I intended to have a Halloween themed post ready for today, I had a very supernatural type experience last week( :-0!), which I will write about, but have had a busy week and haven’t gotten around to it. I want to do it justice so I will leave for a future date, sorry!
I’ve been seeing a lot this week online about the over the top nature of Halloween in America, how gauche and extreme it has become. What I would like to say to those poo pooing the one day of the year that people of all ages dress up as expressions of themselves, spooky or sweet, in celebration of All Hallow’s Eve, is get a grip. Try living in Britain, where Halloween is a mere afterthought for most, where many kids don’t even have the opportunity to trick or treat because their neighborhoods don’t promote it. (I’m not implying British kids are deprived, but unless you live in a town or very nice area, I think kids would struggle to go “guising” as they call it here). Of course they have parties at school and it’s simply not as popular here so I doubt they miss it much, but we for instance have not had one trick or treater in 10 years (my husband insists on buying candy “just in case” – this year I uttered the horrid words “We can just give them an apple” in the unlikelihood that anyone turns up), that is how depleted my Halloween spirit has become. Very few adults here dress up; if there is a Halloween party it’s a bit more of a sophisticated nod to the event.
Needless to say being an ugly American I really miss the in your face, dress up and do up your house and terrify small children nature of the event. At my house growing up my Dad created a theatrical experience, each trick or treater subjected to spooky music and my Dad jumping out at them in a devil mask in exchange for the handing over of candy. Every year someone in the neighborhood would put on a haunted house. My next door neighbour made baked goods which all the children in the neighborhood actually consumed without fear of razorblades. I know it was a simpler time than what Halloween in America has since become, and I admit even I was cowed at how big it has become when we were over visiting last year during Halloween. People really do go all out with the decor especially, my Mom's 'hood is nearly as decked out as it is at Christmas now. Personally I think it's fun and why not, it breaks up the pre-Christmas period nicely, whereas in the U.K. Christmas stuff is now on full display from September - ugh. The more holidays to stop early Christmas burnout the better I say!
My Mom and I were going to a costume party – our costumes were mostly homemade but you always need that little something extra - luckily there was a pop up store just for Halloween near her house. Even the Halloween phobic Scottish husband could not help but be impressed with the number of ingenious costumes and frankly terrifying animatronic designs – they really go all out down south. My Mom’s friend’s house was decorated like nothing I’ve ever seen: each appetizer and drink having amazing attention to detail, never mind the creepy décor! Being away from it for so long, it just makes me appreciate the unashamed, gung ho attitude Americans pour into even minor holidays. If it’s not your bag you don’t have to participate, if you are someone who likes to dress up in matching costumes with your kids or just an overgrown kid yourself, more power to you. I won’t be dressing up this year but we will be having a scary movie fest. My mother on the other hand, is going to another party, dressed head to toe as a space alien. I might not want to do it every year, but I miss the opportunity to do it if I feel like it without being given funny looks. Halloween is a great equalizer, everyone who chooses to dress up is part of a club that says “We do not care if you think we are strange”, for one night of the year, and I love that America is a place that celebrates it unashamedly and raises its children to think it’s cool, not corny, whatever your age.
|My Victorian ghost costume last Halloween|