Okay, so I've been thinking about this for a while, but I didn't want to be a Halloween downer. A Great Pumpkin naysayer. A "Grinch" out of time. Still, I've just got to talk about it.
I find that I can't "do" Halloween anymore. No, seriously. I love getting the kids all "costumed up", decorating the house with pumpkins and kitties and not-scary ghosties, but when it comes to trick-or-treating (or the oh-so-silly harvest festivals), I hit a full-stop. My conscience kicks in and screams "this is wrong". No, not for religious reasons.
For basic values reasons...
I find that I can't, in good conscience, hand out tons of candy to kids when I think it is so terribly bad for them. Day in and day out we are bombarded with information about and images of obese or overweight children. How can I possibly be celebrating them by handing them fistfuls of candy (or encouraging others to do so)?
I've thought a lot about this. Really. I've talked to others about this and a few things become clear: When we were kids (back when the dinosaurs had recently given up control of the earth and Thomas Edison was close to inventing the lightbulb), candy was not a daily treat. No. In fact, I think Halloween and Easter were the "candy" holidays. Oh, you might have gotten a little bit in your Christmas stocking or a little Valentine's treat, but that was it. Teachers didn't hand it out for behaving (don't get me started) and moms didn't keep it at home for us. Nope. For the average kid, candy was a "once in a blue moon" treat, which is why trick-or-treating was so amazing. Candy...lots of it...over-flowing...we had stars in our eyes. We also knew we wouldn't being seeing candy again for a while.
Fast forward a number of years (okay, a lot of years) and candy is ubiquitous. Teachers hand candy out to students for all kinds of things. Parents think nothing of the little bag of M&Ms or whatever on a daily basis. Candy is everywhere, all the time. And our children are suffering. A lot.
So, for me, I just can't do it. I can't give out candy.
This year, we did our 2nd Annual "Dress-up" for Halloween and I took the kids out for a fancy-ish dinner in their finery and then we went to a movie. They loved it. Buttercup spent two weeks putting the finishing touches on her outfit, I pinky-promised to wear a dress (and did), and Valiant wore dress clothes, too (no tie...it was supposed to be fun!). Even Charming joined us for the evening. I got us home far past the time last trick-or-treater would have been ringing my doorbell (not answering on Halloween makes me feel horrible). I know it is not perfect, but I think we're going to fine tune this new "tradition" and make it a keeper. It works for us. (I know it would be more difficult if my children were younger...costumes are just so fun and I don't know how I'd explain why we didn't dress-up...maybe we'd begin hosting a party for families...I just don't know.)
So, what about you? How do you reconcile it all? Or do you think I'm making much ado about nothing? Tell me, what do you think?