Halloween Controversy

The Next Family

By: Stacie Lewis

Ellen Seidman, an editor at Redbook, wrote a beautiful essay in this month’s magazine about her son and their Halloween tradition. I was stunned to learn that someone took the time to write in, chastising her for adjusting Halloween so he could enjoy it, terror-free.

Worse, after it was reported on the Motherlode blog at the New York Times, more people wrote in. Apparently, the anonymity of the web makes it okay to be a total twat.

Here are just a few of the comments from the site:

I’m sorry but going trick-or-treating when not wearing a costume is just not cool. A major part (if not THE major part) of Halloween is planning and wearing a costume. If you want to do quiet activities at home, feel free. – Desiree, New York

If they came to my door I’d give them candy but I’d be a little annoyed, even if I knew the family and her son’s problems. I’d certainly say “Where’s your costume?” in a friendly way. Costumes are part of what the holiday is about. If he really can’t participate, they should do something else. – E, from Cyberspace

I think it’s really cheap and lazy for a parent to be so unmotivated as to accept their kid saying, “For Halloween, I just want to be myself.” and get away with being so uncreative as to exempt themselves from dressing up as the major part of the tradition. Then to say, “It’s what my child wanted” as a defense really stinks. – WackyDad, from Virginia

Most of these parents – and they were all parents – ended their vitriol with a whimsical, “My daughter will be the cutest bumblebee on the block this Halloween!” thus proving the ability to dress up a child in adorable costumes is all the expertise one needs to judge the parenting skills of someone else.

Seidman’s writing on her blog ‘Love that Max’ is so full of love and admiration for her son, I am baffled how anyone, especially a mother, could read it and criticize her.

If you, like me, have a child born with severe brain injury – the questions you have will be endless and the answers not in the least forthcoming. Seidman’s post ‘Word to new moms, in honor of Max’s birthday‘ should be required reading for us all. It went a little way to bridge that gap.

Stacie Lewis blogs at mamalewis.wordpress.com.

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