Thursday, October 28, 2010

Silly, Spooky, Stormy, Stuff


This day, last week, was definitely the stormiest. It was the same day I had to herd the chicas out of the flooded shark cage and in to Betty's old apartment.

Gee whiz, it just never seems justifiable, me posting about "bad" weather. I know people in tornado states, or hurricane zones probably think I am a weak wienie. Oh well. I know it was ferocious.

This week we have seen blue skies and felt the warmth of the sun, which is nice, but honestly, I am looking forward to the new storm in the forecast. I can't remember the last time we had such a marvelously turbulent October. And except for the leaky roof, and the danger of drowning my chicas, I hope we enjoy this stuff all autumn and winter.

In other news...
I saw a piece this morning about an Illinois town where they have outlawed trick or treating for children over twelve years of age. Outlawed. They can be fined. And apparently this is not an uncommon ordinance. My reaction? WTH?!

I think I was twenty the last time I went out on the free candy march, dressed as Hobbes. Geoff got a crew cut and dyed his hair comic strip yellow so he could be Calvin. It was awesome.

Three years ago I took Maria, Max, Mitchell, Alex, and William around the neighborhood. Yes, they wanted free treats, but they were also really excited about sharing their costumes, and observing Maria's impressions of the whole Trick-or-Treat scene. Neighbors were amused by Max's pop-up straw bale, and with Alex's wizard dragon, and the children practiced those basic and necessary socialization skills, engaging with the people in their community, sharing a time honored tradition of silliness.

So. In the news piece, the emphasis was on the "scariness" of answering the door to a "six foot tall" kid in a mask asking for candy. I do get that. Some kids fail to play nice, dress up, or even say thank you, and maybe it can be a little uncomfortable to be greeted by a demanding teen, but whatever happened to keeping our expectations high, and our patience higher? Why can we not teach children how to be silly and appropriate? Why are we legislating every last corner of our culture and traditions, and then marginalizing teenagers from the fun and social celebrations that make childhood enjoyable?

Childhood. Shouldn't it be preserved and condoned, at least until they are told to register for a draft, pay taxes, move out? Shouldn't it be okay to be a "six foot tall" kid that wants to hang out with friends, collect candy, and be a part of the community.

Drags out soap box... Maybe it isn't the children we should legislate against, and fine. Maybe it's the parents we should ask more of. Where are the moms and dads? Why aren't they out there too, playing and engaging, and participating in the fun, so that they can be observers and role models? Instead of staying home "scared" of the very people who are the future of their society, I think they should get off their posteriors and parent. And yes, I do believe in hanging out with teenagers, not as a helicopter-parent, but as a caring, interested person, responsible for the well being of the people in my community.

In an ideal world we could send the kids out on their own, and trust that the village will share in the common purpose of looking after its young people. Life is not that idyllic any more, not around here anyway. I do not think it makes any sense to ban the "old" kids, or the "too tall" kids from community activities. It makes me sad to think that, at the ripe old age of twelve, a kid is expected to bow out of the fun, and find something else to do... and talk about scary... the unsupervised, bored, and marginalized kid will find something else to do. It makes me sad that a generation of children have heard their community say, "You are twelve, and scary, and we are banning you from participating in your community's celebration of Halloween."

Golly. I am all riled up. I wish I could throw some flour at something, and send the banshees away forever!

"Tootie, if you don't hit Mr. Braukoff in the face with flour and say "I hate you", the Banshee will haunt you forever!"

7 comments:

  1. Geez louise folks! I can't believe that they have ordinances against trick-or-treating for over 12 yr olds. We've had some very nice kids come to our house in the past few years. Yes, there have been some older teens that perhaps need a refresher course in manners. But I wasn't scared nor worried when they showed up at the door. Usually the older ones tend to go to parties or haunted houses. Not to mention that lots of 13 and 14 yr olds are still young children at heart. Sigh - such a sad state, no?

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  2. Right? I am glad I am not alone in thinking that it is a sad state. It seems like lazy legislation, absent parenting, and a cranky few dictating for everyone. Bummer.

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  3. I am 100% with you about absent parenting.And having said that I will stop before I am on My soapbox.
    My 16 year old and his Girlfriend are going as Calvin and Hobbes this year.He will be Calvin and she will be Hobbes.Both kids and characters are so much the same it makes me worry that some thing like Jim Carrie in "The Mask" will happen but oh well it is Halloween after all.
    My hubby and I are actually the ones who scare the 6 foot tall tick or treaters,we turn our whole front yard into a spook ville. One year a middle teen girl actually told Hubby he made her pee her pants.That was priceless!

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  4. I love that Calvin and Hobbes live on... pictures, please!
    I love that you guys are keeping it fun in your own front yard.
    My sister-in-law goes all out with her neighbors, and we always try to get something together. This is spooktacular of you guys!

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  5. I like it when adults/older kids come around trick-or-treating. In exchange for 25 cents worth of candy I get to see a fun, creative costume. Sounds like a good deal to me! Ok, I'll admit that some of the teenager costumes can be exceedingly lame (you couldn't do better than a hoodie and a sullen expression??) but some of them are quite creative.

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  6. I totally agree w/ your assessment. Why does society make kids grow up so fast?? And what if an 11 year old has a growth spurt? With all the growth hormones in today's foods, it happens all the time. *sigh* Things like this make me angry and sad, too. I'm glad I'm not alone in that.

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  7. Carmar... I am with you. I don't think the rush does most children any good.
    Anonymous... I like your attitude.

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