Just call me the Halloween Scrooge

(October 31, 2007) Hear the audio version

It’s Halloween, and boy, am I looking forward to . . . Thanksgiving.

I hate Halloween. There – I’ve said it. I didn’t even like it when I was a kid and never knew what I was going to “be.” Throw on some old, oversized clothes and pretend to be a beatnik – again? What a fraud! And it wasn’t as if I could whip up something on the Singer. I failed sewing in Home Ec. When I had my own children, they looked to me for costume ideas. Uh-oh. We went the catalog route for several years. I was in BIG trouble if I hadn’t ordered the princess, or pirate outfit in midsummer, when all the “hot” costumes were still available. My children’s elementary school had a costume parade every Halloween. Talk about pressure!

And speaking of “hot,” a walk down the costume aisle of Target or Long’s offers the narrowest range of possibilities for adult females who care to dress up for Halloween: French maid, “Deluxe bunny, “sexy witch” . . are the people making these costumes aware there was a feminist revolution forty years ago?

Lots of people lament the sugar overload on Halloween, but what about kids who can’t have the candy? Halloween is the worst day of the year for those with food allergies, because candy is teeming with common food allergens – nuts, wheat, milk, soy, you name it. My gluten-intolerant daughter never knew what to say: “Trick or treat, but is it gluten-free?” Poor kid: we made her hand over 90 percent of her candy to her sisters. And school is a mine field of poisons on Halloween – parties in elementary school and “candy grams” in my daughter’s high school. She’ll stay home today, rather than be sick for the next week.

If you are like many and enjoy this “holiday,” go ahead. Drape spider webs from your balcony, dress up as Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld – now that’s scary.

But if you’re like me and feel like turning off the porch light and hiding in a back room to read a book, know you are not alone. If you want to talk about the book, well, we could have our own Halloween party. But please, no costumes. Or candy.

With a Perspective, I’m Debbie Duncan.