Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Halloween and Survival Mindset

“You know what Halloween is really all about, right?”.  I had been on the phone with my friend for almost an hour by the time Halloween came up.
“It used to be a pagan celebration involving human sacrifices…”.  Ever heard that one? That is just one of the many stories that explain why you shouldn’t like Halloween. Other’s have given me other reasons. One person told me it teaches kids to threaten adults and use extortion. Someone else said that its against Christian teachings, even though its not according to Catholics, many Catholics schools do Halloween parties and costume events. There´s the ever popular “it’s a scam by the candy companies, just like Easter”. I’ve read articles of people turning off their lights and hiding in the shadows pretending not to be home, trembling in fear as they struggle to keep silent as evil, candy hungry monsters knock on their doors demanding trick… or treat!!! Ahh! Run for your lives! A 6 year old dressed up like Woody from Toy Story is demanding 5 cents worth of candy!!

 In spite of all these evil conspiracies to go back to human sacrifice or worse, being tricked into spending 10 Usd worth of sweets to give away, I have to confess something:  we’re pretty happy about Halloween ourselves.
You see, this Halloween is very special for us. It’s the first time my kids ever get to have one, and the last time I did it was almost three decades ago in Massachusetts. Why didn’t we have Halloween in Argentina?  After all, South Americans do copy everything they see on TV coming from US, but Halloween in particular presents a couple unsolvable practical problems. First, Halloween or not its just too dangerous a place to walk around at night with your kids. Second, its just too dangerous to open your door to complete strangers, no one with an ounce of common sense would do it and risk a gun being shoved in their face. 

As  it usually goes, people do take these things for granted, and maybe that’s why I’m so excited about it while others seem to be bothered by it. Instead of seeing it as a negative thing, at least us, we appreciate all the positive things we see involving Halloween. Let me list just a few:

1)Halloween means family time. Preparing the scary props, designing and carving pumpkins, choosing and putting together the costumes gives you lots of time to talk about anything and everything with your family.

2)Carving pumpkins is a good opportunity for an older child to practice using a knife for carving in a medium that isn’t as hard and therefore, as challenging and dangerous. 

3)It’s a good time to teach kids about being frugal and cooking, using as much pumpkin as possible for cooking instead of just throwing away.

4)Choosing the pumpkin itself may be a plan of its own. Going to a farm to choose one, maybe make a picnic trip out of it. Great excuse to again, spend time together.

5)Halloween might be one of the best moments to talk with the neighbors you don’t know that well, and reinforce the bonds with those you do know, especially among the kids. Getting to know the people in your community in a relaxed atmosphere is a fantastic idea.

6) it’s a good time to teach your kids about being polite, saying thank you and being generous yourselves with others.

7) A child gets to learn about self-control, as in not eating all your candy that same day.

8) Combined with other outdoor activity, it’s a great excuse to gather around a camp fire telling scary stories and while you’re at it practice fire making and other bushcraft skill (I’ll try to make it Dave!)

Do I sound excited? I guess I am. Its just that I find it amazing how people take for granted certain things that aren’t as common elsewhere in the world.
Take care everyone and appreciate what you have!



DougFromOz said...

What good points! It shows what a vast difference to your life it makes to be so safe.
Oh and see if you can find a recipe for pumpkin scones, very popular Aussie dessert!

Anonymous said...

What is scarier than Halloween to many of us is the re-election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. What do think? Was it was a fair election? What will happen to the middle class that remains in Venezuela?

KeithC said...

Fernando, this might be my favorite of all your posts. Enjoy it, my friend.

I used to make people laugh at my "paranoia" when I observed this is the one day out of the year when no one thinks anything of opening their door in the dark of night to a stranger with a mask over their face. I laugh, too... but I still open the door with one hand on the Glock beneath my shirt. :D


Anonymous said...

in our city most people don't take their kids door to door any more for trick or treating, they either take them to a Halloween party where there are a bunch of other kids and they do games and stuff, or they take them only to homes of people that they know for trick or treating. Kind of a safer compromise instead of stopping Halloween entirely.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes it really is good just to count your blessings. Well said.

Anne Ollamha said...

I do regard Halloween as being a pagan celebration, in origin. However, it is a good occasion to help a child deal with fearful things.

Is your child afraid of monsters? Let him be the monster and become empowered. Do clowns freak her out? Let her be the clown and become empowered.

The process of making costumes together helps a child understand that there are explanations for everything, and it helps to lessen fear.

Brass said...


I'm happy for you! I hope your kids enjoy Halloween as much as it sounds like you will!

I'm really pleased that you've made it to a much safer country.

Interesting to hear that Halloween is so prevalent in Ireland. I realize that they're very different cultures, but I had heard that Halloween wasn't very big in Britain, so I assumed that it wasn't anywhere in the whole island cluster.

Fern said...

FerFAL, now that you're in Ireland you're where Samhain (the distant root of modern Halloween) originated. It was the time for honoring one's ancestors, held just after the final harvest and culling of the animals for winter. Pretty prosaic stuff.