Halloween: Pretty Much The Poster Night For Bad Parenting.
Aaaaand, we’re back.
Everything’s back to normal.
Trust me — this is not a good thing.
If you’ve been reading this blog for over a year now (and if you have, wow. Thank you. Sincerely.), you’re probably aware of the fact that I usually face Halloween with a certain amount of trepidation — and not for fear of creepy costumes or scary decorations or eerie soundtracks, but for the future of America.
Last year, however, I had hope. I had hope for the future because of this story (which you really should read).
See, I usually spend the evening perched on my neighbor’s front porch, hiding my alcoholic beverage behind the rails (this year it was mulled cider spiked with Southern Comfort), oohing and aahhing at the adorableness of the tiny people.
A miniature peacock hugged me. Hugged me — the Halloween Grinch. And, just for a while, she melted this icy cold heart of mine.
But then it started happening. The scary stuff. The stuff that makes me fear for our future and wonder — what the hell happened to my generation?
I see it. I see it more and more every year and it haunts me. Parents drive down the darkened streets in minivans — minivans! — and drop their kids door-to-door, many of whom haven’t even bothered to don costumes. They don’t say, trick-or-treat!, and they certainly don’t say thank you.
I mean, not to sound like the crusty old man on the front porch rocker, but hey — I grew up in Minnesota. My costume was usually hidden beneath a behemoth layer of long johns, snow pants, sweater, jacket, scarf, mittens, and hat, but dammit, it was there.
AND I walked.
In the snow.
Some of my favorite foggy memories are those of my dad letting go of my bemittened hand so I could run up a sidewalk, yell trick-or-treat with the utmost enthusiasm, graciously thank my benefactor, and reach back for his waiting hand while assessing my latest haul.
If his hand had been, instead, the cold metal handle of the wood-paneled Dodge caravan — his proud smile and flushed cheeks just the back of a headrest and impatient sigh — the memory wouldn’t be special.
It probably wouldn’t even exist.
Don’t you get that, parents?
You are turning every special moment — every chance to bond with your children and your neighbors — into a chore you just need to get through. If you can just check this one thing off the list, you can move to the next.
It’s no wonder we see less and less porch lights every year.
It’s no wonder we see more and more fat, lazy, ungracious children.
You are raising greedy, rude, impatient snobs.
Yep. I said it.
No costumes necessary, I guess. The monster’s already there.
I know. I’m opening myself up to a bit of a backlash, here. But I guarantee you — the only people who might get mad or defensive at what I’ve had to say are the exact people to whom this applies.
Of course there are exceptions — illness, disabilities, houses are really far apart in the country, no money for costumes, etc. But the rest of you? Don’t you remember? Don’t you remember what it was like when your parents just took time? Or when you wished they would just take time? When the night was special and it was just for you? When you saw their smiles and sensed their joy when, just for a night, they let the scheduled task list fall by the wayside so you could have fun? Real fun?
Who hasn’t seen this photo of the wheelchair costume floating around social media? Why do you think it made so many people smile? I’ll give you a hint: It’s not just because the kid is adorable. It’s not just because his costume kicks ass. It’s because a loving parent took the time to make it for him. The same parent who likely walked with him, from house to house, to fill his jack-o-lantern with goodies. The same parent who probably taught him to say, “trick-or-treat.” The same parent who probably taught him to say, “thank you.” The same parent who probably taught him — and still teaches him — that you have to work for the things you want in this world.
Even though I didn’t see any Central American Revolutionary Fighters this year, there were still some who tried. The younger ones who toddled from house to house or were pushed in strollers and the older ones who ran, elated, across yards and through artificial fog doing their very best impersonations of Superman himself — who yelled and leapt and smiled and took joy in the night — those are the ones who still give me hope.
Who still have a shot at learning how to just be.
Who don’t have to just get.
Who won’t, necessarily, grow up feeling entitled.
Those are the ones who get extra candy. And who probably will, for the rest of their lives, while the others just sit, do nothing, receive nothing, and then wonder why.
I don’t get trick-or-treaters because I live in an apartment. It makes me sad. I didn’t know this was the route things were taking though. We never had money for costumes when I was a kid, so Halloween was always whatever we could put together from our parents’ clothes and my dad’s watercolour paints. I was pretty much always some thing dressed in black with a white face. Sometimes that was a vampire. Sometimes a mime. Whatever.
Aw, really? I would think apartment trick-or-treating would be ideal because everything’s so compact. Of course, we didn’t get ’em in our very first apartment because it was fairly ghetto and people were afraid to knock on each others’ doors, but I always thought nicer complexes participated.
Anyway. At least you tried as a kid. And that’s the point! One year I wore old clothes, painted a beard, and went as a hobo. You don’t have to spend money. It’s just more the magic of dressing different, of shouting “Trick-or-treat!” and of running wild through the night. I don’t know. Driving? No thank-you’s? It’s a chore. And disheartening. Thank God for tiny peacocks. :)
All I can say is I look forward every year to watching my son dress up and run door to door yelling trick or treat. And every year he adds more doors which of course adds to the amount of “adult beverages” I put in the wagon!! This is the night to freeze your butt off, stay up late and eat lots of candy. To toss out the routine and just have fun! To see the smile on their faces when they dump out their bag of candy and see what they got. It is just plain sad that there are parents out that don’t take the time. As I left our neighborhood last night I was saddened to see the amount of cars pulling in to drive their children around. I’m sure these are the same parents who allow their children to sit and play video games for upteen hours at a time. Who allow their children to eat what they want, when they want. Hey parents…your children WILL end up resenting your for this. Just sayin!
Exactly! I mean, I would think that would be one of the best things about being a parent on Halloween — taking your cute kid around, on foot, walking them to the homes of your neighbors to exchange some nice words and listen as people ooh and ahh over the adorableness of your kid, and then move on to the next house. It’s a bonding experience as well as a teaching opportunity!
Iron man asked me to squeeze his giant muscles on his arm last night :) AND he didn’t even get into a minivan when he left my yard. He got an extra snickers.
Ha, SO cute! (I hope Iron Man was a kid and not a parent.) ;)
Hey, read your other halloween post and this one. Thoughts:
-I’m okay with the preteen and teenaged seemingly ungrateful trick or treater-as long as they’ve dressed up. Those are some weird times for a kid. Between adulthood and childhood. Still wanting to be a kid but fit in with the older folks.
-I’m okay with little kids without costumes. Its not their fault their parents’ suck.
-I’m obviously okay with adorable snugglykids begging for goods. Cuz I’ve made a couple.
-I’m NOT okay with teenaged/preteened trick or treaters without costumes. At least try. Make up some bullshit costume in your dirty laundry and call it a day. I don’t care if it is an ACU top and jeans-if you’re trying, I’m buying. Those older kids with costumes are lame and I mean mugged a trio of girls who thought they were too cool.
-I’m NOT okay with trick or treating in smutty costumes. I do not slut shame and have no trouble with slutty costumes but if you’re begging door to door in some “sexy santa claus” costume you’re missing the point. Sorry teenaged girls, you lose this round. I know its a hard field to maneuver but get it together I WILL give your costumed younger cousin more candy.
-I’m NOT okay with scary costumes following me around just because my little one is frightened. Dude, I get it, you’re a zombie. You scared my kids, now go away. Go get your candy and Leave us alone.
-Vans of kids pulling through multiple neighborhoods. You’re neighborhood doesn’t have trick or treating? Cool. Find a friend! Or even, drive into my neighborhood and park. But don’t be going to ten billion neighborhoods rolling down the street with your van door open.
– Lastly, I’m NOT okay with the old man who came to the door of toddlers and told us he doesn’t do “trick or treating.” You just made a neighborhood enemy.
I love Halloween and I’ll give most trick or treaters the benefit of the doubt. But you’re right, you can spot parenting fails a mile away.
TLDR- I HAVE OPINIONS.
Well, looks like we’re in agreement! (So yeah – your opinions are “right.” lol) :)
As a parent I agree whole heartedly with you. Luckily we live in a city where almost every porch light is on in the neighborhood we go in to, we live in the country. We join about 3-5 other families on a porch stoop at ones house, load up the wagon with drinks(adults and children)s,grab hands and off we go. The neighborhoods here are flooded with kids and parents, older siblings taking younger ones. For the most part here in Mayberry (WaunakeeWi) it is what I somewhat remember as a child. Kids in general now days are lazy, disrespectful and unappreciative. I as a parent wil not allow my children to be that way, and by all means I AM NOT the perfect parent. But society today is disposable…give a kid everything we didn’t have and they will flourish…bullshit…give them less and make them earn…did’nt hurt us a damn bit….
Ungreatful , disrespectful, lazy children are a pet peeve of mine. Ungreatful, expecting, disrespective parents who have no time to slow down and enjoy their kids…create them. It is the ME generation…lord I could keep going….
So true! I know it’s a big leap to imply that not walking around with your kids on Halloween will cause them to grow into whiny, entitled adults, but I don’t think it’s *that* big of a leap. The laziness in some parents just happens to be highlighted on this night. And it just makes me sad. Your kids are lucky to have you as a mom. :)
I don’t think it is that big of a leap. As a child we never went on huge Disney vacations or even jad store bought costumes. My mom made them or got at goodwill. Borrowed from friends ect…It’s nothing for a child now to have all the techno gadgets the want, and mom and dad too.. they live on them. We live on ours. But if I can’t set MY life aside for the “little” things then I shouldnt have had them. The little things are what we remember and to a child they are big and mold us into what we are. Sitting at the table forr meals, trick or treating together, ice cream cones on sundays for lunch. Had my parents dropped me off at the mall t
It cut me off…lol. Seriously tho…it’s those little things that our society has set aside. Makes me very sad. With a 6 and 4 yr old all I can do is guide and nurture their beings. Teach them to be respectful and to respect themselves. To help when they can and to be nonjudgemental. And to simply jist make time for them. They were sweating bullets running crazy last noght for 2 hours….mean while I was bundled to high hell, freezing my ever loving feet and figures off.. thawed about 2 hrs after arrival home…and I can say the smiles on their faces and their friends was so woth it
*fingers….if I could freeze my figure off…I would have stayed out longer…darn phone :0)
Stop drinking and texting! ;)
Without going all fanboy on you, this article needs to be published in every major city. This country is generating more and more entitled jerks who think that if you don’t accept their lack of effort, and often asinine/rude behavior, then YOU’RE the problem; that if you have a problem with their children being raised as greedy, lazy, selfish arseholes who only give a damn about you if they can get something from you without compensatory effort, then you should “move to Russia, communist”. I too fear for the fate of humanity.
Um… know any publishers? I will happily remove this from my blog with an acceptable syndication deal. ;)
That’s the thing – there’s a fine line between “compassion” for those who need help and “enabling” those who don’t. Some of these parents are just setting their kids up to be the latter…
You. Go. Girl.
There are still people who participate wholeheartedly in Halloween! I spent the night with my two nieces, both in costumes, and went trick-or-treating in their neighbourhood where many of the houses went all-out with the decorations. There is still (some) hope.
You have no idea how happy this makes me. Sincerely. :)
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