Have you given much thought to how messed up Halloween is, and how counter-cultural it is, especially when it comes to parenting? Sounds weird right? Calling Halloween counter-cultural?
Halloween has been considered wide spread since 1930s. What isn’t fun about getting free candy once a year? The stupid part isn’t about getting candy though. Nor is it stupid to dress up in cool costumes.
Here’s the stupid part of Halloween: parents, irrespective of religious beliefs, instruct their children to not take candy, or anything for that matter, from strangers. Parents tout “stranger danger” to their children so that they will be aware of their surroundings.
Yet for some crazy reason we dress our children up in costumes and parade them around neighborhoods throughout the United States, asking for candy and other goodies, from complete strangers.
That makes a lot of sense doesn’t it?
“See that creepy van with no windows, Timmy? Stay away because that’s a stranger! He may try to hurt you or steal you.” You tell little Timmy in the heat of summer while at the splash pad at the local park. You have given your child a lesson on the importance of staying away from strangers. No little child wants to be separated from their mom or dad, or whoever is caring for them.
A few months later, you see a light on at a house on October 31st and tell little Timmy, “You look so great in your Batman costume. Now go up to that house’s door, ring the doorbell (or knock), and take some candy from that person’s hand.”
I never thought of it as weird or stupid until this year. My son is 4, soon to be 5. It just got me thinking about how parents teach their children to be aware of strangers, then we take them to strangers homes to ask for candy.
In case you’re wondering, Yes, my wife, son, and I are going trick-or-treating this Friday. But I’m always prepared in case that one weirdo tries anything stupid. I’ve got to look out for my family while I am being stupid too, right?