I’ll Say It: Halloween is Just So EXTRA

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I’m just going to go ahead and say it. I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween.

I honestly just don’t get it. Whose idea was it to dress up in costumes and parade around the street asking STRANGERS for candy anyway? Why did our parents ever allow us to do this in the first place?

Before you get on a soapbox to try to explain it to me, I do know how to Google. Thus, can read more about the history behind Halloween and trick-or-treating online, for instance here. However, if you read the history behind it, Halloween just seems like yet another thing Americans appropriated from other cultures.

I mean, just go ahead and try to explain it to your kid.

Yeah, sure, I had fun trick-or-treating as a kid, just like every other kid across the country. However, as I grew older, Halloween lost its appeal and actually started to irritate me for a variety of reasons.

For one, people often make dumb decisions when it comes to costume choices – donning racially offensive and culturally inappropriate costumes and then vehemently defending those choices when someone calls them to the carpet on it. EXAMPLES: First-grade teacher showed up in blackface for a Halloween party, Iowa district says or The Schoolteachers Who Dressed Up as “Mexicans” and a MAGA wall for Halloween have been suspended.

You see, as a woman of color, stuff like this just makes me want to fight somebody. And trust me. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. This happens. It seems inevitable.

Secondly, Halloween is just so gluttonous. The amount of candy kids get out trick-or-treating is INSANE. My one small child does not need a bucket full of sweets. Particularly when we try to limit the amount of sugar he gets on a regular basis.

Yes, I like a sweet treat every now and then. We don’t completely deny him life’s small joys or anything. We do go out and get ice cream as a family. And we let him have the occasional sucker, cookie or chocolate milk. Nevertheless, the keyword here is “treat”. Which according to the dictionary is “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.” Candy is most certainly not a regular occurrence in our home. Yet Halloween kind of makes it feel that way…Because there is just so much. Too much to eat in just a few days. Or even weeks.

I know that Halloween fits that exact definition – it is out of the ordinary and brings immense amounts of joy to children everywhere. And yes, I get a kick out of seeing him dressed up in some adorable costume. I’m not a monster or anything.

But listen. Here’s the deal. I just don’t get the excess of it all. Don’t nobody need all that candy.

He gets to enjoy a few choice pieces on Halloween, and then we limit it to 1 piece every few days until he gets sick of it. Which seems to be fairly quickly. But then we have a boatload of candy that we don’t need or know what to do with. In fact, I still have a bucket full from last Halloween.

And Valentines’ Day.

And Easter.

Which is why I appreciate the people who give out pencils and erasers, or pretzels or other non-candy related items. Yet then had a kid come to our house and recoil in horror when he saw I was giving out bags of Goldfish crackers. Then proceeded to run to his mother and announce very loudly, and with disdain mind you, “This lady is giving out PRETZELS”.

Ungrateful.

To add insult to injury, even though we regulate sweets in our house, my kid still wound up with seven, yes SEVEN cavities by the time he turned 4. And yes, it’s entirely our fault – because we didn’t heed the warnings to not let him fall asleep with a bottle. Nor did we start brushing his teeth with any sort of regularity until he was three.

Because parenting is hard y’all. And giving him a bottle or applesauce pouch in bed after bouts of tears and cries that he was “STILL HUNGRY” to try to stall at bedtime, was an act of desperation on our parts as parents who just needed the kid to GO TO SLEEP.

As a result, after three visits, six fillings and an enamelplasty, the dentist told us fruit snacks were the Devil, and to make sure he avoids anything gummy or sticky from here on out.

You tell me, what Halloween candy isn’t sticky or gummy that is actually worth eating?

Sure, I could donate it, but my husband won’t let me. He likes to freeze it and forget about it. And would feel personally affronted if I threw it out. Which also just seems wasteful.

Plus, don’t even get me started on the anxiety that comes with having my child parade around our sidewalk-free streets after dusk – supervised or not. Accepting candy from strangers, which we have expressly been warned against doing our ENTIRE LIVES. Because you know there is always the horror story about some freak show planting a needle or some other unseemly thing in a Tootsie Roll that pops up every Halloween.

Sigh.

It’s just all so extra.

So, while parents in Monona are all up in arms about them cancelling Halloween in the schools, I’m over here like “Okay. NBD”.

I realize this is an unpopular opinion. But really. We know sugar is not good for us. And we don’t need any more fools running around in racist costumes throwing “gangsta parties” and dressing up like a Mariachi band.

So at a minimum, teach your kids what respect means when it comes to other cultures. Because dressing up as someone from another culture does not honor that culture. This also means demonstrating that yourselves. Which means, yes, it may be time for you to get rid of that black Afro wig in the back of your closet.

And please, just consider how much candy your kid really needs and think about alternative “treats” you might give out this year. I’m sure I’m not the only Momma who would appreciate it.

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Alicia
Alicia was born and raised in Racine, Wisconsin and moved to Madison in 1996 to attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she received her degree in Communication Arts with an emphasis in radio, television and film. She’s been working on campus in some capacity ever since and currently manages career and leadership development initiatives in the School of Human Ecology. Alicia married her husband Eric in 2012 and became a mom to her sweet and funny son Ellis in 2015. When she’s not playing with or reading to Ellis, she likes to read, watch TV, and might be caught playing bingo at the VFW. She also runs her own lifestyle blog (madtownmomma.com) and catches for her softball team through Madison Schools & Community Recreation every summer.

2 COMMENTS

  1. We love Halloween the holiday, but not the candy, so I’m with you there. Everything you say about sugar, limiting candy eaten, and getting sick of having candy around resonates with me. So! My kiddo sells her “extra” candy to the dentist, every year and not just from Halloween either, and then pads her savings account for vacations while the wonderful dentist sends in to the troops. For us, problem solved! As far as trick or treat goes, personally, we hand out pencils, vampire teeth, & spider rings to kids over five while the tiny kids get stickers. I’ve never had a complaint yet. Have a safe & Happy Halloween 🎃

    • Love this! We’ve never done the dentist office drop-off, mainly because I don’t think my dentist has ever done it. But it’s a fantastic idea! My kiddo definitely gets excited about spider rings, and those non-candy treats make my heart happy. I just struggle with anything that seems like it’s gotten out of control and the original intent behind it gets lost in the commercialization of it all…Glad to know I’m not alone in that!

      Happy Halloween to you and your family as well!

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