It’s that time of year again. The leaves begin to change color, there is a chill in the air, pumpkin spice lattes abound and you have to start avoiding certain stores when you are out shopping with your young children. You know what I am talking about. In the month of October, stores decide it’s time to scare the living daylights out of little kids while grocery shopping with their moms. In the fall months I have been known to wait until my husband is home to go run errands without the kids. Because, let’s face it, shopping trips aren’t very successful if you are carrying your toddler around with his head buried in your neck and he keeps crying and pointing at the zombie/skeleton/grim reaper thing that surely will “get him” at any moment.
Now I don’t know when this happened. Not to sound like an 80 year old woman, but when I was a kid, Halloween was not filled with such gore and violence. We threw together creative costumes from what was in the house, grabbed our pillow cases and went and looted the neighborhood of all their sweets (because I swear we filled up those entire pillow cases!) I don’t want to blame it on the decoration companies trying to make a buck, but it seems to me that we never did up Halloween the way we do now and they must make a pretty penny now that it has become such an event.
Back in my day (she says in her best elderly lady voice) people didn’t decorate their yards like a murder scene with bloody, upside down impaled bodies (You can read about that disturbing story HERE). There weren’t any costumes for kids that included a mask with a pump that when you pushed it, blood appeared to run down your face. And there certainly weren’t stores that had sensor activated zombies that whispered scary/sweet nothings in your ear when you walked by. I get that this sort of thing is fun for some people, but I am getting a little tired of having to beware of the meat section at my grocery store because a giant inflatable black monster with red glowing eyes and flapping wings may attack my child if I am not careful.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for Halloween fun- I love Jack o’ Lanterns, fog machines and big black trash bag spiders in front yards. And nothing is cuter than a little 4 year girl dressed up as Elsa or Anna. (Wait, do they make other costumes for girls these days?) But when I had to run into the Halloween Super Store and I saw an entire bin of decapitated baby heads, I was truly disgusted. Or how about the gel clings made for windows that look like a bloody smeared hand print? We currently live in a country where people are dying from mass shootings on a regular basis while they are simply at school, the movies or church and yet, we are taking death and murder so lightly as to recreate bloody crime scenes and call them holiday decorations! Somehow that doesn’t seem right. I mean, we are worried about the children who play too many violent video games, that they will become numb, that they won’t understand that guns actually kill people and you don’t really get any extra lives, but yet we are now celebrating violence and gore with an entire holiday?!
So, what should we do? Because I don’t think we can get the companies to stop trying to make money by manufacturing and selling gory Halloween decorations. But what can we do? How can we make a difference? As moms, we can demand better for our kids. Let’s stop complaining to each other about the scary monster in the local grocery store and let’s go tell the manager of the store to take it down. If they want our business, they better know that moms are there shopping with their young, impressionable children and we can just as easily take our business elsewhere.
And honestly, I think we should. I think we should do whatever we need to protect our children from witnessing such scary images. Because even if our children don’t act afraid of the decapitated butler holding his own head on a platter, we are still exposing them to blood and gore with a casualness that frightens me more than the image itself. I, for one, want my kids to know that death is real. Violence has consequences. I don’t want them to ever become desensitized to such things.
But the bottom line is, I just want to be able to shop for my goldfish and juice boxes without my child using the Vulcan death grip on me while we walk by the red eyed monster! Here’s wishing you more successful errands than I have been having lately! Happy (non-violent) Halloween!