Elizabeth Davies: Mom loves Halloween, but not monsters
Retailers might be guilty of gearing up for Christmas in October, but I’ll admit to getting into the holiday spirit early as well.
Only for me, it’s a struggle to hold off decorating for Halloween.
I really enjoy Oct. 31. I like pumpkins and gourds, jack-o’-lanterns and black cats. I may not agree with the origins of the holiday or the superstitions surrounding it, but I can’t help it: I’m simply enamored with Halloween.
Our family spends much of October going to pumpkin patches and apple orchards. We bake breads and pies, and celebrate the fact that we’re no longer wearing swimsuits in public anymore. We make ghosts out of Tootsie Pops and Kleenex, then decorate the doorways with construction-paper cat faces.
Each October, I host a preschool-aged Halloween party to give my kids and their friends a chance to wear their costumes one more time. I go overboard with pumpkin-shaped cookies and party favors that are, in all likelihood, trashed before they get home.
And Halloween costumes are never last-minute ventures in our house. My three-year-old has known exactly what he would be for Halloween since July. By some miracle, he actually hasn’t changed his mind — yet. I still have two weeks before trick-or-treating starts.
To me, Halloween is pure, unaltered fun. It’s a time of playing dress-up, celebrating autumn and eating too much candy. Any holiday that encourages an overabundance of sugar is a good one in my book.
But in reality, what I actually like is the G-rated version of Halloween. I’m not really such a fan of the gore and doom, the blood and monsters.
That’s why I was so annoyed to find that it’s difficult to purchase a boy’s Halloween shirt that doesn’t have a picture of Frankenstein on it. Or a skeleton. Or — worse in my book — a snotty comment like, “Hand over the candy and no one gets hurt.”
I don’t care that toddlers can’t read the words on their own shirts. Why would I let my child’s shirt send a message that I wouldn’t allow him to say?
Little girls seem to have pretty cute shirt options for Halloween. It’s an ironic twist, given that mothers of girls generally face the dilemma of finding clothing that is equal parts age-appropriate and modest.
Boys tend to be easy to dress: Their clothes all tend to match each other and their pants are comfortable for climbing, running or tackling. But once my boy left the infant sizes, I realized I would never again buy him a shirt with words on it: I simply don’t find them appropriate for my children. Boy’s T-shirts tend to be sarcastic and snarky, disrespectful and rude.
In the toddler section, you find T-shirts sporting phrases such as “my way or the highway,” “master of disaster” and “trouble is my middle name.”
It’s a shame that young boys aren’t allowed a few years of innocence before they inadvertently give off such unappealing messages.
This Halloween, I hope to see a few more little firemen than bloody ghouls at my front door. I hope to hear more “thank you’s” when the candy bowl is offered. But mostly, I hope retailers get a clear message that our kids are not billboards for their very adult humor.
Contact Elizabeth Davies at email@example.com. Now, that would be a treat.