Living in Southern California, Halloween meant choosing between dressing up as sexy nurse, sexy bumblebee, or a sexy garden salad.
Halloween in my childhood was… meh, I don’t know? I was high on candy!
Halloween now, in Juneau, Alaska, means going door-to-door in 36° rain, watching my small children ask strangers for candy, a month of sugar crashes, filling the landfill with candy wrappers and random Halloween crap, spending $$ on costumes my family will wear once in a lifetime, and supporting corporations that can’t confirm that they don’t employ child labor in the harvesting of their chocolate. (Looking at you, Hersheys, Nestle, and Mars.)
What’s not to love?
Like any tradition, Halloween is so embedded in our cultural landscape that its rituals are taken for granted. Is it weird that we tell our children to ask strangers for candy just so we can steal it when they’re not looking?
Listen, I’m all for dressing up. I like to dress like a tree most days, or Steve Jobs. Today I dressed like a skeleton. Okay, just my face dressed like a skeleton. Or at least that’s what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
Unrelated, maybe I should wear make-up.
Because, sugar = inflammation.
Which brings me to the second thing we love about Halloween. Candy!
The way my kids go door-to-door seems so capitalistic. “More! More! Gimme! I need more! More! More! More!” Because if they don’t get all the candy, then someone else will, and heavens to broomsticks if that should happen.
It was like watching my otherwise angelical, perfect children, evolve into the Koch brothers. First, it starts with candy. Then they’re screwing the middle class. Trick-or-treating is just the gateway to the corporate rat race.
You think I’m being extreme. What’s wrong with a little candy, you ask?
The problem is that the highly processed sugar in those Reese’s peanut butter cups is stronger than I am, and I don’t like it when something has more control over me than I do myself. Next thing I know, the sugar-crash fog clouds my brain, my daughter is screaming, and my son is saying he hates his life. Even aspirin, water, and a hike in the woods can’t snap me out of my funk.
“It’s okay,” I tell my son. “I feel like crap, too. It’s not your fault.” A cop just visited his school and told his class about drugs, so he gets the whole getting jack-o-lanterned up on chemicals just to become a wilted pumpkin an hour later thing.
Yes, sugar is basically a drug.
“Do you want to feel like this tomorrow, and the next day?” I ask him.
No, he doesn’t want sugar to control him anymore than I do, and chooses to feast on nature’s candy instead. Bring on the blueberries! They taste better than Twizzlers, anyway.
That is why my son dumped his entire bag of candy into the garbage, and I didn’t even ask him to.
A girlfriend told me that this year she took her kids trick-or-treating to show off their costumes. They only stopped at two houses for candy. Then they went home and enjoyed banana splits.
Next year, I think we’ll forgo trick-or-treating for banana splits.
Okay, maybe I don’t hate Halloween. I guess I just hate trick-or-treating. And cleaning glitter off my floor after decorating sugar skulls.
You see, the day after Halloween is Day of the Dead, and I’m all for celebrating that. I got to honor my grandma who passed away twelve days ago.
My children and students made sugar skulls this week in honor of Dia de Muertos.
Maybe we’ll eat them later.