Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween

What can I say about Halloween in a blog post? How about Halloween traditions? Of course, there are the traditional things I have to hear from people around me:
  • "The [evil] Catholics stole Halloween from the [poor downtrodden] pagan feast Samhain." Boo hoo. Get over it. Nobody owns a day, and if a pagan wants to celebrate Samhain on the same day he is free to do so.
  • "Halloween has been taken over by 'X'." I agree, but I'm tired of hearing about it (especially since the same statement gets made for every holiday). So take it back! Don't like the secularization of the holiday? Start a family tradition. Get together with like minded friends and neighbors. Don't like the commercialization of the holiday? Make your own decorations. Don't let other people decide how you treat your own traditions.
  • "Halloween is a satanic holiday and kids should be shielded from it." Really? Last I looked the word Halloween derived from "All Hallows Eve", e evening before Al Saints Day. Do you think saints are satanic? Ooh, that Mother Teresa - so scary! She might pray for me! Actually, that would be great!
  • "Halloween is when evil rules the night." Um, sorry, you're wrong. You probably have it confused with election day, which comes shortly after.
In our family we have several Halloween traditions. There is the choosing of a costume. My kids prefer comfortable and unusual to scary. Last year we had Indiana Jones and a Pepsi can. This year's choices were a chicken and a bag of Fritos (yes, one is obsessed with being food).

There is the decorating of the house. We don't do it until a couple of days before (this year we are doing it right now) because party pooper dad thinks it gets boring when the house is all decorated for two months. We have plastic jack O lanterns and candelabras, and homemade foam tombstones in the front yard.

There is the carving of the pumpkins, which we also leave until the day before or even day of Halloween, because when you carve them two weeks before they rot. We always choose a mixture of faces - goofy, scary, happy, etc. Dad made homemade LED lights to put in them. If anyone's interested I'll post plans.

Then there is the watching of "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown." This is still a treat for me. I love Charles Schultz's cartoons. The music and characters bring me back to my youth, and the first time I saw them.

Finally there is the trick or treating. Halloween is as much fun for parents as for kids around here. Quite a few parents (including me) dress up to walk the kids around the neighborhood. There are parents pulling wagons full of little ones so they don't get tired too quickly, parents who drive ATVs around so they don't get tired too quickly, and ones like my wife and me who just walk around. It's a great time to meet and talk to neighbors you don't see every day.

When it gets dark, we break out the glowsticks, and start heading for home. A quick dinner, a load of candy, and we spend the evening playing games or watching a family movie until around 10 PM. The kids are ready for bed, but we let them stay up until then, because that's when a group of older "kids" in the neighborhood come around in fantastic costumes. They are always "themed" and homemade, and always amazing. Last year they were "rock monsters." One was all crystals, one was molten lava (with lit up lava floes), and another was boulders (ala the superhero "Thing"). They are quite the imaginative bunch! Here's a picture of two of them.

I hope your Halloween will be as enjoyable as I expect ours to be. Happy Halloween!


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