Guys, Halloween is Weird.

Halloween! It's almost here! I can't wait to celebrate the birth of... Oh, wait... The freedom of... No, that's not it. Our Irish... Hmm... What are we celebrating again?

Oh, yes. Fear and trickery with a dash of pure evil. My neighbors have already decorated for the season with body parts emerging from the lawn and a headstone that says, "You're next!" I think I am gonna take my kids there first.

I love how one day a year, my children get "to dress their truth" as little monsters and take candy from strangers who display decor that literally screams, "Go back now, before it's too late!" It's so counter-intuitive, it's edgy!

Back in my day, they even used to warn us to have an adult check the candy to make sure it hadn't been tampered with. My parents always seemed to find a few Reese's cups that required confiscation, so, every year I "check" my children's candy, too.

When it comes to costumes, I let my kids pick their own, within reason. I have a hard time, however, working out boundaries when it comes to my kids' costumes. I have had to determine a sort of macabre rating spectrum because my children refuse to dress as pumpkins, firemen, and princesses like wholesome children. So, I'm left asking myself, "does this costume choice fall under mildly concerning, moderately disgusting, severely horrifying, or completely inappropriate?"

My oldest son who used to shriek when he came across a pinecone (Don't worry. He was two.) now is constantly pushing the "completely inappropriate" end of the spectrum with his costume choices. This year, I specified no killer clowns, no rotting zombies, and no murderous monsters. We finally compromised with a plague doctor because what could be a more appropriate Halloween costume than a plague doctor during a pandemic? But he wants to carry a bloody sword to complete his outfit. I told him that plague doctors looked scary, but were actual doctors and to stop making it weird.

My daughter, who sleeps with a nightlight, insists on dressing as a devil this year, so that's nice. And my youngest son, who demands I sit in the hallway when he uses the restroom so monsters don't get him, is dressing as Spiderman. I wouldn't count on him to stick around if an actual bad guy shows up.

I wonder, sometimes, if kids deal with their fears by embracing them. Drawing monsters, dressing as them, telling ghost stories, maybe these are all ways kids cope with their fears. Imagining monsters seems like a good way to put fear into a more concrete, visual form so kids can figure out how to defeat those uncomfortable feelings. I guess that's one benefit of celebrating Halloween; we can all stare our fears in the face and boldly step forward in the name of free candy.

Either that, or I need the number for a good child therapist, cuz my kids are into some freaky stuff.

Have a happy Halloween, everybody!


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