Last year, around this time, I wrote a post “Is It Worth The Candy?”. This is somewhat a followup post to that.
I’ll be honest. I hate halloween! And no, it’s not because I’m a Christian and halloween is a satanic/demonic holiday – although that is one issue. We are Christ followers and that does affect how we do life. However, my concerns with Halloween has to do with the current state of this widely celebrated festival and it’s negative implications. Plus, I hate people asking me, “what are you guys doing for halloween?” My answer is not a quick one! So, this post is a way for me to concisely put down my objections and create a clear argument to retort with when I am faced with “the dreaded question”.
Here are my top five issues with October 31st and the events surrounding it:
Greed – this is the reason I don’t understand halloween. Why am I supposed to sit at home with an investment of chocolate waiting for kids (note: strangers) to come to my home and collect it because they may or may not have a good costume on? One word, greed. I often hear, “that’s the fun” or “it’s all about the candy”. Well I think it’s weird!!! If we were in the 1950s and I actually new and invested in my neighbours, and they in me, I may think differently. In our culture today this is self-serving behaviour and not something I like to encourage.
Over-spending – How much do you spend on halloween? Costumes, candy, decorations, the gas to drive to the “good neighbourhoods”, it all adds up! Do you budget these items? Did you know Christmas is around the corner? Let’s be honest, stores know we are big spenders. They totally take advantage of these ‘consumer holidays’. Those marketing executives are good at their jobs! Do you think your money could be put to better use – rather than feeding the poor chubby kids down the road?
Health concerns – First, have you ever wondered why the flu vaccine comes out around this time? When you feed your body too much sugar and don’t give it proper nutrition and rest (it’s probably hard to sleep because of all the high fructose corn syrup, fat, and salt you are pumping into yourself) it causes your immune system issues, and some people are effected more than others. You might come down with a scratchy throat or the sniffles or the full on “out both ends” situation. The flu is not a coincidence. Second, Isn’t there an obesity epidemic in North America? Is overconsumption something we want to ingrain in our children? Plus, I don’t even want to get started on all the GMOs (genetically modified organisms) that junk food contains and how they effect your body (encouraging obesity and other health complications). Side note: you are lucky, I’m going to stop here. I could make a whole post about this topic!!!! I am showing self control. Moving along…
Child slavery/human trafficking – this breaks my heart! Many major chocolate producers turn a blind eye that children are the ones harvesting cocoa to produce our precious halloween candy. It’s a disgusting irony that children will be out all night in North America collecting candy while children in developing countries are denied their freedom to help produce that candy. A wonderful mom named Kristen wrote – better than I ever could – on this specific topic in her blog Rage Against the Minivan. I would REALLY encourage you to check it out. My note here is please be a responsible consumer if you are buying treats! Buy local when possible and buy Fair Trade. Yes, it’s more expensive but it is worth it!
Over-sexualization – there may be some scary costumes out there but those are clearly plastic, fake, and fairly easy to explain to a child. My issue is more with the sexual costumes – sexy cheerleader, slutty nurse, sexy kitty. And it’s not just adult costumes. I’m already horrified year-round how our young girls dress and are expected to be sexy and grown up (if you don’t believe me google Madonna’s tween fashion line, Material Girl; also this is her daughter Lola’s blog about halloween, she’s 15 by the way) wearing heavy makeup, short skirts, and even fishnet stockings. There is also a trend of baby string bikinis! When it comes to October, in Canada, let’s be practical: it’s COLD. Ladies, please clothe yourselves!
I want to pose this question to you: Why do you celebrate halloween? Is is bad to take part in these festivities? Of course not! But don’t just settle with, “well, everyone else does it.” Your mama taught you better than that! And my mama did too. Where do you think I got my “why”-mentality from? And I hope to pass that along to my kids.
Because of our convictions Chris and I have decided to spend our October 31st differently. We have chosen to invest our time and money in our kids in another way. We have budgeted for a wonderful family evening of events. We will be bowling with the kids, eating out as a family (BIG treat for us!!), and then heading to the church to watch a movie on the big screen. We call it the Reformation Celebration (FYI Reformation Day is also on October 31st).
Our kids still don’t understand what halloween is. Natalee has been asking some questions and we tell her honestly, “many people enjoy dressing up and going door to door to get candy but we have chosen to spend our evening as a family.” As the kids grow and ask more we will honestly answer them with our clear convictions. I know this isn’t a “protective phase” that we will grow out of as our kids get older. We want to raise our children to question society and the status quo. Rather than blindly do what everyone else is doing we hope that our kids choose to do what they want, not following the crowd – in all situations.
I hope you take time to consider your family traditions. Why do you celebrate October 31st the way that you do?