October is the month that I look forward to and at the same time despise.Having come from Colorado I have come to love the time of year when the leaves change colors. Of course, the leaves don’t change here in Orange County until something like December and then it’s only for a week. The leaves change, fall of the tree, and then suddenly there are new green shoots! Then there’s college football but that’s for another blog!
What I have come to really hate about October is how Halloween has become this mega-holiday and I do mean “holiday”. I remember living in Boulder when the outdoor mall was almost shut down because of the annual Mall Crawl on Halloween. People from all over the Front Range would dress up, drink way too much, and cruise up and down the mall acting pretty stupid. That was an indication of where Halloween was headed. I’m talking about adults spending quite a bit of money on costumes every year. It’s become one of the biggest commercial days next to Christmas. Have you noticed just how many temporary costume shops have opened up in empty retail locations?
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s an increasing concern with the sexualization of young girls and adolescents with the “sexy nurse”, “Playboy bunny”… you get the idea. Jessica Samakov who writes for the Huffington Post wrote, “Studies show girls are being fed sexualized identities at younger ages.” She goes on to write that the internet has helped promote the extremifcation of nearly everything in society. If the argument from anyone is, “It’s just one day out of the year so let the girls have fun” I would want to say, at what cost? Turning your little girl into an object of desire for one day, justifying it with “it’s ok to be a slut or a ho for one day” is allowing the thought to be placed in your child’s heart that you only get attention when you dress provocatively. (Read the online article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/sexy-halloween-costumes-for-girls_n_2011943.html)
There are huge identity issues that surround our costumes. I’m not talking about dressing up like a Starbucks cup or a pirate or a ladybug. But watch the bizarre costumes this year. The extremification of how people dress up has bled over into the weird, utterly bizarre and cynical. In many ways, we should expect that Halloween will be a clear picture into the confusion that people have regarding who they really are. And marketers have taken advantage of this shallowness by selling costumes for sometimes hundreds of dollars. It really is a day of dead people trying to make their lives come alive…
I’m certainly not of the opinion that we should boycott Halloween. Nor am I suggesting that it’s wrong for people to have fun costume parties. But since Halloween has become a mega-holiday, let me simply ask some questions. Why do you bristle at the idea that Christmas has become a day of retail rather than a day of reflection? Why do you sense that the real meaning of the day has been hijacked? Even though you love a good deal like anyone, why does Black Friday bother you when you see people trampling over each other when the doors of a Walmart are opened? Now with Halloween… why doesn’t it bother you when the day has become big business? Why doesn’t it bother you when people start using the day to become someone they aren’t? Why doesn’t it bother you when beliefs are being emphasized (and they are being emphasized- just not in the manner than you’re accustomed to) with younger children about what really causes people to notice you?
Feel free to post your thoughts and even disagreements… I would love the dialogue!