HOLIDAY 411: Halloween… Why?
Halloween involves dressing up in alter-ego costumes, scaring little kids, playing tricks and pranks on your neighbors, and, if we are honest with ourselves, it is mostly about the candy… and I’m just talking about the adults! Kids, of course, love dressing up and getting tons of candy, too, which usually includes an all-you-can-eat race with your parents later that night, as you try to beat each other to the best candies in the bag – after they have been x-rayed and certified by the Homeland Security Department.
Of course, in the midst of all the fun, somewhere in the back of our minds, we know that just around the corner awaits the sugar overload and hyperactivity right before bedtime; the inability to get all the make-up off your/your kids’ faces or convert your/your kids’ hair back to its natural color before work/school the next morning; and the infuriating clean-up of the inevitable TP-ing (toilet papering) of your home or pumpkin smashing on your front lawn. Yep, Halloween sure is fun.
In spite of the cost and the inconvenience, we willingly participate, we buy the candies, we decorate our homes, we get the costumes for our kids, and, if they ask, or even when they don’t, we will lovingly humiliate ourselves with our own silly costumes. And if all that were not enough, we will get up and answer the door, pretending to be scared, 250 times that one night to give away individually wrapped pieces of something that all year long we tell our kids not to eat because it will rot their teeth and make them sick!
Why do we do it? Some might say we do it because the retailers make a great deal of money from the holidays and they advertise us to death to buy this or that; or because of peer-pressure, since we know all the other kids, classmates, colleagues or neighbors will be participating and we don’t want to feel left out. But a less cynical answer, my answer, would be because it is a shared tradition and it makes us feel good. We do it because our parents did it for us or we wish they had, and because we remember how much fun we had Trick-or-Treating when we were young. Participating in Halloween helps us connect with our inner child, we get permission to be silly, dress silly, scare and play pranks and tricks on others, and, let’s not forget, we get permission to eat lots of candy.
So, for the sake of the children, and I am including your inner child in that group, let go of the cynicism, let go of your prim and proper adult-self, and just have fun. The laughter and memories will carry you and your kids through the clean-up the next day, adding to the collection of family stories we share with each other on the holidays, stories that will bring a smile and bind us together for years to come.
In preparation for Halloween, the Internet is an invaluable resource. You can grab the teachable moment by the horns, using your kids’ excitement and interest, and ask them to do a little research on the origins and history of this all hallows eve and make a poster they can display outside your door for the Trick-or-Treaters. Or do a little research yourself on special safety considerations for Halloween and share it with other parents.
Below are a few sources, facts, and information to get you started, and I hope you have a Happy, Fun and Safe Halloween!
- Treats: Develop an agreement with your kids that you will be very generous with allowing them to eat candy when they get home, but they need to agree to bring ALL the candy home for inspection. Check the wrappers carefully for pinholes or other tampering. And when in doubt, throw it out!
- Costumes: Make sure that the costumes are not too long, so your kids don’t trip; only use fire-retardant materials; add reflective materials; avoid masks that obstruct vision or breathing, and if possible, consider using face make-up instead of a mask.
- Trick-or-Treaters: Stay on the sidewalks; don’t run; use flashlights; don’t eat any candy until your parents inspect them; watch out for cars; do not enter anyone’s home; and make sure your costume lets you walk and see with ease.
- Parents: Accompany your kids, especially if they are under 13 years of age. Know the route your kids will take and the names of the kids and parents with whom they will go. Make sure they only go to well-lit homes and that they do not enter ANY home. Provide a time of return. Review safety rules for pedestrians.
- Motorists: Be extra careful, kids may run across the street, in between cars, across driveways, in dark clothes, peer-pressured and full of adrenalin. Drive slowly and carefully.
Martie Hevia (c) 2009 – All Rights Reserved
Halloween Internet Resources:
- The National Safety Council – Halloween Safety Fact Sheet: Safety tips and advice for Halloween fun. http://downloads.nsc.org/pdf/factsheets/Halloween_Safety.pdf
- Hershey’s Trick-or-Treat Web Page: Includes great ideas for games, parties, recipes, crafts, decorating, classroom activities, and creepy downloads.
- Halloween Safety Guide from Halloween Online: Safety tips for kids, adults, and pets, including advice to make trick-or-treating, Halloween parties, and costumes safe.
- The History Channel – Halloween: History, origin, traditions, stencils, superstitions, hauntings, games, trivia, and tips. http://www.history.com/content/halloween
Halloween Blue Beach Song Products:
Martie Hevia (c) 2009 – All Rights Reserved