By Stephanie Lewis
I come from a long line of Harrowing Halloween Haters, so my disdain is justifiably genetic.
Two weeks in advance, my mother would buy the mandatory bag of Hershey’s fun size bars only to partake in a little too much fun. She would then need to replenish the bag before All Hallows’ Eve arrived. Six different times. When we’d run out of candy by 7 p.m. on the night of the actual festivities, mom tacked a sign on our front door stating, “At store buying Snickers.” And then another notice beneath it, “Please don’t egg our house … haven’t you heard of binge eating disorder?”
Now that I have children of my own, there’s always the same conversation regarding this holiday and it always goes off in a weird tangent.
Daughter: Can we decorate our house for October 31st?
Me: Sorry kids, we’re Purim People, remember? Besides Halloween was originally a Paganistic holiday and we’re against Pagans.
Daughter: But they’re so cute waddling their black and white bodies.
Son: Are we against Madagascar and Happy Feet too? Those movies are also about penguins.
And don’t get me started on overtly sexy costumes. Why does a wicked witch need garter belts? To hold up her black lace fishnet stockings, of course. I think the holiday greeting needs to be changed to “Trick-or-Discreet!”
Costumes are also costly. I’m as creative as the next Yenta, but shelling out $120 at Party City for a cowgirl outfit (with six inch stiletto heeled boots, mind you!) or spending major money at Michaels craft store for supplies to make an iPhone costume is ridiculous. Anyone can do that. As far as I’m concerned, the real “Trick” in “Trick or Treating” is convincing your child they already own a fantastic costume in their closet. And it’s free.
Last year, I had my children shove heavy textbooks inside their backpacks, announcing they were dressed-up as Straight-A Students. This season I’m trying a different tactic.
Me: Hey son, wear your black and white striped shirt to the party and be a referee. And as for you sweet girl, remember that white flower-girl dress? You’ll be a perfect Angel.
Daughter: (stamping feet) I want an Elsa costume from Frozen and I want it now.
Me: Oh good, it’s settled. You’ll go as Veruca Salt, you spoiled little brat!
I have a contingency plan if my children are determined to parade around, begging for candy. I’ll turn it into an opportunity for Tzedakah. As a bonus, we’ll help neighbors get a jumpstart on their other beloved holiday. I call it, “Reverse Trick-or-Treating.” As doors open, my children toss a candy cane into the surprised homeowner’s sweets receptacle. Why not? Christmas decorations are in stores before the first jack-o-lantern is even carved.
Speaking of those large orange fruits from the gourd family, nothing seems to get spared from being “pumpkinized” this time of year. “Everything tastes like cinnamon potpourri or nutmeg candle wax,” I remark to my teenage daughter as I take a sip of pumpkin spice orange juice, followed by a swig of pumpkin spice mouthwash to banish the weird taste.
“I think you’re definitely gonna win $100 for most original costume,” my daughter sighs. “Because you’re a cross between Oscar The Grouch AND The Grinch.” Very perceptive, I think. But I betcha the money is orange and pumpkin scented.
Stephanie D. Lewis is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and writes a humor blog called, “Once Upon Your Prime.” Follow her on Twitter @MissMenopause.