Tonawanda News

October 13, 2013

DOUBLE TROUBLE: 'What do you want to be?' Lessons of Halloween

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The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — There is no great costume hunt going on this year.

In some ways, I’m actually a little disappointed. No challenges, no brainstorming, no constant perusal of the costume aisles at every local store. 

Instead, we had a firm request from Sam for the classic Darth Vader, a costume both boys had actually donned in the past, albeit in a toddler version.

Mommy’s little Sith Lord received a lightsaber with sound effects, lights and everything as a gift for being in his uncle’s wedding earlier this year — this is how the Morrisons roll — and has wanted to put it to good use ever since. I wouldn’t let him take it to Star Wars Night at the ballpark, or to school, so all his hopes have been pinned on Oct. 31 and the lead-in thereof. We found a Vader costume in the correct size and a decent price, purchased it more than a month in advance and now it’s all over but the waiting.

As I’ve said before, Jim is blasé about his Halloween costumes. The possibility exists that he’ll fixate on something unexpectedly — see last year — but for the most part, if it’s not covering his face, he’s good. We bought him a Jedi costume at the same time we got Vader. If his brother had a lightsaber and he didn’t, we’d never hear the end of it.

Now I just have to keep them from whacking each other with them. It’s a futile task, but I live in hope. Maybe I need my own lightsaber with which to mediate. 

At 5, Sam is now truly into the spirit of the holiday. He’s been thrilled to see the decorations on our street, wants to make Halloween cookies and is talking nonstop about our upcoming trip to the pumpkin patch and carving — in part — his very own pumpkin. He’s obsessed — in a cheerful 5-year-old sort of way — with what is, and is not, deemed “spooky.” And he’s sort of fascinated by it. 

And it’s dawned on him, after five years in which his parents have confiscated most of the sugary proceeds of Halloween, that he should really be getting more candy out of this trick-or-treat thing.

“Mom ... can I eat it ALL that night?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

I’ve read that Halloween is becoming more and more an adult phenomenon, with costumes, decorations, parties, haunted houses and events becoming more and more geared to the 21-and-over crowd. And maybe that’s true. Heaven knows the sexiness-and-gore quotient keeps increasing in the costume aisle.

But it’s also a time of year when the “what do you want to be?” question breaks away from careers and future plans for kids and settles solely on the imagination. “What do you want to be?” A super hero, a princess, a mummy, a dragon, a Jedi? It’s all good.

And facing the spooky and a bit macabre — all the stuff that creeps us out, whether it’s blood or spiders or ghosts or even just that dark corner of the room— isn’t just acceptable. It’s really sort of cool. And dare I say, maybe even a healthy thing for the old psyche?

I’m looking forward to Halloween. I’ll be out there with my Sith Lord and my Jedi Knight, questing for candy, showing off the costumes and all the vivid stories of someplace “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away.” Stories are healthy, too.

I hope you, and your children, are looking forward to it as much as we are.

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Speaking of which, as we head into spooky season for 2013, I wanted to remind readers of two of the Keppeler boys’ favorite Halloween activities coming up soon.

In the Tonawandas, the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum will host its Halloween Spooktacular from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, with games, crafts, treats and pumpkin-carving demonstrations. The finished pumpkins, along with other items, will be raffled off at the end of the evening. There will also be comedy magic shows by Charlie and Checkers at 6 and 7 p.m. The cost is $6 per person, and that includes all activities, refreshments, a treat bag for children and a ride on the carrousel. 

A little more than a week later, the annual Haunted Harbor will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 26 at Gateway Harbor Park in the Tonawandas, with trick-or-treating stations — and trick-or-treating at the boats, something by which my kids are continually impressed — and activities. The event is free but donations aren’t turned away.

As the holiday gets closer, there will definitely be more trunk-or-treats, more haunted houses, more parties, etc. If you have anything going on in those last days before Halloween, let me know and I’ll mention it in my Oct. 27 column.

Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at jill.keppeler@tonawanda-news.com. Follow her on Twitter @JillKeppeler.