5 Reasons Why I Hate Halloween (Now)

by mdiehl on October 30, 2012

I didn’t always hate Halloween.

I had four boys who loved it (one of them still does. He and his wife throw an adult party every year famous for its inventive and sometimes hilariously warped costumes). I went though the annual “what do you want to be for Halloween?” discussion every year. I came up with the right pieces for a cool costume. One year, I made my oldest son up as a prize fighter (we had sweats on hand and a pair of boxing gloves the boys were forbidden to use on each other) — complete with realistic bruises right out of my makeup kit. That’s when I learned how to make fake blood.

Seriously, you could not tell the difference. Probably my favorite memory of Halloween.

Back when the boys were little, we lived on a wonderful street in a city neighborhood and usually Daddy was home at last from the Tour’s season. He would take the boys out to trick or treat and I’d hand out candy. One year I even got real corn stalks to decorate our porch along with the hand-carved candlelit pumpkins.

See? I was OK with Halloween once.

The bowl of rocks above is about one neighbor — we loved the family– who kept a bowl of little stones for obnoxious teens or adults with no costumes who came around for candy. She’d grab a handful out of a deep bowl, so the offender couldn’t see what she was dropping in their bag — it could’ve been candy. She was a pistol. She spent her Halloween as a social occasion to invite neighbors in for a break and a cocktail. Our boys always got special treats — her daughters were our prize babysitters.

You might say she was a witch for the rock trick. Maybe deep down she came to hate Halloween, too.

That brings me to Reason #1: Adults have taken over a kids’ holiday.

When did this happen? When did adults decide not to grow up and stay home to hand out treats to kids — instead, they now spend $1.4 Billion on costumes! There are whole bar parties devoted to wearing these costumes and getting as raunchy and drunk as possible. Whole catalogs devoted to adult costumes.

And $370 Million is spent just on costumes for pets. Pets do not enjoy being dressed up. Some costumes are downright uncomfortable for animals, restricting their movement, or blocking their vision. Some dogs look ashamed — most likely, they associate the costume with being punished or dominated. Some pets might tolerate it, but it’s not for their benefit (rarely do cats fit in this category) — it’s about pleasing the owner.

$370 million. Sheesh.

#2: It’s the second most decorated holiday in the U.S.

There are people who love Halloween just for that reason. They love the decorations. My sister is one of them. Again — how did this happen? It used to be that carved pumpkins were enough. Or maybe scary stuff like a headless dummy on your lawn. Now it’s lights, fake cobwebs, flags, funny tombstones, giant spiders… and that’s just outside. Now the entire inside of the house is taken over with Halloween decor — some of it not scary, but “fashion.” Do we really need more storage boxes full of Halloween decorations to unpack and pack every year, taking up space beside the Christmas decorations?

I don’t have a statistic on how much money is spent on decorations. Millions, I’d guess.

(By the way, I’m all for Christmas decorations.)

#3. The enormous cost of candy to hand out.

Seriously, I am not a curmudgeon. I have 5 Lovebugs who are rightfully hyped about Halloween and dressing up and getting candy loot. I love to see their costumes.

But I gave up trying to buy enough candy to supply the hundreds of kids (and adults!) who drive in from all over to trick or treat in my neighborhood. I live in a popular easy-to-walk area. I’m not stingy. But even my son and daughter-in-law, who live on my street, thought about giving up on buying enough candy last year. They ran out of dozens of bags. They went to the store and bought more. They still ran out.

73.5% of people in the U.S. hand out candy. Huge grocery aisles are stocked with bags. People load up their carts. These are significant numbers of dollars spent. Meanwhile, candy makers have shrunk the mini-size candy to nothing. So that haul the kids try to make is actually a lot of packaging and the cheapest candy people can buy. Because it’s ridiculously expensive!

And I feel guilty not handing out candy after I’ve run out…

So I don’t stay home any more. I go watch my Lovebugs do trick or treating.

#4. Scary movies. Lots of them. Everywhere. All month long.

I’m not a fan of scary, gory movies. Long ago, when I was alone with a traveling husband and four little boys, I decided real life was scary enough. Once in the middle of the night, I was awakened by a loud noise in our attic. I lay there frozen with fear, waiting to see if there was any other noise — foot steps? Should I call the police (pre-911)? I think it was an hour of silence before I could go back to sleep, feeling like maybe there wasn’t a stranger hiding in my attic. It turned out a clothing bar full of winter stuff had buckled and fallen, knocking over boxes.

I don’t like to be terrified.

I don’t want to watch Saw or Friday the 13th or Paranormal on TV or anywhere. But stuff like that is hard to avoid, it seems to be shown everywhere on TV. Because it’s Halloween! Being scared shitless is supposed to be FUN at Halloween!

Pass. I like to keep my sense of safety and serenity.

#5. Bad costume memories.

I’m not a spoil sport. But here’s the thing — the last time I dressed up for Halloween, it was not my best moment.

It was about 9 (?) years ago. My oldest son, Matt, and his then fiancee had a little family Halloween party at their new condo. Her parents, her sister & little ones, me — and TJ and his new wife.

I came in a cow costume. I love cows. It was really kind of a cute costume. OK, not so much.

TJ came as a wizard and Wife II came as — a sexy witch. And talked non-stop about their thriving social life.

I sat nearly mute, playing with my son’s new puppy. In my cow costume. That party was my social life.

A traumatic Halloween, I must say.

So there you have it. Five pretty legit reasons why I hate Halloween now.

I don’t expect it will change anything. I just had to vent. And if you’re interested in statistics about Halloween, here’s a cool infographic.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go exorcise the memory of that cow costume now…


Photo credit: slazebni on Flickr

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Becky November 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Even though I looovveeee Halloween, I can see why you don’t. Good points, Marci!


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