Who Is It For?

Tonight’s Halloween.  While my neighborhood isn’t really the hub of all activity for such things – Orthodox Jews don’t really “do” Halloween – there’s neighborhoods close enough by that will have trick-or-treating galore.

My only thought is whether or not I really feel a need to take the kids trick-or-treating.

Trick-or-treating is normal – everyone does it.  There’s the whole going out in costumes, seeing everyone wandering the streets, and getting the social interaction from the ritual of going to the door, saying the passphrase, getting the reward, and repeating it.

There’s value to taking the Monster out, in other words.  It gives him the socialization experience.  It’s age-appropriate for him, since all of his same-age peers are going to be doing the same thing.  It shouldn’t be over-stimulating, since it’s not like we live in an extremely urban area where there’d be large crowds, a lot of noise, or overly scary houses.

On the other hand… it’s the question, to me, of if there’s sufficient value-to-effort.

The most basic thing that I look at, with Halloween, is whether or not the Monster “gets it”, whether it’s something that would be fun for him or just for us to feel “normal”… and I’ve not yet gotten to the point that I think he understands the idea of Halloween.  (He certainly doesn’t eat most of his candy – it’s not really that much of a motivation for him, and he’d rather have a banana, an apple, or animal crackers.)  I don’t know that he really understands the concept of “dressing in costume” as a kind of acting, since he’s very literal with the use of everything else, and hasn’t shown a cognizance that people in costumes are “characters” or “pretending to be someone else”.  And his brother is too young really to get it either – R is cute as a button, certainly, but at almost 22 months, Halloween is meaningless for him.

So in the end, it’s the question to me of who trick-or-treating would be for.  Is it for the kids to go out and have fun and for the Monster to have socialization practice, or is it for us to feel “normal”?

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