I'm concerned that Halloween has gotten too far from its roots as a pleasant harvest holiday. Although many of my neighbors have cheery orange pumpkins decorating their porches, I've noticed that some of them seem to have faces cut into them. This seems strange to me, especially since some of the faces look more angry than happy. Maybe it's just the decorator's lack of skill, but I am suspicious.
I am also suspicious of the motives behind some of the costumes that parents are allowing children to choose for this fall festival. Lately, there just aren't enough friendly scarecrows, jolly beanpoles, and corn princesses going door to door to share in the symbolic bounty. I did see one young man with an appropriate agricultural implement last year, but his plain, black, hooded robe did nothing to convey the richness of fall colors, and I would think it would be difficult for a field hand to see what he was scything with that hood in the way. If he'd actually been bringing in the wheat, I would have been afraid that he might cut himself by accident.
Sometimes, it almost seems like kids are trying to look tough or scary in the costumes they choose. Parents need to remember to pay attention to what kids are wearing when they leave the house, because Halloween is no time for frightening anyone.
Another thing that scares me about this holiday is the poor quality of treats that many people hand out. I always take great care in selecting the shrink-wrapped produce and unshelled nuts that I bestow on merry-makers, but I could swear that I've seen whole piles of sugary candy in their little treat bags. Some supposedly responsible adults must be cutting corners, and it frightens me to think what those children will have to face next time they go to the dentist.
With only a few days to go, I want to remind our community to respect tradition more. Please, everyone, let's take the scariness out of Halloween this year, and ensure a healthy, vegetable-oriented celebration for all.
Monday, October 29, 2007