Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween and other scary things

The month of October has come to an end. It's Halloween, a holiday celebrated with almost as many parties and candy as Christmas. Halloween these days is quite different from the one I knew as a kid. I remember getting dressed up in simple (mostly) homemade costumes and going door-to-door in the neighborhood Trick-or-Treating. We used pillowcases to collect our candy. Daddy always went with us so that nothing bad would happen. Daddy went trick-or-treating twice as a kid...without parents as was the norm in those days...and both times he got beat up by neighborhood bullies who promptly stole all his candy (OK, so he was a wimp). Daddy wasn't about to let someone do that to his precious darlings :-) We came home, carefully sorted our candy, then negotiated swaps with our siblings to get rid of the stuff we didn't want (black licorice, malted milk balls, peanut butter "kisses") for better stuff (Snickers, Reeses', Butterfingers, etc.). That was pretty much it.

Things have changed. By the time the kids have worn their costumes to Halloween events (Trunk or Treat at Church, Boo at the Zoo, Trick or Treating at the Mall, "Safety City" at the police Dept., area corn maze attractions, plus the local park and school) for at least a week, going Trick or Treating on the 31st is rather anticlimatic. We won't go into details about how much more candy the kids haul in nor the sugar high they've been on all week long. Yikes!!! I call this EXCESSIVE!

While I'm ranting about excessive let me tell you about a shower I was recently invited to. The "invitation" was sent via a website that specializes in sending "e-vites", a rather interesting phenomena that I'm not all that keen on. It seems that the availability of a free internet service (sponsored by retailers that feature registry services for the bride or mother-to-be) for inviting people to showers and other parties is the easiest way ever to invite an enormous number of people to come to an event...and bring presents. Lots of presents! Cutting and pasting lists of email addresses is fast and easy not to mention cheap. I don't recall ever attending a bridal or baby shower where there were 70+ invitees in the days of hand addressed, stamped and post-office mailed printed/engraved invitations. Excessive is easy when it's free and online. At least this most recent e-vite was to a shower being hosted in a private home. Previously I was e-vited to shower held at a cafe where attendees were free to order food and beverages--and pay for it--if they wanted to. I guess I'm Old Fashioned, but I find such things to be terribly rude.

My most recent e-vite was for a baby shower. The honoree is having her 5th child. FIVE! Please RVSP and oh, btw the mom-to-be is registered at Baby R Us :-) OK...I totally get a shower for the 1st child...even the 2nd, but I remember the shower for baby #4 just a few years ago, and now it's #5. Forgive me for thinking that this is a bit excessive, but really???? I mean I like the honoree and all and I have no problems with having 5 children, but puhleeze! Five baby showers is excessive in my book. I have recently learned that many Moms-to-be being feted with showers are requesting gifts of disposable diapers. Add this to my list of things in appallingly bad taste. Why don't we just have a donation drive at church or the office or wherever and everyone bring a couple of boxes of Luvs to contribute so the poor child will have something new to poop on? What happened to offering gifts that are of lasting value, perhaps even sentimental value, or at least something that can be worn more than a few hours before being thrown away? What happened to beautiful blankets, silver spoons, or even crib sheets? When it is baby #5 I'd rather fuss over the mother with lotions, bubble bath, or a giftcard for a manicure than tie a ribbon around a box of wadded padding encased in plastic cartoons that will be in the landfill in a few short weeks.

I don't know, maybe my Old Maid is showing. After all, I've never best the honoree in a shower. No one ever gifted me with a crock pot, toaster, or a package of onesies. If you don't get married or have babies, especially in Mormon social culture, you are essentially overlooked...except to be e-vited along with all the other ladies at church to a shower for a dear woman who is having her fifth child. After careful consideration of the event and the time of day (10AM...yikes!)I politely declined the invitation. Having a chronic illness can be very convenient when you need an excuse to avoid stuff. Mom & Dad are going to be in Alabama that weekend so Mom has an excuse too. I'm not sending a gift either...surely the Mom has plenty of onesies and crib sheets. Heck, she probably has a silver spoon tucked away somewhere too. I doubt I'll be missed. At the very least I won't be at an event trying to gush appropriately while feeling like a hypocrite. If nothing else I am an honest woman.

5 comments:

Regenia said...

Seriously! And I thought the shower for my cousin's 3rd was bad. Don't worry. I shall be a bride in good taste. I'd rather have people that matter to me attend, and my opinion is that if I don't care enough about them to address an envelope, then they aren't important enough to come. Maybe that's a topic for another rant...

Kathleen C. said...

Uhm... while I certainly do agree with a lot of what you said I'd like to put in a plug for the fifth child...
I'm the oldest of five myself and I was lucky in that. I had the new clothes, the new toys, the mass of photo ops, the constant attention and excitement of being the first. The second was the first boy and so got about equal (and sometimes better) than me. But it went downhill from there. Until you get to my poor youngest sister. Who was hand-me-down city.
Maybe the idea you gave of something to remember... something special for the child... that would be nice.
After all most of the basics in terms of furniture and toys are probably still good. The onesies are probably not (they get roughly used by numbers 1-4) and diapers... well you *do* need them...
But why not let the child grow up knowing that someone thought they were special enough to be the recipient of a particular item like the spoon or blanket meant *just for them*.
Hmmm. Guess I'm feeling a little guilty here... I think I need to call my lil sis.

Kathleen said...

I eloped, that means no shower. I had two babies, one shower. Babies were alergic to disposal, used cloth diapers and breast fed both of them to a cup. I would not give up one minute of the time spent buying all of my own things.

Terry & Jonesy said...

Well said! I enjoyed reading your post today (ok, so I'm a little behind on reading my favorite blogs).
Hope all is well with you, since it's been quite a while since you posted,
Terry sailingknitter

MaryCatherine said...

Agreed! Isabella and I treasure our handmade blankets made by her Great Auntie. She still sleeps with them to this day, and sometimes she even drags them downstairs to snuggle with while she watches a movie.

I'm of the old fashioned mind set that you only have a baby shower for your first baby....perhaps I should get with the times...nah.