From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Don't Let Your Child Be This For Halloween

Oh happy day! The time draws near when parents far and wide send their children gallivanting down the street to beg sweets of strangers and neighbors and strange neighbors. Children everywhere are pre-planning not just the best routes, but the rules and strategies for the post-trick-or-treat candy swap, a process so intricate and nuanced it makes the New York Stock Exchange look tame.

But as adults have learned in recent years thanks to information previously unavailable before the internet, Halloween can be scary. There might be real life monsters out there! Many parents have addressed this issue by sending their child trick-or-treating accompanied by an elite SWAT-trained team of body-guards. While this addresses many of the physical safety concerns, there are still emotional and intellectual risks to keep in mind.

When a child dresses up as someone else, they take upon themselves elements of that character’s persona. By changing their physical appearance, their mentality also goes through a shift. Though subtle, these changes can have a lasting influence on our children’s mental and emotional state. Therefore, we must approach our children’s Halloween costume choices with extreme caution.

Here are a few costume choices you should NOT under ANY circumstances allow your child on Halloween.

Witch. There are many reasons that a witch can be a dangerous costume choice for a young girl. Think of the historical context! Witches are known for their power and independence, not to mention intelligence, and often beauty. Imagine the danger to our society if young girls thought of themselves as intelligent and powerful! And independence? I shudder at the thought. Witches are known to cause change, and challenge the status-quo. Imagine our society if girls were being intelligent and independent and powerful all willy-nilly!

Princess. This is looking at largely the same issue from the opposite angle. We live in the modern age, after all. We’ve made great strides forward from our Puritan ancestors. Remember the old fairy-tales? It seems in all those old stories, the princess did nothing for herself. She was taken by the dragon, remained inactive, than was rescued by the prince. Do we want this lesson taught to our daughters? They must learn to do for themselves! How dare they think they need anyone else’s help for anything, right? And wanting a happily-ever-after with *gasp* a man is not just cliché, but old-fashioned. And nothing old-fashioned can possibly be helpful or useful or good in this modern world.

Superman. Now this is a dangerous one. The mentalities shaped in our childhood form us as we grow, and we must be incredibly careful of the seeds we plant. Imagine teaching our children that they can overcome impossible odds, or defeat evil villains. Imagine allowing our children even for a moment the idea that they could have super-human strength, or fly among the clouds. This would only be setting them up for disappointment! We must teach them to keep their feet on the ground, and heads down. This is the way to avoid pain and hurt. If our children look up, if they try to fly, they could easily crash and burn, and we must ensure them that this is never, ever, EVER, worth the risk.

Policeman. This is a costume and career choice you should help your child avoid if at all possible. Policemen and women put their lives on the line every day for other people, and spend their time putting others’ comfort and safety above their own. This is not good, healthy, prioritized, Number One thinking. I mean, of course we are grateful that these select men and women do this job, so the rest of us can continue looking out for Number One in safety. But if your child wants to be a policeman or woman for Halloween, dissuade them. They might start envisioning themselves making other people their priority.

Zombie. It is not a good idea to portray, let alone acknowledge things that are dangerous, scary, or different from ourselves. Bruce Wayne clothed himself in his worst nightmare to prove to himself that this nightmare wasn't as petrifying and nebulous and unconquerable as he thought, but I say that’s bunk. (Batman is another dangerous idea). We are much better off pretending danger, fear, and difference doesn't exist. That way we decrease our chances of confronting things that are scary or different, because if we don’t see them, they won’t see us. And remember, it’s always Them versus Us. Always. Portraying something scary and “other” may suggest otherwise to your child, and that, of course, is dangerous.

So parents, and all those who care about the rising generation, be careful the tales in which you let your children partake. Those are the true spells every Halloween, and you never know the ways your child will emerge different and changed on the other side.

Sarah Allen

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12 comments:

  1. This was a fun read. Loved your satirical humor.

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    1. Haha, thanks :) This one was fun to write.

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  2. Funny!
    Besides, if your kid dresses as a zombie and the zombie apocalypse happens, how will you know if he's turned or not?

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    1. Thanks! Haha, I hadn't thought of that, but of course!!

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  3. The Superman one was my favorite, lol. Great post.

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  4. I wish costumes were this simple. My daughter wants to dress up as an Enderdragon (from Minecraft) and I've been driving myself crazy building the reticulated wings which she needs for the final effect. I'll be so glad when this Halloween is over!

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  5. Haaaaaahaaaaaaa. I agree, not at all.

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  6. This post had me soooo confused until I got to the policeman one.

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    Replies
    1. Haha :) Oops. Yeah, I was a bit channeling my inner Jonathan Swift on this one.

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