Friday, October 18, 2013

It's only Halloween, But I like it!

By - Steve Mezo

Once again it's that time of year where Holiday Grinches feel the need to run everyone's fun... 

I really hate typing these because it means the Holiday Haters have gained a little more ground. And this time the news came from friends and contacts on Facebook telling me about how schools are cancelling any kind of Halloween celebrations. 

Really?!!! I can understand the no costumes rule to keep the kids from being distracted, and I can even accept being careful with not allowing treats because of peanut allergies being a danger. 

But there are a lot of fun things that can be done!

I had a blast back in grade school making Jack-o-Lanterns out of construction paper, me and the other kids tracing each other on contractors paper cutting the tracings out and making them into monsters with poster paint. And getting to watch the Disney version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow on film!   

This was me back in 1976 with my Aunt Vera celebrating Halloween and she was dressed as a witch and I turned out fine. I didn't know anything about the origins of Halloween or any of it's legends. For me it was just a day of getting to dress up as a Gorilla Soldier from Planet of The Apes my Aunt Vera Dressing up as a Halloween Witch and getting to go to the Filkin's Halloween Castle behind us in Union Beach. And seeing poor Charlie Brown getting nothing but a rock in his pillow case for Halloween. 

Then there's this group of kids here.
They went to strangers houses for free candy, watched Linus search for The Great Pumpkin, and *Gasp!* dressed up as a devil and a ghost. And yet they grew up to be well adjusted parents and possibly grand parents! Hey Shout Out to the fellow Planet of The Apes Fan!!!
And I guarantee not a one of them new anything about the origins of The Holiday either. 

It wasn't until I was in my mid-teens that I started to become interested in the whole origin of the holiday. And read about how a lot of the traditions were brought here by Irish Immigrants. And how the original (according to legend) Jack-o-Lantern was really a hollowed out and carved turnip. 

And it was even cooler to find out about other cultures that have variations of Halloween in completely different months.

China and other Asian countries have "The Hungry Ghost Festival" or "Yu Lan" that starts July 15th and is celebrated through the month, where food and other offerings are made to those recently passed and Ancestors. 

Mexico has Day of The Dead "Día de Muertos" November 1st and 2nd. Where the same takes place. And while I was researching this their are even more countries that have the same rituals including those in African cultures. 

So I would like to know who exactly is being offended?

One complaint I hear (If their not going with the offending somebody excuse) is safety issues. Well we can all thank the internet for making Urban Legends believable.

Another is financial inequality...
I think this was the one holiday where not having much didn't matter. It was the one day where everybody could be creative and join in trick or treating or events without being judged. 
I even remember reading about a friend on Facebook that didn't have much, but his dad made a JAWA costume for him out of Contractor Paper that looked great and he had just as much fun as everybody else. 

And of course there's those making the complaints that it's offending other religions. Well if they had done a little research like I had they would see that it's not the evil abomination their making it out to be. 

And it's been celebrated by God fearing Church goers that they could only hope to be like.


You know for a fact that this kid had a set of Sunday Church Clothes that he used every single Sunday till he was fitted for the last suit he ever owned as an adult. But on Halloween he dressed up as a devil and had some of the best fun ever a kid could have one day of the year.

And his parents would attend Grown Up Parties where they would dress as Devils. Black Cats, Ghost, Witches and Skeletons and had a good time. And this carried on for generations without any trouble because each year the focus was on the fun part of it. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is kids only get to really be kids once. So let them enjoy fun scares for a month and having one day to wear whatever they want and get a pillowcase or Blowmold plastic pumpkin full of free candy. Because there are a ton of happy memories to go along with it too.