The End of the Halloween Grinch?

30 10 2012

I hate Halloween.

I make no secret of it. My kids all know this about me, and they tolerate it well enough.

(That is, if when I say “tolerate,” you think of whining about Halloween decorations, begging for Halloween decorations, and finally making their own Halloween decorations. What is with Halloween decorations? I ask you.)

There are some things about Halloween that I like. Parts of it.

Pumpkin carving. Dressing up. (I’m trying to go with the rule of three here, but I can’t think of anything else.)

There are (and always will be) things about Halloween I dislike. Most of it.

Creepy masks. Any decorations involving guts, gore, and dismembered body parts. Adults who use the holiday to dress up like hookers. Razor blades in apples. (Okay, that’s probably an urban legend.) Having to spend money on candy. Policing the candy intake. (Who am I kidding? I usually let them eat it all in one night so I don’t have to deal with it.) Sugary things that I should know better not to eat but which I eat anyway, which in turn make me feel crummy.

(I’m starting to think the title of this post is a misnomer. I guess that means I need to hurry up and get to the part where I *stop* being grinchy.)

We carved pumpkins last night.

After some arguing about who got the biggest pumpkin (and some threatening that we wouldn’t do it at all if we couldn’t just get along), Rainbow knocked hers out in about an hour. And then, in a fitting tribute to her current love of playing babies (the day after her infusion last week, I found her in her room with about ten baby dolls lined up, receiving their own infusions), she made a baby pumpkin to match.

Eden, of the high-expectation-perfectionist school, cried and stabbed and carved and cried some more as her Frankenstein pumpkin took over two hours to emerge from the gourd. It’s hard being an artist.

Zack won the I-get-the-biggest-pumpkin battle. That means he also won the-pumpkin-with-the-thickest-rind contest. He sawed and jawed and only had a vague idea of what he wanted when he started–so he was, of course, pleased with how well it turned out.

I ended up carving the creepiest-looking pumpkin I’ve ever made personally. Colby chose the face for his from three options. He remembered about “opening” the pumpkins and putting candles inside. “Happy pumpkin,” he said. (When he looked at Zack’s pumpkin, he said, “Oh, it’s crying.” Close enough.)

Of course, when I woke up this morning to this:

I had to remind myself that pumpkin carving is one of the parts of Halloween that I actually like. (And I also had to remind myself that I truly shouldn’t go to bed until the kitchen is clean.)

I went to the store to get candy while the kids were at school yesterday. I found myself thinking, “I can’t believe I just spent $30 on candy!” And then, after paying another $20 for pumpkins which, apparently, weren’t big enough, I started getting a little bit grouchy again. Add another $20 or $30 on for costume supplies (and that’s actually pretty cheap for five people), and I spent nearly $100 on Halloween this year! (Or $70. It just doesn’t sound as impressive, though.)

However, when I hurriedly read (skimmed) the newspapers we were lining the floor with, I found this interesting tidbit in USA Today: “The National Retail Federation estimated that Americans spent $6.86 billion last year on Halloween, double what was spent in 2005.” (Emphasis added. You know, for emphasis.)

In six years, the retail value of Halloween in America has doubled.

What does that say to you? Especially in light of the economic conditions of the past several years?

That people are more willing to spend money on this goofy, gory, secular holiday instead of voting to replace the high school built in the 50’s that has a roof that leaks every time it rains?

Newsflash: I live in Washington. It rains a lot.

(Hopefully, the bond for the new high school will pass. But it didn’t last time it was on the ballot.)

I guess I get a little fed up with people complaining about how hard times are that they can’t support the schools in their community, and then they turn around and spend $6.86 billion on stuff like fake graves for their yards.

Oh, right. That’ll last.

Okay, okay. [Stepping off soapbox.] I’m a Halloween grinch, and I’m also cheap. That’s no surprise.

But here is a surprise: I made some Halloween decorations.

I know, right? Wonders never cease.

All it took was a couple of packages of tissue paper from the dollar store (which I already had), some scissors, and some tape.

Viola! See, I’m not a complete grinch!

And it looks even better at night:

Have a happy and safe Halloween, everyone!