I hate Halloween. I haven’t always hated Halloween, but one year, I watched a video dealing with the events of Halloween in years past and how it originated. I learned things about the practices of wiccans and satanists on Halloween and decided I could have no part in it anymore.
As a few years have gone by, I have chosen to focus less on what wiccans and satanists might be doing on the night of October 31st and have chosen to let my decision be more personal.
My stance against Halloween (and my husband’s, as well) is very much the same as my stance against horror movies. I have never been able to understand how anyone can enjoy a horror movie, but I have gained some insight into what makes people gravitate towards them.
In many ways, fear is like a drug. When you can control it, it can be enjoyable. Like a drug, unexpected fear isn’t all that fun. If someone came up to you and injected you with heroine, you would not appreciate it much and would probably suffer for it. It is the same way with fear. When someone jumps out from behind a door or around a corner, most people are genuinely scared. But if you can put a DVD in your player or pay for a ticket at the movie theatre and expect fear, it can be perceived as fun. Your pulse races as you wait for the next plot twist, the next knife stab or hum of the chainsaw motor. You grip your armrests or the hand of the person watching with you as you wait. And then it comes and it may give you nightmares for a week, but at least you had fun.
Fear is what I take issue with. I have plenty of fears without watching horror movies or going to haunted houses on Halloween. My children will have fears without those things, too, simply because they are human. Why would I intentionally expose myself or my children to additional sources of fear? Why would I support an industry that does that every year?
So on Halloween, we plan for other things, like going out to supper or watching a movie at home, avoiding hot spots like the mall and busy parts of town. Ideally, we would go somewhere every October that didn’t have Halloween…like South Korea. However, we aren’t exactly wealthy people, so we must make do with what we have – restaurants and Blockbuster.
Fortunately, we do not live on a busy trick-or-treating street. We may have had people come when we were gone last night, but no one came to the door when we were home in the early evening or later at night. At one point, when I ran out to the car, some kids cut across our yard and asked if we were still handing out candy. I answered them honestly: “No, we never were in the first place.” They didn’t seem to care (and they didn’t egg our house).
While I had to make it through another evening of cringing at ridiculously costumed adults and artificially bloodied children, I made it and I still feel just as strongly as I always have. I am relieved that it’s over for this year, certainly, but I also know that taking a stand like mine requires committment and that it isn’t over just because it’s November 1st. Next September, I will be forced to notice costumes at Wal Mart and towards the end of October, I may very well be forced to put up with my noisy neighbour throwing another Halloween party. And next year, we will have explaining to do to our daughter as to why people are dressed in costumes and why she is not dressed up herself. I trust that our children will come to understand our decision and respect it – but at least if they don’t, we have the final word for a number of years yet.