*The following is a guest post by Laura Kennedy who was inspired to write in response to yesterday’s post called The Problem with Halloween.
I’ve heard it so many times before…adults dressing up on Halloween are “taking it away from the kids.” Only certain costumes are “appropriate.” The children are eating candy! Buying costumes is “wasteful.” And my personal favorite: “I’m not crafty so making costumes is out of the question.” (Usually said with pursed lips and special disdain for the word “crafty.”)
Yes, the merchants beat it to death by starting in August. Too, too, true! And yet they do the same thing for the rest of the holidays. Why does Halloween seem to come in for more than its share of Mrs. Grundyism? (Grumble grumble somebody somewhere is having fun. Inappropriately.)
Halloween makes a lot of people nervous. It happens at the spookiest time of the year, when the dark comes earlier each day, when some parts of the country are having horrible storms, or earthquakes, or we are just feeling more susceptible to general heebie-jeebies. And rather than acknowledging their primal, ancient fears, some folks just prune up and disapprove. Which is a pity, because Halloween’s spirit of mild mayhem is a great antidote to those fears!
But this remedy requires that we first face up to our fears and then counter them with our creativity.
I agree about the wastefulness of packaged costumes! But to say you can’t come up with anything else because you’re not “crafty” is a poor excuse. Perhaps the idea of creating something scares you as much as the ghouls and goblins floating around in the autumn mists? Or even more? What if you put effort into it and another Mrs. Grundy disapproves? Horrors!
Don’t like trick or treating? Throw a party for the neighborhood kids! Bobbing for apples, hanging donuts from strings for a no-hands eating contest, a costume parade, use your imagination! Commercial candy is garbage? Make popcorn balls, caramel apples, homemade donuts! (Besides, a little candy once a year never hurt a normal kid, no matter how crappy it is. They don’t have to eat it all, Mom—you can work that one out.)
Only certain costumes are appropriate? Who says? Masquerade, of all sorts, is a time-honored tradition in scary times. Besides, it’s fun. Get into the spirit. Adults shouldn’t wear costumes? Why ever not? My kids enjoyed it even more when the adults joined in. C’mon, loosen up. Grab a witch hat, or a bed sheet, or even a feather boa, and put on another personality for the evening.
Creativity is edgy—which is part of the fun. It needn’t be overwhelmingly scary, as long as you don’t surrender to the Mrs. Grundys of the world. She has a lot of faces. Your disapproving mother? Neighbor? Ignore them! The one who really shortchanges you is the Mrs. Grundy who lives inside you.
Go ahead. Goose her. Maybe even she can learn to lighten up and have a little mischievous fun.
Laura Kennedy is a native Californian whose heart has been in England since childhood, largely owing to an early overindulgence in British children’s literature.