Thursday, November 03, 2011

Halloween Is For Kids.

It appears that the economy is doing fine in Northern VA judging by the incredible vulgarity of the Halloween "decorations" I saw this past week. We're not talking a good old jack o'lantern with a candle in it folks. We're not talking about a homemade ghost or two hung in the trees.

No siree bob! We can't do something so pedestrian.

We have to have large inflatable decorations--like this PacMan set that costs--wait for it--$100. That's a lot of Halloween candy.

And then there's these folks. If you think this is something, you should see the Christmas version of this display. I drive by it every day and I find it living proof that money does not bring good taste. Call it the "Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian" theorum.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are the house bedecked in cobwebs, with things hanging everywhere. The bushes covered in orange lights. It goes on and on and on.

To me, this is more of adults taking away what used to be a kids holiday and turning it into a party for their own second childhoods--that is if they've left their first. And going to the party stores, full of severed limbs, fake blood, ghouls and zombies and all the rest makes me glad not only that I am not a kid any more but that my kids aren't little anymore. Scary stuff.

But what is really setting me off today is a piece in the Washington Post  going on about how "parents spend the year working to offset cultural stereotypes. But for Halloween our girls dress as princesses and ballerinas and our boys as soldiers and superheros"

Look, lady, in the first place I am a sort of ballerina, and I know the dress up involves pink frillies, but REAL ballerinas tend to wear torn sweaty tights and ratty leotards and are athletes that would send oversized morons like the Washington Redskins to the showers whimpering if they tried to keep up with them. As for the princess thing,if you're spending all this time offsetting cultural stereotypes how is it your girls know all about every Disney princess and every stupid airheaded Disney Channel/Nick pop princess? How is it they have Princess and the Frog sneakers and a Hannah Montana backpack? Hmm....

As for the boys, good luck getting them to dress up as cute little animals and sensitive New Age males. Some of them will, but that's because they will WANT to. But most want to be firemen, Batman or pirates. Something brave and swashbuckling and right out of their imaginations. And good for them!

Look, cookie, when I was about 5 I was crazy about "The Andy Griffith Show". You may not remember it or have seen it in re-runs, but he played the sheriff of a small town called Mayberry. A cop with a cowboy hat and a star basically. And I wanted to BE him for Halloween!

Back around 1965 there weren't any party stores and most people made their Halloween costumes. And nobody talked about "cultural stereotypes". It was still, in those immortal words sung by "Archie Bunker" the time when "goils were goils and men were men".

So did my parents tell me, their girly little girl that I had to be a princess or a ballerina? Nope?
They made me a cardboard star and probably found me a cowboy hat.
There must be pictures somewhere among Daddy's slides, perhaps someday I'll find them.

And they took me trick or treating and explained to people who I was. And I was thrilled.

Did it scar me for life?  Did it do anything but give me pleasure?

Nope. In later years I remember being the Statue of Liberty, a Japanese girl, and yes, oh, yes. A ballerina.
And I loved Halloween.

It's the just about universal kid holiday. They get to dress up and be whatever they dream about being. They get CANDY!  They talk about it for months before and for all the months to come.

JR has been a princess, a black cat, "Dorothy" from Oz and this year, a hippie. SC has been a cat, a scarecrow, Amelia Earhart and this year again "Gir" from Invader Zim.

They've had a blast. They chose their own characters. They got to be whom they wanted to be.

Layoff, Ms D'Arcy. Let your girls be whom they want to be.Work on "cultural stereotypes" the rest of the year.

Give Halloween back to the kids!

And here's some pictures of OUR house at Halloween. No inflatables, no pirates, no severed heads or fog machines. The Charlie Chaplin/Homer Simpson pumpkin is by the Man, the "Totoro" one is by SC with help from the Man and JR made the 3rd one pretty much all by herself!

Candles and small tchochkes collected and set up by me.
Because I still love Halloween............


De said...

I love that you were Andy Taylor. Great character!!

We didn't have trick or treat this year due to the storm, but made a scavenger hunt with riddles in our dark house that the kids loved. Lorenzo's only complaint was that it was a waste of his costume. He was Iggy Koopa, a Nintendo character- not highly recognizable, and he refused to tell people what he was. Fiona was a vampire. She wants to be creepy and scary. I remember loving scary books and movies for a long time, but it holds no appeal for me now.

The Library Lady said...

I have wonderful parents. I think they gave me a great example in terms of child rearing--very lucky that way.

I think my kids would have sacrificed Halloween for a snowstorm--though not w/the power outage you poor folks got. Glad your power is back and that you're back on line!