Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Witch Costume Will We Wear?

I love Halloween.  I make no bones about it.  I start thinking about it as soon as we get half way through September.  We have lots of costumes so that's never a problem though I've been known to work hard with a kid to craft "the costume" when they're inspired.  I love it when they're excited and when they're excited, I just can't help myself and we wind up going over the top. 

My husband also loves it.  He buys pumpkins almost every grocery stop. We carve them all.  We don't get many trick-o-treaters but it doesn't matter. We always buy candy. We always have lights on, and we always hope for more. Even if no one comes,  we have a blast anyway.  Even our youngest son last year got into the act and knows it is coming. He's planning on repeating his role as a dinosaur.  We celebrate it as a night of imagination and silliness and whimsy.  No shirkers, not even the one who thinks he's too cool and doesn't really dig sweet stuff.

However, there are those who would say that anyone who goes about saying Happy Halloween is deserving of a good chastening and to be horsewhipped by twizzlers and made to watch bible cartoons until they beg for forgiveness.  They claim that every year it becomes more depraved, more sugary, more a means of introducing the innocent to the occult, not to mention processed corn sugary nut added in many cases cheap chocolate goodness, than a time of letting children be whimsical and explore the dangerous world of imagination. 

There is a need, a desperate need in this world for deliberate silliness and joy that is not juvenile but rather, child like. Halloween allows for that explosion of creativity in expression, in carving, in costumes, in the celebration of everyone's play and pretend. Though it puts many a calorie on my hip and has never put a dollar in my pocket, indeed it takes many but I gladly give them, I say God bless it.  

So when this year, those who view Halloween as a doorway to all things grave made it such that my kids cannot be witches at the October 31st parade, my brain temporarily jerked into a rebellious mode.  I am not normally a rabble rouser, I normally get things and try to go along.  However, this stance is akin to handing out toothbrushes if you're not a dentist by trade.  The idea needs to be t.p'd.  But since it can't, since it has been decided, I can only register my protest through cleverness and/or out and out defiance.  

I do not wish my children to learn to be disrespectful, however....even the most modest of my children wasn't taking this without a grain of salt and touch of derision.  They recognize that this is play and pretend and not real.  I trired to explain but it's hard when one's own heart isn't in it. Eventually, I just can't.  "I don't think this will lead to the occult.  I presume our weekly mass, daily prayers, Catholic school years, constant talking to you all about an integrated Catholic life and the example your father and I have presented with our lives and our friends and our family are sufficient to the task and won't be undone by a day of pretending to be vampires, ghosts and witches. I trust that we are forming your hearts and minds well enough to withstand the assault of costumes and candy, whimsy and silliness." 

"Yeah Mom...blah blah blah."  "So, we really can't be witches?"
"No witches."
The car was silent for a moment...only a moment.
"No witches.  What about wizards?" One asked.  "I'm going as a werewolf. They didn't say that was against the rules." another volunteered.
"Can I go as Glinda of the Wizard of Oz? She's a good witch." a third chimed in.

My oldest called from college.  Filled in on the latest news, he who had played Giles Corey in Arthur Miller's play suggested going as the cast of The Crucible. 

My first thoughts had run to Wendy, Samantha, Sabrina and Hermione.  Clearly none of us were taking this well.  None of us wanted to follow the spirit let alone the letter of the law. There were all sorts of arguements about why if not Witches, were fairies or elves or orcs or gobblins or superheroes that might be darker allowed?  What about fairy tale villians and Disney villians and supervillians? What about Starwars and StarTrek, mummies and zombies, or just plain monsters like vampires and Frankenstein?  What was the line? What moved the line? Where would the line stop? They could feel the options of costumes shrinking before them and it bothered them.  We'd stopped at the comic store for one girl to get a t-shirt. 

Then it hit me.  "We should go as interogatives." I got a lot of blank looks.
"Who." "What." "How." "Where." "Why" and "Which."   There were evil grins all around by those who got it and the obligatory explantion to those who didn't.  They suggested going as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and I got treated to a chorus of "Sand Witch!" "Sand  Witch"  I smiled. 

PB&J might be a great protest, since that is also banned due to allergies.

What will a day of going as parts of speech lead to? One shudders to imagine...but then, I believe that's how we come to have these sorts of over scrupulous rules about holidays, by being afraid to let imagination occasionally run free.  


Unknown said...

I understand your frustration. While i understand the reasons for the decision i believe it could have been a teaching moment instead of a caving- once again- to a minority. Political correctness has its place but omly when it serves as a stepping stone to open discourse. Otherwise it impinges on the rights of those being pc. Ugh.

Karen said...

Sand witch! Yay!

Umm, what would Macbeth be without witches? Or the works of C.S. Lewis? Or the writings of Washington Irving? Edgar Allan Poe? Nathaniel Hawthorne? Good grief! Have we turned back the clock to 17th century New England?

Yielding to a witch hunt debases us as a religious community and panders to the least educated, most superstitious members of the group. I agree with Maria; this could have been a teaching moment.

As my good friend commented, we are CATHOLICS, not Protestants. Celebrating All Hallows Eve is part of our rich cultural and religious tradition.

As for me, bring on the pitchforks and torches, I will not yield to the paper witch hunt.

Leaving a comment is a form of free tipping. But this lets me purchase diet coke and chocolate.

If you sneak my work, No Chocolate for You!