Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My dislike of creepy Halloween decorations

I'm a sucker for the fall.  I really love October and November--the smells, the colors, the activities.  Here in Colorado it is still relatively warm.  We have had some cold days and a few days of snow in the mountains but overall, it's been mostly warm and sunny.  It's so nice to grab a jacket or even just throw on some pants and head to the park and enjoy the weather just a little longer.  I know the cold is coming soon and I'm planning on enjoying every last bit of sun and warmth I can until it's cold.

I do find myself a little conflicted with Halloween these days though.  I had similar feelings about it last year, though last year I really had little desire to celebrate anything.  The problem comes because my boys seem to have skipped the entire superhero, character costume thing.  They could care less about being a ninja or a Power ranger, or whatnot.  Ever since I can remember Will has chosen something like a mummy--he has always been intrigued by mummies.  Isaac did choose to be Batman one year but since then he's wanted to be something creepy too.  And now Eli seems to have read the memo and I can't convince him to be something more normal for his age.  He has chosen to be a zombie like Isaac last year.

So I'm a bit conflicted.  The boys know that I won't let them wear masks (part of what makes the costume really creepy to begin with).  Last year it was so close to Laila's death and they wanted their faces painted and I felt I did an accurate job of making a dead looking face.  It seemed a bit ironic to me to be painting their faces how I remembered Laila looking.  In their minds it's just harmless and they don't really think about death.

But I do.

I've never been into the creepy, gruesome Halloween decorations to begin with but now I really dislike them.  The boys think it is so cool to see a house with a grim reaper or creepy skeleton but I hate it.  I feel like Laila's death has ruined it for me.  Again, I never liked it before but now I dislike it because I almost feel it's making a mockery of something sacred to me.  I hate the tombstones with stupid sayings on them or the zombie bodies with blood all over their faces or the creepy skeletons, etc.

It's just that my Laila is either a skeleton herself now or a body with leathery skin (I don't know how long it takes bodies in caskets to deteriorate) and I hate seeing people decorate their houses with something similar except with the express purpose of making it gruesome and scary.  I visit Laila's grave frequently, multiple times a month, and I don't sit there thinking about what her body looks like now.  I think of her as my sweet daughter and find comfort looking at her tombstone, knowing that I spent hours contemplating the perfect thing to write to honor her.  I think of how my whole family is physically together, even if one of us is buried deep in the ground.  I find peace when I visit her and I feel a sacredness at her grave that I don't feel very many other places.  I know that even though her spirit is not in that exact place, her mortal body is and that is sacred to me.

The boys don't really make the connection and I haven't tried to help them make the connection.  I want them to enjoy the season as much as I always have.  I don't want their sister's death to make all the fun so serious, if that makes sense.  I am 99.9% certain that when they put their costumes on Laila's death won't even cross their minds.  And the fact that it won't tells me that I've succeeded in teaching them about death properly.  We've tried hard to explain it in an appropriate manner so they don't feel afraid of death or of the cemetery.  I realize that it is all fun and games and no one is really thinking about death and actual skeletons and such so I just try to look on by and put those very thoughts out of my own mind.  I just wonder if this is something that will bug me for the rest of my life and each time Halloween comes I'll cringe when I see someone decorate with creepy skeletons and zombies or if it's just that way now because it's still too close to Laila's death for me.  I'm not sure.

Either way, I have decided to let the boys be what they want for Halloween--Will, the scream (without the mask), Isaac, the grim reaper, and Eli, a zombie.  I will decorate their faces and let them enjoy the Halloween season and won't mention their sister or how these characters make me cringe.  But they are quickly learning that their pleads will never make me budge in how our house is decorated for Halloween.

And even though I feel conflicted with the holiday now, I still love everything else associated with it and try to help our family celebrate and have fun.


Katie said...

I used to love watching true crime shows and things like CSI and Criminal Minds. After our car accident, I could not handle them AT ALL. Even though we all survived, the idea of someone losing a loved one in a tragic way was just way too much for me to watch. So I can only imagine what that must do to you. I firmly believe that tragedy just "rewires" you in certain respects. I'm not AS sensitive to those shows as I was 3 1/2 years ago, but I still don't watch them like I used to because they still bother me a lot more. I'm so sorry that you have to go through it. Good for you, though, for recognizing what is going on and not letting it interfere with the holiday for your kids.

ashley said...

Hi Adrianne! This is ash, Nate's wife. I'm with you on the conflicted feelings. Halloween is kinda a weird holiday as far as what we are celebrating. Dress up and candy, I love. Everything else I really really don't love. Its tricky to keep those things apart though. (no pun intended ;-)