Monday, October 28, 2013

Why I Hate Halloween, and Why I love It

Halloween Pizza making! (Really this photo belongs under the 'love' section.)

Why I hate Halloween:
When you come up to me with fake blood streaming down your sweet 6-year-old face, I can't look at you. My stomach churns and I want to vomit and cry at the same time. That bloody fake hand on your doorknob? Same thing. My kids report having to avoid some of their friends' houses at Halloween. I avoid going to shops, because the displays of torn-off, bloody body parts and murder scenes haunt me for years. I am close to tears just typing this. And I'm 37 years old.

Do you forget that there are people living among us who have seen their loved ones dismembered, maimed, decapitated, etc. Can you imagine what these gruesome displays do to them? They're devastating to me, and I haven't even had such gruesome experiences. The fact that every Halloween I feel afraid to raise my eyes from the sidewalk; that I constantly have to console my children, and explain to them that no, I don't understand why people think this is funny -- is terribly unfortunate. And I know I'm not the only one who has this experience of Halloween. We live in a very small world that is fraught with war and violence and despair, and to many of us, this is not funny. The fact that it's so prevalent, here, makes me think that we really are WAY out of touch with reality.

Our community, watching fireworks.
Why I love Halloween:
In our house, Halloween is a holiday so special it rivals Christmas. It's about family, and harvest, and fun, and also remembering those family members who have died. It's also romantic, in that dark-night way that midwinter and Christmas are.

We start with carving squashes, in the morning (usually from our garden, if we have grown and saved any). Then I roast the seeds, while the kids keep carving, and I cook the meat into some tasty dish. We make pizza, usually including some lovely foods from our garden, too! We decorate with candles and lovely fabrics, and then everybody gets dressed up (usually this results in pulling out all the costumes and having a big dress-up party!). The kids trick-or-treat around the neighbourhood, collecting usually home-made treats from a small handful of neighbours. It's more about showing their exciting costumes, and walking around in the night with friends, than it is about candy. In fact they don't even get much candy, since their allergies make candy a difficult prospect.

After trick-or-treating, we all walk down to the cove, where our volunteer firemen put on a fireworks display, and (most importantly) we get to visit with and admire the costumes of so many friends! Firemen are usually handing out hot drinks from the back of the fire truck, too. (When I was a child this was so enchanting, to me, since I thought they were piping these drinks directly from the fire-hoses!)

After the community celebration, we return home again, where we come together as a family, to hold hands in the garden and remember people and pets we have loved. It's a very special night, and we all go to bed with that richly full feeling that comes from a close and loving family.

Happy Halloween, everyone. May your dreams be full of joy.


  1. Thanks Honey! You have caught my feelings precisely.
    I love the wonder and laughter but I can't understand how it is that anyone enjoys being frightened.

  2. I love the image of hot chocolate coming out of the fire hoses! The feeling of sharing the night with community makes Halloween one of our favourite things about living on Bowen.


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