Through the Fire
or a fairy or queen.
Halloween is a mixed up jumble of memories for me. It never was my favorite holiday. I grew up out in the country with a mom who was not all that excited about the day. She had to drive us into town to go trick or treating, which she did reluctantly. We would go to a neighborhood where we knew a few people and cover a few blocks. Our costumes were home made every year I think, and mostly involved items we already had – I know I dressed up in my mom’s Mexican blouse and her beautiful Mexican reboso ( a gorgeous silk shawl in which the women wrapped their babies, I would carry my doll). I am sure I was a hobo a time or two. I just wanted to be like my friends and be something pretty and fancy. I’m pretty sure there were years we didn’t go ( sometimes that was due to weather). Sometimes that weather made us go with our coats on, so no one saw our costumes anyway! I know there were some years when I gave most of my candy to my brothers and wasn’t allowed to eat more than a few pieces of it. As I got older, being a princess or a fairy lost its appeal as did Halloween in general. I watched my friends turn from being princesses into sexy nurses. Not that I wanted that, but you can believe there were NO large size sexy nurse outfits available anywhere.
I live near Santa Cruz California which gets wild on Halloween weekend. The streets become packed with VERY scantily dressed people of both sexes, though mostly women. Young women being ogled by old men dressed as I don’t know what. Alcohol and drugs abound. How did this happen ?
I know I sound like an old fuddy duddy and perhaps I am. I’m OK with that.
Halloween is a big challenge for people with body image challenges. How will this costume make me look ? Do I even want people to look at me ?? It’s a big challenge for fat people. Will I find a costume that fits me ? though now there are plenty of places online to purchase large size costumes. Here is one. It’s a challenging day for people with food issues. Longer really, Halloween candy appears on the shelf in September. ( and, candy will be prominently displayed from now until after Easter!) I remember those first years of being an adult, living on my own, being in charge of the Halloween candy. I was in shock. I could get whatever kind of candy I wanted! I could eat as much as I wanted! No mother to tell me no. I would go to different stores so the regular people wouldn’t know I was buying that much. Then as I got older, the challenge became “Do I give out candy this year or not ?” If I was dieting, then no I didn’t or I bought really terrible candy so I wouldn’t eat it. Of course, the kids didn’t want it either so I had leftovers. And, yep, I ate it anyway.
Eventually, I have come to terms with the fact that I really don’t like anything about Halloween and choose not to offer candy. I live in a great neighborhood and there have been a few years where I did just because children on the block were my friends and I wanted to see their costumes. Now, they are older and I either go to the movies or leave my lights off. I get trick or treaters anyway, and have to tell them it’s a trick. I don’t have anything! One year, I lived in a very small town and my house got bombarded with pumpkins in the night because I didn’t hand anything out. The teenagers went wild that year! Mine was not the only mess. Fortunately, every one knew who had done it and they had to spend the next day, cleaning up everyone’s house and yard.
My feelings about candy have evolved over the years. I do occasionally over indulge. For the most part, I don’t eat candy often. I love chocolate. I love really good organic, sustainably grown, ethical ( as in not harvested by slaves) dark chocolate. I don’t buy bags of Halloween candy any more. I now pay attention to ingredients. Here is a list of candies which DO contain GMOs. And, here is a list of candy I would feel perfectly find about handing out or eating. I’m still working on relaxing and breathing and giving myself permission to eat something which for so long was forbidden and dangerous! I know through my years of working on myself and my study of Eating Psychology that food that is no longer forbidden or considered “bad” becomes less of an issue. Sitting with a cup of tea and a few pieces of really good chocolate can be a beautiful pleasure whether alone or shared with a friend. Even if I “just happen” to grab some and eat it in the car or on the go somewhere, I can breathe in the pleasure even it is a very brief moment. No need for guilt or punishment.
So, whether you celebrate Halloween or hide from the trick or treaters, whether you go to a party and wear a fabulous wild costume or go to the movies, don’t be hard on yourself about enjoying the treats of the season.
And, if you are in the mood to make some good for you candy for yourself and your family, here are some delicious recipes. Or, try this one. It’s too bad we can’t hand these out to the princesses, ghouls, and pirates who come to the door. Or even the half naked-it isn’t even really a costumers!
- Edited to add… I was remiss in not reminding you all of my ebook I wrote a few years ago on Food Cravings and an eating psychology approach. Learn about what wanting candy and sweet things might mean to you and some ideas about handling that. Please go to http://charitydasenbrock.com/books for purchasing.