The boys waffled and wiffled about what they wanted to be. Ru was stuck on being a ghost for a while, (more on that in a bit) and then then he was thinking about Spiderman and then he decided once and for all the a fireman was the thing. Dee talked about Batman at first and then began insisting that he was going to be a doctor "in pink" whatever that may mean. Ru corrected him all the time, "You mean a nurse. They wear pink. Do you want to be a nurse? Is that what you mean?" (Which I thought was hilarious...not pink is for girls but, pink means a nurse. Kids are a riot. I love child logic.) And Dee would reply confidently, "Nope. A doctor. In pink." So, I was all set to dress him in pink scrubs and a white lab coat and then suddenly he decided that he wanted to be a fireman too. Ru thinks its great fun to be twin heroes and we have had more new declarations so today the supplies were purchased and assembly began. Firemen it is.
About that ghost business. I wasn't sure what to do with the whole ghost bit. I grew up in a family which forbade dressing as anything remotely mystical or devious so a ghost would have been out of the question while A's family was all for the creepy and the scary as that was somehow part of the night. I think two things give me pause,
1.) I have a hard time personally enjoying "dark" characters and decorations. I am pretty black and white and scary is icky and happy is good...and I'm not very able to enjoy the creepy or the foul.
2.) Really. I have very small children, one of whom is already up EVERY SINGLE NIGHT with nightmares. Do I need anymore darkness in his life? I'll pass.
So, I'm not sure exactly what to do with the whole topic ultimately. In some ways I think that forbidding my children to ever take part in anything that isn't puppies and rainbows, all innocent sweetness all the time is a bit strange. Life is dark and light, scary and hopeful...death is real, bad guys happen....etc. That said, I'm not sure I want my little boy dressing up as the ghoul either. It somehow really unsettles me. I really would love to think this whole topic through more thoroughly and think I'll try, (Anyone for a good verbal hash-out on the subject sometime? I'd love to try to tease out the issues involved.) but until then, with the limited mommy brain cells I have available and the short amount of time left until the holiday itself I decided to tell Ru that maybe I'll change my mind at some point and I'd love to keep talking about it, but at this point I wasn't willing to make any scary or icky costumes. Only good guys allowed.
The other piece of the holiday that I feel bears some weight and should be addressed is the church holiday business. I know that our Reformed brothers and sisters celebrate Reformation Day at this time of year and I've heard of families posting Luther's 95 Theses on the front door as a thought provoking reminder. In our church this is the time that we celebrate All Saints Day...a time to remember those who have gone before us and to bear in mind what a great historical tradition we are part of. In some parts of the world celebrants spend special time remembering their family members who are dead and gone and/or beautifying the family plot in the cemetery. I just love this photo from Poland, via Wikipedia...all candlelit beauty. So peaceful and warm, not how you usually picture a cemetery at all. We don't have any family members who were buried here, but we can light some candles here in our home, maybe on the porch and of course certainly in our pumpkins. And I plan to print out and hang a symbolic picture of Christ and the saints and talk together with the boys about those who have gone on before us.
While I mused, I enjoyed reading the following two articles on the topic of Christianity and Halloween. The first, from a pretty mainstream believer, talking about how important it is to seize the chance to interact with our neighbors in a loving way. I love that and also the notion that the whole country plays dress up together for one night. Those are both lovely things. The second article is from a Greek Orthodox believer who talks about the origins of the holiday and the oft recited notion that it has sinister Celtic roots. I always love debunking and I also appreciated hearing his ideas on honoring the saints and interacting with neighborhood children on the topic.