What I know about Halloween is that it is a pagan celebration of death with Irish origins and that it became hugely popular in most countries. I do know what it means to the majority of people but I don’t want to get into the meaning of it. Because what it means to children it’s an entirely different story.
My nearly three-year-old heard a children’s song about Halloween earlier this year and started asking what it was. The song was about dressing up, bats, spiders and candy. He asked about it and I told him it’s a holiday and people wear scary masks or costumes and go door to door to ask for candy. I also said I didn’t like this holiday. He absolutely loved the idea and thought I wasn’t brave enough for it. He explained to me that monsters and ghosts only exist in books and that almost all of them are friendly and funny. (We have previously read a book at the library about a ghost who wanted to play but could only play hide-and-seek.) So my little boy wanted to prove to me that there was nothing wrong with Halloween and that he would be a friendly ghost when the time came. This happened in June.
Since then, he kept asking every week if it was Halloween yet, to make sure he didn’t miss it. I didn’t have the heart to let it pass and not tell him about it. When I found a very small town children’s fair, I asked him if he wanted to go. He was so excited about it! “I’ll bring the face-paint!”, he said. I asked him if he wanted to be a dinosaur or a lizard or a shark, or other animal he loved. “Friendly Ghost! Remember, mama? I said I wanted to be a friendly ghost!” He had me look up pictures and he picked the happiest one. He was over the moon when he saw the result. “Perfect! Now I need something white!” Daddy brought a t-shirt and we were ready to go. At the fair he got a spider balloon, danced with other children and got an ice cream. This was one of the happiest days for him. Now, was this wrong? Did he celebrate the true meaning of Halloween? Should I have said no to all this? Was it pagan joy? I think Halloween has the meaning and the power we give it. To my kid it’s just dressing up and getting ice cream. He even asked why people say Happy Halloween. Is Halloween ever sad?
Not to you, baby!
To you, Halloween is always happy!