Sometimes serious, sometimes funny, always trying to be warmth and light, focuses on parenting, and the unique struggles of raising a large Catholic family in the modern age. Updates on Sunday, Tuesday and Friday...and sometimes more!
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Next Year's Halloween Makeover
I used to love Halloween. I loved the costumes. I loved the candy. I loved the decorations. Then, like everything else I've ever loved in this world, professionals got a hold of it and ruined everything. Pros made the experience of carving a pumpkin, putting together an outfit and tripping out your house for the holidays, activities which require advanced degrees in creative design, special effects lighting, and a budget that rivals the line items for NASA research and development.
Now a days, if your pumpkin isn't strobe light animated to have Darth Maul or Elsa from Frozen sing "I'm all about the Base." you're slumming.
All the go to easy costumes of prior years, vampire, pirate and zombie, have been relegated to the no longer acceptable, annoyingly sparkly, or made so over the top by recent movies and television shows, as to require actual effort to assemble. Gone are the simple white sheets with holes for the eyes. Gone are the grab six sashes, tie them across your waist and head and call yourself a gypsy. Gone are the classic black capes and pointy teeth. Every witch now looks like something from Anime, Harry Potter or Wicked.
Working the door on October 31st, I pined all night for some kid to come to the door wrapped in toilet paper as a mummy, or made into a robot using tin foil, or wearing their mother's prom dress as a princess. Instead, I got 27 Elsas, and heaven knows how many other princesses, all from Disney, all glittery, all beautiful, and all done via a Visa card.
Something was lost in all these pre-processed costumes, the same thing lost in looking at my kids loot when they got home. Everything was the same. All treats now are bite sized chocolates in foil wrappers except for the bottled water which indicated someone really doesn't like Halloween or wants their house wrapped.
I remembered getting homemade popcorn balls and multi-colored marsh mellow chocolate stained glass windows, caramel apples and straws of sugar. We tolerated the dentist who gave out toothbrushes, we understood it anyway.
But I recall the teenagers of our neighborhood t-ping the one home with the mean guy that handed out raisins. Everyone of us kids felt he deserved it. We were cowboys and football players, queens and rabbits, The oldest teen was Robin Hood and he wore his bow across his chest, and had real arrows in a homemade quiver. His dog was dressed in a burlap sack with holes cut out for his feet and a rope around his waist. He was Friar Tuck. That was part of the fun. We made up everything. Everyone made up everything. Creating what we did not have, inventing what we wished we could buy in the store brought joy...which now, we get at the seasonal costume shop, but the joy feels artificial, like fake salt. , So I've decided. Next year, we're going to make costumes. I'm going to give them felt and paper bags and foil and tape and hopefully, my kids will discover what we seem as a people so intent on forgetting, that the fun of a Holiday is not how close to perfection we come with our look, but how perfect our look is when we go through the process of creating it. We'll have fun and it will be messy, but it will be real. And I'm going to go find some retro candy to give out like sugar straws and teach my kids how to t.p. the people who gave out bottled water and scolded my kids about their teeth. It's a matter of principle for me. They weren't even dentists!