Friday, October 21, 2011

Halloween?

Orange pumpkins lined our neighbor’s porches. Carved and downright scary, the most wasted food on the planet illuminated all the decorations people had so intricately put on their homes for the spookiest day of the year.

Walking home from school I envied these families, envied the kids living in those homes who would don their Halloween best and romp around the neighborhood collecting candy later that evening. For free.

My parents didn’t allow us to celebrate Halloween, said it was the devil’s day, it was evil and . . . I’m not even positive what the full excuse was because I didn’t understand it.

I was mad.

Jealous.

Hurt.

Why did I have to stay home when all my friends were out running around? Why did we lock ourselves up? Why didn’t I get to dress up like a witch or fairy or princess?

Pushing through the front door, I dropped my book bag then went for my room where I remained the rest of the afternoon.

Mom and Dad came home from work and dragged me out to spend time with them, but something was different. They had plastic bags full of things they were talking in hushed whispers over.

Could it be? Had they changed their minds? Would I get to go out this year?

I couldn’t contain my excitement. A smile stretched across my face and I ran up to them and tugged on Mom’s hand. “What’s in the bag?”

“Tracks.”

“Tracks? Like railroad tracks?” I asked, leaning in to get a good look inside the bag.

Dad laughed. “No, like religious tracts. Instead of handing out candy or pretending like we’re not home, we’re going to pass these out.” He dug one out and gave it to me. “This is going to be great.”

No. No this was not going to be great. I may have only been in second grade, but I knew without a doubt how this would go over. We were going to be known as the family who didn’t just hide on Halloween, we were going to become the family who refused to give out candy on Halloween.

“Oh.”

“You can help pass them out.” Dad placed the bag on the entryway table and went about his business for the rest of the evening.

I cried on the inside. Opening that door would give me a glimpse into a world I’d never experience. A pure, simple fun I’d never know. Did they realize how bad this hurt? Did they know they were subjecting me to ridicule at school? Did they care?

The first knock came just as the sun was setting, and I had the pleasure of answering the barrier between me and a fun filled night.

“Trick-or-treat,” cried the eager kids dressed as kittens, ghosts and oh so many things I wanted to be.

Dad opened the bag full tracts then handed them to me, and I frowned while dropping them into the cute little buckets and bed sheets the kids had hoards of candy in.

The kids and their parents scowled.

My heart sank to my stomach.

Slinking back into the house, I allowed my dad to deal with whatever people had to say to him then I sat on the couch and didn’t move the rest of the night. I refused. I wouldn’t ever open the door on Halloween again.

Period.

I don’t think any of the kids even remembered what we passed out—they were too busy comparing candy counts. And I was too busy hating my life to notice if anyone at school ridiculed me.

19 comments:

  1. Second - this story made me feel sad. You know I never celebrated Halloween until I moved to the States so... not for the same reasons as you obviously, I never got to do trick or treat.

    We can do it together now?? :)

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  2. Aw that is sad go out buy yourself a costume and some candy and have fun this Hallowe'en if you still want to.

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  3. This adds some fodder to the argument that kids should be taken from their parents and raised in some kind of creche. There's no way you to avoid letting your belief systems limit your kids' opportunities, in the interest of "raising them right." I probably would have gotten a lot more action* had my parents not implemented the "two feet on the floor, door open" rule when I started inviting girlfriends home. My parents weren't evil or anything; they just wanted to bring me up, as they saw it, "right." It's hard to be mad when you realize they were doing what they thought was right, and that we're just as likely to screw up our own kids in someway. Maybe I would have learned a valuable lesson from handing out tracts at Halloween.
    *On second thought, if I'm honest with myself, I probably would not have gotten more action.

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  4. And the Halloween Pumpkin is saying hello to you my friend! Cheer up!! :) Halloween is fun. Especially the next day when ppl do their walks of shame in their costumes. LOL

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  5. Aw, how sad. =c( At least buy a pumpkin and celebrate FALL!

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  6. I eventually got used to it. We take our kids out now. It's really a great way for the community to get out and get to know one another. Halloween is fun, but I don't need to dress up. I live vicariously through my wonderful children.

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  7. Awww…That was sad Krystal. I was just sad to hear my son's school wasn't having a costume day this year. This puts that into perspective big time. Glad to know from your comments that you are able to enjoy it now.

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  8. Oh no! How sad. I wrote an article in a Christian magazine about the weird Halloween religious boycott some people do. I'm a Christian and it's my favorite holiday! :-) Sorry you weren't able to enjoy the fun of Halloween as a child. Crazy people.

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  9. so sad, but a great read. I love all things Halloween, but my wife, not so much.

    Glad you're getting to enjoy it!

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  10. Agree with last comment, so sad but as always in the writing/reading department you never disappoint. Sorry I've been so quiet lately - life's just been nuts, good and bad:)

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  11. I'm sure glad you take your own kids out now. We're past that phase, but I still dress up for the church Halloween trunk-or-treat. Took a prize two years ago dressed as an old tree. Told people I was "Mother Trees-a". You should dress up too. It'll get most of the hurt out of your system.

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  12. I tried to post on this from my phone the other day and it wouldn't take. I am trying again. I didn't pass up your blog.

    I am really sorry you had that experience and never got to participate in a traditional trick-or-treat. I knew a few people who weren't allowed to participate at Halloween like yourself. I always wanted to break them free for the night so they could run wild with the rest of us. But alas, it never did happen.

    But look, all that has made you the person you are today! A beautiful, amazing woman and mother. :)

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  13. Wow. That bites. Huge. My parents didn't encourage my brothers and I to go around the neighborhood, but they didn't stop us either. Zero effort was given to help us with costumes, so we always looked like hobos or something. Unfortunately, that carried over to my view of it now. I try to compensate for that by helping my boys get cool costumes, but I've never been thrilled about it. I'm working on it though. Thanks for sharing this, Krystal.

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  14. Touching and compelling and an excellent read. :)

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  15. That's really sad. I was never hugely fond of Halloween, but I've never known anyone to be outright denied the chance to just enjoy it like all the other kids, and Ireland had particularly strong Catholic roots when I was growing up.

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  16. Hey, guys! Thanks for all the wonderful comments. Really I was sad then, but it just makes me all that more into it now. My kids love to dress up and run around, and I love to walk with my friends and neighbors. :-)

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  17. I love Halloween, it is actually my favorite holiday. I have a friend that I used to work with, and because of his families religion, they didn't celebrate, no costumes, no trick or treat, no jack o'lantern :-( So the last year he worked there I took a pumpkin, a knife, and a large spoon and told him have fun and be creative. He had a blast!
    I'm glad that you are enjoying it now with your kids.

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  18. I love dressing the kids up, decking the house out and eating all their candy! Hehehe. Yes, I'm evil.

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