Candy + Costumes
My toddler was ridiculously excited for Halloween. So much so that when he changed his mind from wanting to be Superman to Batman I got online late at night and had rush delivered a new costume so that he wouldn’t be disappointed. As I picked him up from school he threw himself into my arms and dived directly into my bag to make sure I’d brought both his costume and his pumpkin basket for all the candy collection we would be doing.
We then literally skipped to the designated Halloween party. I can’t tell you how excited we both were and to see the joy on his face as we dashed up to the party took my breath away. But as soon as we got inside and all the girls and boys threw off their school clothes and started putting on their costumes, my son starting to have a meltdown. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why but I decided that excitement can often be too much and who wants to put on a costume any way when you can go straight to candy?!
It sort of got progressively worse from there and in the end we walked costume-less and candy-less home. He didn’t seem to want to talk about all the ghosts and goblins around us and instead curled up in his stroller as we rolled home.
Thankfully when we got home his baby brother provided some comic relief sitting on the floor dressed as a giraffe. Of course I tried to ask him what was wrong but he didn’t want to talk about it so I decided not to make a big deal out of it all and we got on with our evening and finished with a nice story that bared no relation to Halloween what so ever. It troubled me though what had gone wrong. Had I somehow scared him, was Halloween just too scary and too strange or was he a total genius and already entering the mind of a teenager feeling far too cool to get all dressed up?
I tossed and turned last night and this morning tried to get to the bottom of the problem. I asked whether he would like Mommy to dress up next year and he liked that idea. I asked whether he would and he thought not. When I asked why he said because “he didn’t want to see all the bad things”. This is when it dawned upon me and my heart sank. This was all my fault.
You see, I am a believer in trying to explain things, even to our toddlers but sometimes I realize I can go too far. When he had asked me about Halloween I thought to myself that simply saying people like to dress up and eat candy seemed like an explanation that wouldn’t satisfy especially since we spend a lot of time telling our wee one’s to avoid candy and stranger’s houses!
So I explained that on Halloween we dress up as good things like super heroes and doctors, or bad things like goblins and witches and then we parade the streets and scare away all the bad things in the world. So that when we wake up the next day for All Saints Day there are only good things. And to celebrate this tradition we have candy and treats. So I have to tell you I was pretty proud of this explanation and I wanted my wee one to understand that it was all a good tradition even if my explanation was a little bit jumbled with a variety of traditions. It was these “bad things though” that had terrified him. Anyway, I now know (and feel terrible by the way) that just saying Halloween is a time to eat candy and dress up would have been sufficient!
A few moments later he started talking about chapel at school. And I asked who is at Chapel? He replied “God”. I said “do you know who God is?” And he replied “a nice old man with glasses”. Just as I was about to launch into a greater theological explanation I caught myself and smiled. That was a perfect way to describe him. Wow can I get too serious sometimes!
So here is to next Halloween, a holiday of costumes and candy! And here is to being a child and not always needing a massive explanation to enjoy something!
Have you ever got tongue tied with an explanation with your wee ones? I would love to hear your stories.