What the Hell Happened?

Remember when people didn’t get their drawers in a bunch over children wearing Halloween costumes to school?

Gwen started Kindergarten this year. She was confused upon learning that Halloween costumes aren’t allowed. Costumes are for private preschools these days. Didn’t you know?

But why?

When did it become politically incorrect to don a costume and celebrate the ancient pagan holidays? Next thing you know, we’ll be burning little people at the stake for dressing up in Monster High costumes. What’s that you say? Fairy costumes are cool, but just not on October 31st?

Well that sucks.

Sure kid, you can play Halo and watch soft porn, I mean…the Vampire Diaries with Mommy on Thursday nights at 8 p.m. Sex, violence and swearing are A-Okay but that Lightening McQueen costume? I don’t think so.

You might offend someone.

Listen, I know you don’t understand this yet – those ever-changing rules and regulations governing our society – but trust me; we used to line up and parade through the gym when I was in Kindergarten. Parents came and took pictures and candy was handed out. Yes, some of the candy even had peanuts in it. Some of the candy was hard and some probably contained dairy. But look, I’m still breathing. I made it through.

I know, allergies are a serious issue and that’s not really what I’m ranting about here. I was just on a roll.

I’m a skosh sentimental for the days when there weren’t catalogs selling knee pads for newly crawling babies. When parents weren’t compelled to blunt every corner in their home with squishy foam material and we could hop on pogo sticks without protective head-gear. Kids used to hit their heads. Yup. It’s true. We also used Play-Dough… that wasn’t gluten free.

Once upon a time, children were allowed to have a bit of fun at school.

We used to call it the Halloween party. (Cue the evil music.)

I experienced the excitement of hopping onto the morning school bus, not as Kelli, but as the Bionic Woman. Plastic mask in place and condensation building on the inside with each gasping breath, I refused to fall prey to claustrophobia. No, I sucked air through those pin-hole nostrils and remained confident that this year my costume would be the coolest.

I had no peripheral vision in that mask but it didn’t matter. No one was overly worried about me falling down the school bus steps or that I’d experience some sort of fatal latex allergy. Plus, I wasn’t complete moron, so I was okay with a simple, “Be careful!” And guess what? If I fell down and bumped my leg I probably said, “Ouch” and moved on.

There was no way I was going to push that mask up onto my head and reveal my alter-ego until I’d entered the classroom. I relished that day of anonymity. Didn’t we all?

No one fucked with the Incredible Hulk on the playground. The princesses were breathtakingly beautiful. Lady bugs flitted from swing to slide. Hobos and skeletons squeezed in a game of kickball at recess. We came home with construction paper Jack O’ Lanterns and UNICEF cartons.

We were allowed to be kids.