I Am The Halloween Grinch

October 31 is looming. A date that fills me with dread, consternation and cultural awkwardness. I just don't get why we all go overboard on the candy, costumes and celebrations?

October 31 is looming. A date that fills me with dread, consternation and cultural awkwardness.

2012 will be my 12th Halloween in the USA and the fifth or sixth “celebrated” since having kids. You’d think by now I’d be cool with it but every September, just as soon as the kids go back to school, it’s all about Halloween every which way you turn and I just don’t dig it. Here’s why:

Costume Craziness

Halloween, otherwise known as All Hallows Eve, the night before All Saints Day or Toussaint, has many origins but it’s mostly about getting spooked out by ghosts, ghouls and witches. So I can understand dressing up in white sheets, pointy hats and broomsticks, and skeletons but I do not get costumes that have nothing to do with Halloween. Cowboys, princesses, ninjas, Batman, Darth Vader, Minnie Mouse, Thomas the Tank – none of these are appropriately themed in my book. Any why are we OK with spending $25 or more every year purchasing brand new costumes for each kid from the growing numbers of retailers willing to take our money? Not being crafty myself, making or sewing a costume for my kids is rarely an option. So, the weeks running up to October 31 are usually spent trying to gently persuade my kids to either re-wear the costumes bought last year (which have not been worn since) or convincing them to make their own designs.

And while we are on the topic, I have never and will never understand adults dressing up at Halloween. Especially at the office! I do not want to be in meetings with a French Maid, Spider Man, a fireman, Cinderella  Frankenstein or any other caped crusaders. I do not want to sit in a cube across from these characters, bump into them in the corridors, kitchen or bathrooms. I’m all for fun at work but grown-ups in costumes, I just don’t get.

Candy Craziness

I have always been a candy nazi, strictly limiting the volume and kinds of candy my kids consume. In the days prior to Halloween, I totally have to psyche myself into being cool with the fact that they will be consuming huge piles of the nasty sugary stuff. I’m not a total spoil-sport, I let them go to town on Halloween. But it makes my skin crawl and sets off every parenting alert signal. And after the sugar high, the inevitable crash, followed by the awesome moods the following morning. Ugh! What I don’t understand is why does there have to be so much candy? And not just on October 31 but in the days and weeks either side?

Extended Celebrations

Halloween is technically just one evening, so why the parties 7-14 days before? Why decorate houses as soon as October hits? Why is there so much Halloween themed junk on the shelves of stores? Halloween cookies, recipes, crafts? Why are there Halloween Hallmark cards? Who sends these things? Happy Day of the Dead? Gee, thanks for thinking of me. It’s all overkill.

There are many American celebrations and seasons that this Brit wholeheartedly embraces, particularly in the fall when pumpkins are plentiful and the foliage breath-taking. And, of course, I want my kids to experience all that is fun and cultural and seasonal.

But, when it comes to Halloween, I admit I am a Grinch. So bah humbug.

And pass the candy.


Samantha McGarry is a working Mom, juggling parenthood, career and being an-expat one crazy day at a time - with a smile on her face. You can read more of her blogs over at Keeping the Glass Half Full.

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Samantha McGarry October 31, 2012 at 06:52 PM
I hear what you are saying - my daughter is super excited to be a yellow ninja tonight!! It's fun to see her anticipation. Have a happy Halloween!
Ken Rice October 31, 2012 at 07:21 PM
So you managed to put a political statement in the middle of a discussion on Halloween? I feel like we see enough political statements on so many other blog posts.
Mary MacDonald October 31, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I for one, love Halloween! I drove by a house in Milford today with a fake bat that's flapping it's wings already, and I thought - that's great! It's a holiday that kids just love, and even adults get into, and it lets us all be kids again. I am happy we were all lucky enough with the weather to have tonight....so, no grinching here.
Samantha McGarry October 31, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Thanks to everyone that commented. Wishing you all a very happy Halloween!
carl berke November 01, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Sam: It is a goofy commercial venture. I certify that it has grown in popularity because people are now waiting for another wrong headed commercial venture of a religious nature called Xmas. There is just so much time to get those displays of crap out, so let us skip a real American holiday, called Thanksgiving, and go right for Black Friday. Afterall, in America, its not the sentiment, its the dollar. Welcome to the wondeful world of bullshit!


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