4 10 2013

pumpkin pickingLast year, October brought a special occasion. Not only was Halloween approaching, but it was also-coincidentally- the birthday of our Thai exchange student. This made it even more fun to explain the American tradition, which inevitably resulted in a deep query into what we otherwise accept as a ‘normal’ tradition. So, let’s put this into perspective, shall we?

In America, as the growing season comes to an end, we start to prepare the harvest for the bitterly cold and trying winter months. We get out the glass jars and can the fresh tomatoes to stock our cupboards. We dry the herbs from the garden and hang the garlic in the kitchen.

Last, but not least, we pull in the winter squash from the fields, cutting the thick vines leading to those delicate butternut squashes, plump acorns, and finally, the giant orange pumpkins. mom-and-kids-carving-pumpkinAnd then we proceed to grab knives and hack holes into them until they resemble something from a Van Gogh painting. How is this respectful to the harvest, exactly?

“Here honey, let me show you how to properly disembowel this beautiful orb, which has enough nourishment to allow us to survive the darkness of the winter before us. Isn’t this fun? Hahaha!”

trickortreatersAs if the slaughtering of gifts from nature wasn’t weird enough, our Thai son asks about the other things Americans do to celebrate this holiday. “Well,” I start out confidently, “All the kids dress up in costumes and go door to door to ask strangers for candy.” Yes, we prepare elaborate disguises to mask our true identity, then we confront innocent people in their own homes, and demand they pay us off in order for us to leave them alone. Or else they risk being bombed with the sulfuric stench of rotten eggs.

Kind of like bank robbers. But with candy.

Okay, I’m losing him. These are strange habits indeed.

picture 085The reality is, the absolutely last thing most American kids need is another hefty load of sugar coursing through their veins. Once upon a time, people used to give out apples and popcorn balls, but those were deemed “dangerous.” So, instead, when your doorbell rings, you can either turn out the lights and hide, or be prepared with a healthy dose of diabetes and obesity to rid your doorstep of the local ghouls and goblins.

The best part is that the corporations have really gotten excited about this tradition and jumped on board in support of these family values. Now, you can get perfectly good (well, okay, mediocre) chocolate NOW tainted with green dye! Or a delicate little wax sculpture that impersonates an actual, edible, kernel of corn. Even Peeps- the Easter icon built from cornstarch and colored sugar coating (the perfect way to celebrate Jesus!)- now Peeps come in a jack-o-lantern shape. Cuz who doesn’t need ANOTHER excuse to eat a seasonal treat that blows up in the microwave and develops a hard candy coating when roasted in the fire???

peeps halloween

candy corn ear

However you celebrate it, have a Blessed Solstice, and Warm Autumn, a premature Christmas, and a Happy Halloween!




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