At our house Halloween lasted a month between all the
assorted parties, pumpkin patch visits, puppet shows, and other holiday-related
hullabaloo. If you want to see something scary, try two kids coming down from a month-long sugar high. It’s horrible.
Halloween has taken over—anyone who wasn’t buried under a
rock had to see that in the crazed amount of consumerism. It’s now up there
with Easter (another holiday I’m starting to hate because of all the candy),
and gaining on Christmas, for crying out loud.
But that’s not why Halloween killed our Christmas this year.
Or, more specifically, killed Santa Claus. See, in preparation for Halloween, we
did a lot of costume talk. (Also, my girls love dress-up and wear costumes
almost every day anyway—except for the toddler, who decided Halloween was the
one day of the year to refuse to wear a costume). I didn’t want them to be
freaked out by anything, so I emphasized it was all pretend, that inside every gory
costume was a person like them, or maybe a bigger person like me.
It worked, and the only thing that fazed the 3-year-old about
Halloween was carving jack-o'-lanterns (“Don’t cut my pumpkin, please,” she
“It’s OK, it’s just a man in a costume.”
In fact, it worked so well that weeks later at a birthday
party when a life-size Darth Vader arrived and all her pals hit the deck or
ran outside crying, she calmly sized him up and announced to all, “It’s OK, it’s
just a man in a costume.” Then she took a light saber and moved on to the bouncy
Her blasé reaction isn’t just reserved for Star Wars
characters; she said the exact same thing about Santa yesterday. I had her with
me in a huge craft store, looking for Thanksgiving decorations, which no longer
exist. There were Christmas decorations everywhere and when she saw a popcorn tin
with Santa’s visage on it she cried, with all the excitement you’d expect,
“Look, mama, Santa!” Then, in the same elated tone declared, loud enough for
all in our aisle to hear: “Santa isn’t real!”
I almost fell over. We’d never had this discussion before, and I haven’t anticipated needing to have it for many years. “Why do you think Santa isn’t real?” I asked,
feeling judgment from the folks staring at us, wondering what sort of a monster
tells her 3-year-old that Santa is a load of crap.
“He’s wearing a costume,” she said. “So you know he’s just