Not bad for a fat girl

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Halloweens, Long Ago and Far Away

I really love Halloween. Not the scary stuff, but the fun stuff. The jack-o-lanterns and the dressing up and the trick-or-treating are all wonderful. I’ve always loved Halloween. As a kid with a big imagination and a sweet tooth, why wouldn’t I? I got to dress up and fill a bag full of candy from all over the neighborhood. What could be better?

I have no idea when I first started to dress up for Halloween. We don’t have pictures of Halloween past that I’m aware of. There are dozens of close up shots of flowers, but no little kids in costumes. Go figure. Still, I know I trick or treated as a kid.

The first costume I recall included one of those awful plastic masks that were hard to see out of and hard to breathe through. It was a woman’s face with blonde hair. I think it was Sleeping Beauty or Goldilocks, but I can’t be sure. Either seems like an odd choice for me, but I imagine it’s what was available at the store at the time.

My mother isn’t exactly what you’d call creative. My brother and I took care of our own costumes for the most part. I seem to recall that he was a hobo more than once. He did create a rather impressive robot out of odds and ends one year that left a lasting impression on me.

My costumes weren’t always the best, and honestly I don’t think the neighbors had any clue what I was dressed as half the time. That’s okay, since most of us had to wear our winter coats over our costumes anyway. I never had a great costume as a kid. Charlie Chaplin with his colored scotch tape mustache was kind of a bust. I didn’t give up though, not until the final year, in high school, when I pinned some ears on a grey sweatshirt and used eye pencil to draw on whiskers. DSC00553So lame, but at least I didn’t go alone!

When my son came along I swore his Halloweens would be memorable. For his first Halloween I sewed him the most adorable pumpkin costume, but it turned out way too big. At the last minute I put him in white pajamas and stuck on a cute little puppy bib and called it done. He was darling.

At two he wore the pumpkin costume, and it was perfect! When he was three I sewed him a lion costume that was equally charming. I practically swooned when I saw him in it. Then, at four, he decided that he had to be Batman. A small part of me died inside, but he was happy.

At five he “spotted” a cute leopard costume, and I had to admit that I couldn’t have made it myself for the same price, so it was store bought again. Then there was a Power Ranger costume, and a Ninja, and who knows what else, until he decided to put together his own costumes.

One year it was Darth Mullett… a hillbilly version of the terrifying Darth Maul from one of the newer Star Wars movies that I don’t like. DSC01972He donned red and black face paint and a wig, and he looked pretty bizarro. He was happy. Another year he was a creepy pumpkin patch guy. He made a pumpkin mask, then borrowed a fall leaf garland that he wrapped around himself. He looked pretty awesome.

My son is too old to trick or treat now, and Halloween has lost some of its magic for him, but I still love it. I enjoy being outside and watching the neighborhood come to life. I love to see the little ones experience it for the first time, and to joke around with the teenagers who are trying to stuff their pillowcases with free candy and hang on to their childhoods.

I think back to all those freezing cold Halloween nights from my childhood, and I wouldn’t change a thing.


Where Do I Even Begin?

8C9532816-2417481-halloween-letter.blocks_desktop_mediumNo doubt many of you have already seen this little gem by now and have formed your own opinions about it. My first reaction? You have got to be kidding me. My next reaction involved some choice words that I prefer to keep out of print for now.

I think the story goes something like this: a woman in the midwest wants to do her civic duty by proclaiming her neighbors’ children obese and giving them notes to that effect instead of candy on Halloween night. The notes not only explain what a wonderful service she is doing them, but go on to suggest that the parents ration the candy the children happen to accumulate from the disappointing neighbors who might stoop to give them any.

Jeez, talk about fat shaming. This is fat shaming and parent shaming and just plain old nastiness all rolled into one self-serving holier-than-thou pile of crap. Let’s face it, this note is just plain mean.

Here’s the deal, I’m usually a pretty open minded individual. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I generally try to convince myself that people have others’ best interests at heart. In this case I just don’t see it.

If you think giving candy to some kids and mean spirited notes to others is somehow going to improve their health, you’re out of your mind. You’re worried about childhood obesity? Don’t give out candy. Better yet, don’t give out anything. Turn off your light and stay away from the windows. Your neighbors will probably thank you. Especially those with the chubby children who you will target with your ill conceived notes.

Notes which, by the way, you apparently spent considerable time on, including a cute graphic.  Which makes me wonder if this is even real. Who shared this with the world? Halloween hasn’t happened yet. Is someone pulling the wool over our eyes? Are we being pranked?

I hope so , because you don’t know every child’s story. You don’t know every family’s story. Neither do I. If they’re letting their kids trick-or-treat that’s their business. If you don’t want to participate,  don’t. You don’t get to pick and choose which kids get a treat and which kids don’t. If you don’t have something nice to say, say nothing. Sit this one out and admit that maybe you’re not the expert on everything. You want to help kids? Help your community? Fantastic. This is not the way to do it.