Hope’ to help children who live in fear every day, we also plan to donate some money and make some nice pumpkin soup. To find more about the World Vision campaign, this is the link. http://www.worldvision.org.uk/get-involved/night-hope#form