The Post in Which I Am Grumpy

October 31st, 2011 § 4 comments

Call me Scrooge. Or should it be Ghoulge? I hate Halloween.

We belong to a Conservative synagogue, and some members don’t celebrate Halloween. Oh, sure, they’ll pass out candy to those who ring their door bell. But no dressing up, no going out, no decorations, no frights.

Sometimes I wish we were a more religious family. Like at Halloween. Okay, only at Halloween.

I’ve discussed this before. Costumes traumatize me. Figuring them out. All those parts. Getting them to stay on. Having them be weather appropriate. (“But I don’t want to wear a jacket over it!”) For one stupid night. Too much candy. Kids coming to the door. Little kids are okay, but they get to a certain age where they just get pushy. All those grabby hands. Yes, I said. It may not be the popular opinion but I don’t like trick or treaters. I don’t like costumes. I don’t like Halloween. I do not like it in a box; I do not like it with a fox. I do not like Halloween!

Trick or treating wasn’t even that enjoyable for me as a kid. Oh, don’t get me wrong; I loved the candy. But I hated having to go door to door to ask for it. This, perhaps, is why I hate doing solicitations today. Whenever there’s a fundraiser–at the school, the synagogue, wherever–I say, “I will do manual labor. I will write for you. I will make out a check. But I will do no cold calling, no asking for items for auctions, no looking for donations.” This is what trick or treating is. Soliciting for donations.

Having candy in the house is dangerous for me. I’ve taken to buying our Halloween candy on the day of Halloween. But apparently even that is too late for me, given the trail of Heath Bar wrappers leading from the bag to my computer. I’ve tried buying candy I don’t like, but that doesn’t work, as clearly there is no candy I don’t like.

In past years we’ve had the Switch Witch come to our house. The kids get to fill their candy jars with candy to eat as Shabbat Treats throughout the year, and then they leave the rest for the Switch Witch who exchanges the rest for a small toy. You have to arrange for the Switch Witch to come. Not everyone wants her, so she doesn’t go to everyone’s house. She began coming here in 2006, when Doodles was 3 and Pie was 1. This year, I wanted to try something else.

Me: I want to talk to you about something important. I was thinking, maybe this year we could do something different with the Halloween candy. I know of a mitzvah we can do. [A mitzvah is literally “a commandment” but colloquially “a good deed.”]
Pie: What?
Doodles: Huh!
Me: Well, the Switch Witch generally leaves you a cheap toy, and who knows what she does with her candy. But I was thinking, there are people who actually want this candy. What if instead, I let you each go to Toys R Us and pick out a toy that you actually want, and then we could give your candy to someone who might really appreciate it. Did you know that a 5th grader is collecting some candy to send to Guatemala?
Pie: Why is she sending it to Guatemala?
Me: Uh… Huh. I don’t know. Is there no candy in Guatemala? Yeah, why Guatemala?
Doodles: Duh. Because it’s in Africa and there’s no candy in parts of Africa.
Me: Not quite. Guatemala is in Central America.
Doodles: Oh.
Me: Anyway, I was thinking we could give a few pieces to her for Guatemala and then take the rest and send it to a place that sends it to soldiers who are in Afghanistan. The soldiers don’t have access to things like candy and it would be a real mitzvah.
Pie: That’s a great idea!
Doodles: No, it’s not. I want the Switch Witch.
Pie: I want to do a mitzvah!
Doodles: You know, I don’t think Halloween is really the time to be doing mitzvot.
Me: It’s always time to do mitzvot. But if you’d still like the Switch Witch to come, she can come.
Pie: No, I want to do the mitzvah!
Me: Well, she can come just for the boy.
Doodles: How do you do that?
Me: She’s got a hotline parents call. You just tell her where to go and with whom to exchange treats. I can have her just come to you.
Doodles: Oh. All right. I can skip the Switch Witch.
I really didn’t mean to upset him. I feel like the Grinch Who Stole Halloween.

Meanwhile, my daughter is putting on her Cleopatra outfit, which is a white sleeveless dress. We live outside of Boston. Did you know that we had a Nor’Easter on Saturday night?
Me: Don’t you want to put a shirt under that, so you won’t be cold?
Pie: No.
Me: You’ll be cold.
Pie: I’ll wear a jacket.
Me: How will you get a jacket over that?
Pie: Oh! Well, I guess I’ll just have to be cold!
Me: If that’s what you want.
Pie: Yeah, I’ll just be cold.
Me: Okay, you’re a big girl. If that’s what you decide, then I’m okay with that.
Pie: Yep. And if you have to hear me complain, then you’ll just have to hear me complain!
I feel like she’s missing the point.

The freakin’ candy corn is calling my name and I can’t stop eating it although I’m not hungry, having already consumed the night’s Mummy Dogs and drinks with wormy ice cubs.

Halloween. Someday I’ll get to be that crotchety old woman, who just yells at the kids to get the freak off her front porch. For now, I’ll just be the crotchety middle aged woman handing out treats. Happy freakin’ Halloween.

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§ 4 Responses to The Post in Which I Am Grumpy"

  • Angela says:

    Oh my goodness . . .that was freakin’ hilarious. Jenny, even when you’re grumpy you crack me up ;o)

    My daughter was having a hairy canary about having to wear her winter coat under her ladybug costume, lol.

    Oh, and I’m pretty sure one of the best things about Halloween is candy corn–but only the good stuff (Brach’s). :o)

  • Jenny says:

    Totally! (About the candy corn, I mean.) A friend recently discovered candy corn (how is that possible? Can we blame it on the fact that she’s Canadian?) and I warned her away from store-brand candy corn. It’s a travesty.

    The door is locked. The lights are off. I can put this wretched holiday out of my mind for the next year. Now, to keep away from that candy…

  • carol says:

    You reminded your father we should have some candy to give out. We never have candy to give out–we live in an apartment on Miami Beach with a security guard–who’s going to ring our bell? Peter called to remind me to get candy. Actually there’s a family with 2 kids just down the hall even though they’ve never rung the bell. I considered cash but then I dutifully ran to Walgreens and picked up a bag of Milky Ways. By 10 pm, since we didn’t have a single bell ringer, I hit the Milky Ways. YOUR DAUGHTER ALSO HATES HALLOWEEN.

  • Jenny says:

    Oh dear lord, was that a Freudian slip? Do I really remind you of your mother? I think you meant my MOTHER hates Halloween… 🙂

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