By Lisa Van Meeteren
Halloween and I have a somewhat rocky relationship. While there are things I like about it (Halloween candy, bit of a love/hate there really, coming up with Halloween costume ideas for my kids, and putting up Halloween decorations) there are parts of it that I find downright confusing. You see I’m confused because while Halloween is a holiday for children, some of the messages it sends to kids (especially toddlers) are crazy messed up in my opinion and pretty much negate all the parental lessons I’ve tried to instill. Read on to see if you agree….
Photo via: SheKnows
Parental Lesson #1: Candy is bad for you so you shouldn’t eat too much at one time.
Halloween Lesson: Fill up a bag with enough junk food to feed a third world country and then spend the rest of the year begging your parents to eat it.
When my kids were toddlers they thought raisins were candy. That is one “trick” that was blasted by Halloween. For the entire month following Halloween they are so hyped up on chocolate that I could probably plug them in and run all of our electronics.
Parental Lesson #2: Don’t take candy from strangers.
Halloween Lesson: Go out in the dark and knock on as many strangers’ doors as you can.
Do I have to say anything else here? Whatever happened to stranger danger? I tell my kids to stay off of other people’s properties and not to approach strangers. I also teach them that if something looks or feels suspicious it probably is…and on Halloween I’m saying, “Run up to that house with the statue with a knife sticking out of its head and ring that bell, honey!”
Parental Lesson #3: Do not watch scary TV shows because it will give you nightmares.
Halloween Lesson: Let’s see as many freaky things as we possibly can and reassure you that it’s okay.
I work hard year round to make sure that the shows my kids watch on television are appropriate and was especially vigilant about this when they were little. I made sure they were exposed to shows and images full of rainbows, love and sunshine so they wouldn’t have nightmares. Then on Halloween night I walk my children past Halloween decorations that consist of severed heads, and skeletons with their eyes popping out, soothing them by saying things like, “Oh, look at the funny guy!” When what I really should be saying is, “Children, if you see a guy with a knife sticking out of his head in real life, you run like Forest Gump on Jolt Cola and don’t look back.”
Parental Lesson #4 It’s not nice to play tricks on people.
Halloween Lesson: Yell trick or treat and watch adults play tricks on innocent toddlers!
Kids love to play tricks on people and as a parent is it my job to tell them not to, that it’s simply not nice. So enter Halloween, where adults are constantly playing tricks on kids. There is always one guy on the street who didn’t get to live out his childhood fantasies or who shares a sense of humour with your five year old and can’t wait for Halloween to express himself. Usually this person gets dressed up like a stuffed scary dude staying creepily still until your child nears the door and then jumps out at them. This “trick” nearly put me in therapy when I was six.
So that’s it. The ways Halloween contradicts everything I’ve taught my kids so far. But here is another contradiction…I still like it. I still think is a time to get together with the neighbours, let your kids have fun and overindulge, and I guess since it’s a holiday then that part makes perfect sense.
What do you think? Do you agree? Do you think Halloween is confusing for toddlers? Do you have any experiences, kid Halloween movies, or healthy Halloween treats to share?
About the Author
Lisa Van Meeteren is the mother of two children, ages 5 and 9. She works as a copywriter and has just completed a novel!