By Nida Ammar
I’ve seen enough horror movies to know that any weirdo wearing a mask is never friendly.
Elizebeth, Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Returns
It was a quick meeting over coffee when a dear friend asked me, “So, what do you guys do on Halloween?”
“We don’t do Halloween,” was my answer to my now dismayed friend. We are, after all, surrounded by Halloween; in our schools, our stores, our neighborhoods, everywhere. Before I tell you why I don’t do Halloween, let me tell you first how I navigate the season itself.
First of all, where I come from in the Middle East, there is no fall season. Autumn is represented by a sort of squishy weather, neither hot nor cold. It is lottery weather. You dress up warm, you dress up cold, you either got it right or wrong that day and most important of all, no yellow, red, and orange leaves. Most of the trees back there are evergreen: pine or olive. Some percentage of our trees are fruit trees that shed their leaves. However, there is almost non-existent need to rake leaves or use leaf-blowers. You see where I’m going with this? Fall festivals of any kind weren’t a “thing”.
After the great journey here, which occurred just before fall 2016, I found amazing joy in walking on crunchy leaves and jumping in piles; which is something I never got to do before. The smell of the air was so soul-warming I never wanted the fall to end. One
teacup after the other near my window has revived a part of me I never knew existed. I always thought I was a spring person, but in Toledo, it turned out I am a fall person.
Along came Halloween. While my family and I do not celebrate this occasion for many reasons, my biggest one is that I actually get freaked out by the name itself. When I hear the phrase “Halloween” all I can think of is the movie. And on that occasion on October 31st 2016, which I witnessed here for the first time, who do you think was lurking near my window? Someone dressed up as Michael Myers.
No. No, thank you!
We were on our way out and I had stayed behind to get the baby’s stuff. Michael waved at me through the window. Chills running down my spine, I grabbed my baby, locked up and basically ran to the car where my husband, his friend and our daughter were waiting. I think I was completely pale at that point. It was kind of funny, because although I knew this was just a neighbor dressed up in costume, I could not handle it.
The following year, we had a better plan. Halloween? Find a non-related event or just go hide at someone’s place who does not care about it at all. I must say, we do usually participate in providing candy for the school because…you know…who hates candy? I am, however, perfectly content to end my participation in Halloween with that.
And to look at this from another point of view, what’s with the costumes? To me, costumes are just another expense that I would gladly cross off any list. I get the jitters when I walk into store during the fall and the first thing I see are superhero costumes and Disney princess dresses. Why can’t children just enjoy the trick or treating in regular clothes? When my 5-year old tells me we “have to” buy a costume, what does that tell me? Or her?
And the pumpkins. I feel bad when I see a carved pumpkin. Do you know how many containers of delicious yummy soup I can make with just one of them? I cannot carve one, but I sure can turn it into a meal!
Does it HAVE to be scary?
Also, why does Halloween have to be scary? I draw the comparison to a similar trick or treating event that happens in the middle of Ramadan month in Middle Eastern Gulf countries. The children get dressed up in traditional clothes or just their newest fancy outfit, they carry a bag and go door-to-door, singing a nice song with a prayer. Basically, our kids are saying give us candy and may God bless you and give you all you want. They get their candy, go on to knock on the next door and we are left with a nice little thought for the day. No costumes, no Michaels lurking in the dark. Just candy. A simple occasion to make the children happier.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love pumpkin patches, corn mazes and fall festivals, I LOVE THE FALL! But I can not handle Halloween. So, I will enjoy my fall weather, and good luck to you on Halloween night.
To sum up, here are the reasons I do not celebrate Halloween:
- Because I don’t like buying costumes that will get ruined in a few hours and thrown in trash later
- Michael Myers
- I don’t get the connection between candy and scary
- I have a belief that pumpkins were made to be converted into my yummy pumpkin soup, not for carving
- I don’t know how to carve a pumpkin
- Michael Myers
Check out RightSizeLife.com and our calendars for information on how to get the greatest dose of fall, candy and fun this season .
Nida Ammar is the the Communications Lead for CCTRONIC, a design engineering firm focusing on helping farmers and agriculture producers improve their output and efficiency while preserving and respecting the environment. She is also a regular contributor for RSL, including feature articles and providing information for Shoppers on Site. When not writing Nida rides herd on her two kids, one husband and lives in downtown Toledo.