Halloween in 21st Century America: What’s the Point?31 October 2011
A Serendipity post on a Monday, just to break a few rules, and because I really wanted to say this about…
In which you dress up in a costume you had fun making yourself, ran around in the dark with a posse of your friends way later than you were normally allowed out, filled up a pillowcase with all the candy you could lug home, spilled it out, traded the stuff you didn’t like, and ate as much as you could without throwing up.Â Not a very elegant holiday, maybe. But it wasn’t meant to be.
What it was also not meant to be, in my mind, is a festival of expense and logistics.Â Today, costumes are purchased complete – and expensive – and worn to elaborate, adult-planned, indoor parties, held on a predetermined day that is likely not Oct. 31.
But it sounds more like the court of Marie Antoinette than Halloween to me.
I know parents want to keep kids safe. But when I went to find all these cases of injury and kidnapping and razor blades and pins that you hear about? I was able to find only a few. Obviously they’re horrible things that no one would want to have happen. But did it really make sense to panic an entire holiday out of existence?
The whole point of Halloween was that kids could escape rules and expectations – they could put on a disguise and not follow the usual weeknight routine for once in the year.
It seems that parents were so worried about Halloween turning into Lord of the Flies that they turned into Toddlers and Tiaras instead.
Now, no, I wouldn’t let my kid out – because they don’t have the safety in numbers of swarms of other kids, and they don’t have the understanding and expectation of the neighborhood. The charm is broken; Halloween doesn’t work anymore.
To me, it’s the kids’ loss.