Thursday, October 11, 2007

Halloween Party? or Fall Festival?

Halloween is a strange holiday. On the one hand, it glorifies "the dark side," and celebrating it is probably a sure way to condemn your soul to eternal suffering in a fiery pit. On the other hand, there's all that candy.
(Clever wording copied directly from a little American Greetings card sitting here on my desk).

It really is a strange holiday. I always thought I liked Halloween. You know what, though? I kind of don't. I don't really like trick-or-treating. Fortunately, our kids have finally aged out of that activity for the most part. Halloween parties are ok, but kind of useless. (Did I say Halloween Party? I meant Fall Festival. I really don't see a difference in the activity, but the schools/churches/neighborhoods seem to think the name is more politically correct) I personally don't like wearing costumes. I'm quite a party-pooper and haven't worn a costume in years.

Carving pumpkins is fun, but cleaning up the mess after the unavoidable pumpkin seed fight is not fun. And disposing of a pumpkin that has been decomposing on the porch for days is definitely not fun. (btw, the photo at the top was a pumpkin carved by Roxanne)

But . . . I LOVE making costumes with the kids. Our photo albums are full of princesses, spiders, cowboys, clowns, hobos, pirates, angels, skunks and of course, PEACOCKS:
Rachel, the Peacock
Brady, the Peacock
Roxanne, the Peacock

Unfortunately, the bird costume died before Melanie was born and the peacock tradition sadly passed on, too.

Katie, didn't I tell you that hand-me-down costumes are a fine family tradition?
Here is Cindy, the clown

and Curtis, the clown

What kind of indestructible fabric could these had possibly been made from? I know Lauri and Garry had to have worn it too!

Then in some cruel twist of fate, I seem to have graduated from the green clown costume to the red clown costume!

For my own kids, the most dangerous costume by far was Rachel's Pippi Longstockings. She had a coat hanger wire wound over her head and down each braid. She quickly learned the lethal effects of a quick head turn.

My all time favorite was Melanie's costume last year . She will try anything. She spent the whole evening walking like a 90 year old woman and animating her face like an infant. She cracks me up!

So . . . I guess I'll put up with all the less desirable aspects of this crazy holiday. I've got to get busy making a Ghost Busters Jumpsuit for Melanie.


Bandanamom said...


You are awesome and I am lame.

I used to think I really like Halloween. In fact, I think I did like it. When I was a kid. And before I had kids. And maybe even for a really breif period of time right after I had Holden. But about 2 Halloween's into getting Holden in a costume I realized, I sort of don't like it. And my kids are almost out of the phase, but not quite. I can't sew! So I think that would really help, but my biggest thing I don't like about it is paying for or having to come up with a new costume idea every year.

Maybe when my kids are all gone I'll be one of those old ladies who sort of likes Halloween again, - I might be one of the old ladies who likes passing out the candy.

Can I just tell you how sick I am of Halloween parties, (fall festival) ward or school? Totally and completely sick of them.

I'm so over Halloween.

Unfortunately, the rest of my family doesn't seem to share my sentiment.

Heidi said...

I don't think I have a large enough family to not like Halloween yet. :) I bought Marley's halloween costume a month ago. She's going to be Tinker Bell, wings and all.

Melanie's costume last year is hilarious!

Cynthia said...

Bandanamom- you'll probably be the old lady that the kids avoid "Don't knock on Old Lady Hays door!". I know I will be that old lady someday.

Cynthia said...

Heidi - may you always keep that magical "Spirit of Halloween". I'd bet Marley would look adorable in any costume, but Tinker Bell? That's perfect!

Shando said...

OK Cynthia, I'll throw my hat in on this one.

Bandanamom will not be the one telling the kids to not knock on her door, she will be the one ignoring the doorbell as she reads her book. I on the other hand will be the one screaming at the door to go the hell away as I sit on the couch eating the candy I bought for Halloween and watching TiVo.

As for costumes, I too hate that aspect. I am economically mature(cheap) and think that you can surly find some junk in the closets or around the house to throw on for the big Fall Festival. I HATE trying to figure out a great costume only to have my kids refuse to wear it as they are "lame". I went through a time of feeling like a horrible mom when my kid was wearing the "Farmer" costume again and there were entire flocks of custom peacocks at the Fall Festival, but I got over.

This year my annoyance with the whole think has surpassed my economic maturity and I have almost agreed to the purchase of a very stupid, totally cheap, $30 costume. Its worth it to not have to try to figure out another costume... I am lame!

As far as your recent name change, I find myself struggling with the need to make you feel Cynthia like as apposed to Cindy like(whatever that means?)and my own personal experience with the name and Cynthia. You surly can't forget my own Psycho Cynthia! I believe she has tainted my ability to think of you as a Cynthia. Although you are not Psycho I have very not nice thoughts associated with the name but want to support your recent name change. This is what I purpose. I will try to continue to address you verbally as Sister Hale and will address you in writing as Cynthia. Over time, I will be able to wrap my head around the fact that you can also be Cynthia and no Psycho but please be patient as I am sure I will slip into my old habits.

Shando said...

I apologize for the blatant misspelling of many words in my recent comments! Where the heck is the spell check on this thing?!?

Lauri said...

Well, since I didn't respond to your last post, I have double the amount to say here...

First of all--about the name change thing. You put this whole blog together about being called Cynthia then you called me yesterday and said, "Hi Lauri, this is Cindy." hmmm. Jeff has changed his name too. He is in a new ward and decided he'd introduce himself as Jeffrey. After all, that is what we named him 23 years ago but somewhere along the way, it became Jeff so now he's going back to the original. Michael, on the other hand is now going by Mike and all of his friends at school call him Mike. I'm having a hard time with all of these changes and since I'm now officially over the hill, I don't think I should be required to call all of you something new.

Halloween? I hate it. I think I liked it for a VERY short while but I remember the first time my kids were at a school party with costumes on (which I had made and I was pretty proud of). Michael came home from school sad that he hadn't won the prize for best costume. Evidently my darling costumes weren't all that darling. I was so glad when the kids got to be about 10 years old and could come up with their own costumes. And Katie is the costume queen. She plans her kids outfits in July and they're fabulous.

And don't worry about being the grouchy old woman at Halloween time that the neighbors are afraid to come to. I have already filled that role in my neighborhood...remember the muffin incident!


CaliZona said...

PARTY POOPERS THAT's WHY WE INVITED YOU! For the record; I have a costume/prop closet that is fully equipped to outfit your darlings on a moment's notice so you needn't feel maligned by the last, Great American Holiday!

Oh my gosh! And I LIKE you! Halloween is fabulous! It's the ONLY time in the whole year when total strangers are not just anticipating your arrival, they dress up and give you treats! Who said you have to be the mom that sews a broadway-quality outfit? (Which by the way, that peacock thing was a work of Art).

When I was a kid, dressing up meant a mad dash through mom's closet. We found all kinds of things without imposing on her at all. She had lots of old makeup for the taking and we were diliciously hideous in a flash.

As for the dark origins of Halloween; pooh and double pooh. I don't know of any cat-sacrificing warlock or witch that got their inspiration from trick or treating. The pagan roots of old European traditions are so entangled with virtually everything else that makes our DNA its omni-presence pretty much negates any legitimate meaning to any of it.

The same can be said for people of Island, Asian, African, S.American or Native American heritage. Social traditions (be they demonic or divine)change and morph over time and influx of new blood. Nothing means the same as it used to ages ago.

When we sang "Ring Around the Rosey" on the playground, were we really dismissing the horrors of the Black Plague that decimated 30% of Europe in less than a year? It was a silly, senseless rhyme. We had fun.

Halloween is fun. Assuming a fanciful identity is fun. Greeting neighbors is fun. Eating candy is fun. Decorated neighborhoods and people on camp chairs in their driveways is fun. Scaring little kids at your door is fun, and comforting them afterwards and telling them how beautiful they look is the best. It is the purest sense of community we have left in an urban society that is ever more a lonely gerbil wheel of the individual struggle.

Besides, when I agreed to help with the Ward Fall Festival I told Lydia I personally don't believe in Church Halloween parties because they are the "safe" option to trick or treating. Geeez! When did we get so UN-fun????

CaliZona said...

And YOUR CHILDREN ARE ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE. That's precisely why you should love Halloween.

Bandanamom said...

Methinks we have struck a bit of a nerve with Ms. Tanner!

I agree with everything Cindi said about Halloween. In theory...

Reality is different.

I love the idea of Halloween. I don't actually enjoy Halloween though, which I came to terms with a couple of years ago when I saw the Halloween decor in the store and felt a slight sense of dread.

I could care less about the pagan ritual aspect of it. I never knew anybody who went from being a witch on Halloween to a witch in real life (unless you include a general witchyness, in which case, I might qualify). I think we need to realize there is some inherently delicious thing about being scared sometimes, which is also why I like a good scary movie on occasion. It's cathartic.

So as much as I agree with the sense of community, the candy, the dressing up, the drama of Halloween, the practical aspects of it make me feel tired and old.

I still like the pumpkins carved and the smell they produce, maybe because I never let my kids have pumpkin seed fights.

Trunk or Treating at the church just means your kdis get twice as much candy as they would normally. Do people really not take their kids regular trick or treating because they get to go to trunk or treat? Seriously?

That's child abuse!

CaliZona said...

Ha Ha! You can never tell what will generate a firestorm of comments. I thought my piece on the death of that Nazi guy a few months ago was incredibly insightful and masterfully articulated....but I got a big fat ZERO in feedback.

Now our beautiful Cynthia here shows off kid photos with a cuteness factor off the charts and puts in a little Bah Humbug about Halloween. Look what happened! Who knew.

And yes, Lezlee, lots of people (especially evangelicals) consider the church party IT, if they even have one because they are so offended by the supposed satanic origins.

We had some good friends years ago who were "born again" and they didn't refer to Easter as such, because that name apparently has some pagen fertility nasty-bits so they use the Biblical term "Jubilee" instead. From my Seminary days, I don't remember any association with Easter and Jubilee but I could be marshmallow yellow chick wrong.

Thanks, Cynthia, for letting us spar on your site. Mighty generous of you! Happy Halloween!

Cynthia said...

Well, Ms. Calizona - How 'bout we really mix it up. Let's find someone who doesn't like Christmas!

Suzanne Barker said...

Okay, here it is from a childless perspective. I love Halloween. It is the kick off of the best part of the year, the temperature is usually below 100 degrees and we have food laden holidays for the next 3 months. What could be better?
I am often not even home on Halloween night, school, work, something. But I still get to buy big bags of candy and somehow it all goes away somewhere! If I am home I only get a handful of Trick or treaters, usually the neighbors.
I like the fun of all the "fake" scary stuff. I think the Church Halloween party is a hoot. I bought some stuff at Walgreens for it and told the clerk it was for my Church's Halloween party. She was horrified! What kind of a church has a Halloween party. I thought her reaction was hilarious and just laughed.
I enjoy making food that looks like bugs, spiders or fingers and taking it to work to feed my co workers.
I am sure that it's only fun because it isn't mandatory. I only have to do it if I feel like it. I think that is the difference for most things in life whether it's cooking dinner, cleaning the house or taking a class.

Cynthia said...

Suzanne - maybe that's my problem . . . I don't like cooking dinner or cleaning the house either.
Hilarious response from the store clerk. What evil satanic church would be celebrating Halloween?

Jen said...

hahaha i remember by the end of the night at the ward party mels old lady head was hanging weird from everyone touching it. haha mel is a hoot!