I know it’s not a holiday with the religious significance of Christmas or the historical importance of Memorial Day, but Halloween is a reason to celebrate in my house. This has a lot to do with the fact that I have a love affair with sugar, chocolate, and any type of candy, and I have passed it on to my skinny kids. The sweetness factor, coupled with the opportunities for socialization for the kids and for me, make this is the ultimate holiday.
So why do Halloween critics want to spoil our fun? Over the years I’ve figured out how to handle all sorts of Halloween buzz-killers. I’ll share these little knowledge treats with you.
The costume critic
Guess what? If your child dresses up as a ghost it doesn’t mean he has suicidal tendencies as much as it means his mom simply used a sheet as a costume to save time, brainpower, or money.
The religious critic
Reassure religious naysayers that just because a kid dresses up as a skeleton or a devil (again with the costumes), he probably won’t grow up to be an undertaker or an atheist. I don’t know about your kids, but mine are imps all year ’round; they don’t need to use Halloween as an excuse that some evil spirit is making them behave badly.
The stranger-danger critic
To deal with these, you can share what Lenore Skenazy says in her book, Free-Range Kids: “[S]omehow, your nice, quiet neighbors—the ones you don’t know but somehow manage to live next to in peace and harmony the other 364 days of the year—have been waiting, like kids for Christmas, for this one day to murder local children.” Doubt it.
The keep-Halloween-out-of-our-schools critic
I know I’m asking for the hate mail on this one, but my take is that if you don’t want your child to dress up or participate at school for any Halloween festivities, keep her home.
The begging-is-rude critic
Oh, come on! My kids don’t beg; they say, “Trick or treat,” and then politely thank their candy pushers. They also make the requisite small talk, if necessary. If people don’t want kids “begging” at their door, they either leave their house or turn out all the lights. The people with their porch light on leave it on because they welcome children at their door and want to hand out candy.
The weather critic
These people think your child will catch cold and die, especially if she goes trick-or-treating in the cold with (gasp) wet hair. Newsflash! Going to the mall to trick-or-treat on October 31 doesn’t get you into the trenches of Halloween. You gotta experience the drizzle, the cold, the dark, the whole mood—even if you just go to one house.
The sugar-is-bad critic
Last time I checked, I could eat 3,500 calories of pure sugar or 3,500 calories of organic sweet potato and it’s still one entire pound of fat on my body if I don’t work it off. Yes, some parents let their child pig out on Halloween candy until it’s gone (guilty), but some use common sense and dole it out a few pieces a day, then pitch the rest.
The razor-blade-in-apple critic
Lenore Skenazy writes about a professor of sociology and criminal justice who studied Halloween crime reports from 1958 on, and said, “I cannot find any evidence that any child has ever been killed or seriously hurt by a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick-or-treating.” Pitch the homemade treats if you must, then just check over the wrapped candy for needle holes, you paranoid parent (guilty again).
I’ve gone trick-or-treating in the pouring rain, in the freezing cold, while eight months pregnant, with a newborn baby, with a severe ear infection, you name it. Bring it on, hecklers! Nothing’s gonna keep me from celebrating this sugar holiday with my brood.
Kerrie McLoughlin, the semi-sweet mom of five sweet kids, blogs at TheKerrieShow.com.