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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Ramblings

Hello, everybody!

The first thing that I really want to do is wish every single one of you ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and gargoyles, a gappy galloween...

...ahem. I mean...have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

Yes, the end of October is finally here, and with that, so is the end of the scariest month of the Pop Culture Addict's Guide To Life. I do hope you've enjoyed this spooky themed month, and I do hope that next year will be even scarier than this one. I tried to think outside of the box when it came to choosing topics, and I wanted to make it diverse, yet fun at the same time.

I just want to remind all of you about taking proper safety precautions tonight as you go out and collect treats (and maybe pull off a couple of tricks at the same time) before I launch into today's blog entry. Halloween can be a lot of fun, but you also have to be safe at the same time. So, here are a few tips that can make sure that you get home safely after your parties and outings are all wrapped up.

  • Make sure that if you are going out trick-or-treating, you have a guardian going with you.
  • Should you not have a parent with you, the best thing to do is to go out in a group of kids. Remember, there is safety in numbers.
  • The fall weather can be quite unpredictable, so make sure that costumes are warm enough for your little goblins to wear, and it also might be a good idea to have a costume that is water-resistant. Never know when it might rain or snow!
  • I know it's tempting to stay out all night long, but remember...most houses close up shop after nine o'clock. Don't stay up too late. After all, Halloween is on a school night!
  • Make sure that you have something on your costumes that motorists can see at night. Glow sticks or reflective tape work wonders.
  • Never ever eat candy that is unwrapped or looks suspicious. Always have a parent or guardian inspect your candy before you dig into it.
  • As much as I might sound like Marge Simpson here, don't eat too much candy. You might not have nightmares, but you can get a nasty tummy ache. Believe me, there were lots of kids who stayed home sick on November 1 for not heeding that advice!

Really, with a little bit of common sense, your Halloween can be a lot of fun.

But in today's diary entry which doubles as a social commentary piece, this is the story of how one woman in a North Dakota town lacks both common sense and fun, and how her vision of giving treats ended up being one cruel trick that is getting a lot of backlash. I'm sure that most of you have seen this story before, but I thought that I would add my own two cents to this tale...and believe me...I can add some personal experiences to this commentary as well.

October 31, 2013

I can't believe it's Halloween already. I am having a hard time realizing that Christmas is less than two months from now. Oh, I don't even want to THINK about that! For now, my main motivation is getting through a work day (yes, I work Halloween night), and trying to grab as much candy as I possibly can without going trick-or-treating for it. After all, it has been 20 years since I last went out for Halloween, and I'm pretty sure that 32 year olds should not go begging for candy!

But, believe me...if I could get away with it, I would go trick-or-treating up to and including the age of 65!

Now, one thing that we're always told as kids whenever we went trick-or-treating was to not eat all of our candy in one sitting. With the amount of candy that I ended up getting, I would have had the grandpappy of stomach aches had I tried. But you have to admit. The Snickers bars. The red licorice. The Junior Mints. And, my personal favourites – Reese's Peanut Butter Cups – yeah. You literally had to fight me in order to snag them out of my candy pile.

(Of course, living with two older sisters who loved the peanut butter/chocolate combo as much as I did, there was really nothing stopping them from searching my candy hiding place.)

But I just wanted to make a point that my Halloween candy would last me quite a long time. It wasn't as if I gorged on it completely. In fact, my family refused to buy any junk food until we kids all ate our Halloween candy.

Of course, there are some people who don't feel as though they believe in giving out candy at the door. Some of them feel that giving too much candy will lead to dental and health problems, and they certainly reserve the right to not hand out candy. Some hand out raisins (which admittedly I despise). Some hand out fruit (which admittedly is NOT a good idea). One of my friends actually handed out a stack of comic books to trick-or-treaters instead of candy (which I found to be a brilliant idea).

Or, at the very least, you pull all the blinds, turn off all the lights, and pretend that nobody is home if you really don't want kids cloaked in costumes ringing your bell or knocking on your door. A silent protest to the handing out of junk food would certainly be more respectful than the campaign that one North Dakota woman will be launching this Halloween.

Okay, so I'm sure that some of you have already heard this story since it broke yesterday, and I'm sure that you have our own opinions of the story. I know I certainly do. But the gist of it is this. Apparently this woman (who has not been officially named) has decided that the children in her village are too fat to deserve Halloween candy. And if someone comes knocking on her door asking for a treat, they will instead end up with a nasty trick in the form of a letter. A copy of the letter has been posted online, and I happen to have it below. Would you like to read it?

Now, how is that for shocking? It's almost as if the woman from North Dakota has decided to dress up as the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld for Halloween only instead of soup, she's telling kids “NO SKITTLES FOR YOU!”

And her motivation behind these letters? She wants the child's parents to accept responsibility for the fact that their children are 'morbidly obese' and that they need to work harder to make sure that they become healthier people.

I call balderdash.

To me, this is nothing more than fat-shaming in the absolute worst possible way. It's absolutely disgusting to me that in this day and age, making fun of and excluding people because they happen to be chubbier than others their own age is still considered acceptable. It's not.

Believe me. I know how it feels to be made fun of or excluded because of my size. At my heaviest weight, I was over three hundred pounds. I was the brunt of many jokes. And, believe me, I have heard of a lot of comments from my classmates, and even a few insensitive teachers, lecturing me on how I should cut back on the junk food and exercise more. And it wasn't in a helpful tone either. It was more along the lines of condescending. It made me feel bad.

I can only imagine that any child who happens to get a letter from that North Dakota woman this Halloween would feel exactly the same way.

In fact, I'd like to tell this lady from North Dakota a few things. Firstly, you cannot shame anyone into losing weight. If anything, those condescending people who kept lecturing me on my weight had quite the opposite reaction from me. I actually ate MORE junk food because I felt so lousy about myself. Did it ever occur you, Miss Letter-writer 2013 that the more you pick on someone, the worse they feel about themselves? And the worse they feel about themselves, the less effort they put into making themselves happy again?

What you're doing is NOT helping kids become healthier. You're actually destroying their confidence and self-esteem. You're also setting the stage for kids eventually developing eating disorders because you're feeding into their self-worth. Who are you to make judgments? Did you ever think that the reason for the chubbiness could be a medical condition? Did you ever think that the reason the kid is chubby on Halloween is because they might be wearing a padded costume? Did it ever occur to you that kids are going to be naturally chubby anyway?

But you know something? I think that this whole thing will backfire on you. In fact, I already am going to make some predictions about what your schedule will be like on November first should you throw away all common sense and go ahead with your letter writing campaign. I predict that your neighbours will likely cut all ties off with you because they might be embarrassed. I predict that parents will purposely avoid your house and go to the others in your neighbourhood because they don't want to have their children associated with someone who is so clueless about how to interact with the community in a positive way.

And I predict that you'll be spending hundreds of dollars purchasing exterior home cleaning supplies to clean up the broken egg residue and smashed pumpkin guts all over your doors and windows over this madness.

Halloween is supposed to be fun. Don't take it away.

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