Saturday, October 30, 2010

What I learned from Toy Story

The claw knows all
Deerfield Beach, FL, December 2008
[Click here to share your yellow vision]

One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite movies of all time is the one where the Sheriff Woody tries to escape from one of those huge, crane-equipped toy games, only to be stymied by a horde of squeeze toy aliens, mindless three-eyed toys who worship The Claw as cult members would follow their bearded, shirtless, criminal-past "leader". It's a screamingly biting swipe at the risks we all face when we choose to drink the Kool-Aid.

Yet like all things in the world of Pixar, it's rendered with such a deft palette of words and pixels that kids think it's simply a funny bit with even funnier toys. Regardless, this scene was the first thing that came to mind as our kids walked past this machine in a Florida restaurant a couple of years back. And since these machines are kid-magnets and our kids are, well, magnetic, we had a heck of a time removing them from the establishment.

As the wretched Halloween "holiday" looms larger in our collective windshield, I believe this photo captures the spirit of it all quite nicely.

Your turn: Why don't I like Halloween?


Bruce said...

my kids are past the age of costumes and begging for candy, but in their day it was a travesty of trick or treating...blended family that we are, they always had to go to dad's to but we got to pay for the costume...bitter a bit but...

i am sick of crass comerciality and the length of time that the stores shove all holidays down our throats...

the worst part of it all is the kids that show up with a ball cap on backwards and beg for candy telling me their costume is *gang Memeber* which isntantly makes me wanna cap their a**...

at least get dressed up if you are gonna t or t..

Wayward Son said...

I always wind up working Halloween Night and my train gets egged, rocked and paintballed. Everybody decides to put junk in the track to watch us run over it and there's endless kids playing 'chicken'. I hate the whole thing.

Em said...

Have to say, I love Halloween. It was more fun when my kids were younger...but I still love handing out the goodies and seeing all those eager faces hidden under the masks and makeup.

David said...

wretched Halloween is so right.
i wonder if people want something scarier than 'real life'.
These days that is very difficult, indeed.

srp said...

Mine is grown up and hopefully not engaging in any stupid dress-up adult parties. I don't like Halloween because... very little thought is put into age appropriate costumes, the kids older than 12 really should start thinking about more serious things than a sugar high, that sugar high is bad in itself and with the way society is you have to be so careful with where kids go and the candy they pick up from strangers. Society doesn't collectively protect children as well as they did when I was a kid.

Sometimes I see kids coming and I really do think they do the trick or treating thing more for the parents than themselves. I don't think they would mind it if parents just got a big sack of candy at the store and let them have it.

Instead, perhaps we should dress our dogs and let them go door to door for dog biscuits. Daisy would love that.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

My kids did Halloween and I don';t have an issue w/it.. I do have an issue w/the Jehovah Witnesses.. We had a family in the neighborhood and every Halloween, their kids would look out the window w/envy watching all the neighbor kids having fun..We also had non denominational/born agains who were against Halloween. One family actually left a sign on their door explaining why they didn't celebrate it... To them I say 'lighten up" Most kids and adults don't delve into the history of it/the so called evilness. Most think its just a fun day to go and get candy.. Why can't it be kept simple?

Jen said...

I drank the Kool-Aid...I love Halloween. I wish my daughter was still young enough so I could trick or treat. Maybe someone has a kid I can borrow?

Alexia said...

Halloween is a relatively new import to the Southern Hemisphere - yet another American holiday (read: commercial spend-up) that we've adopted.
It's happened the last 10 years or so - and only been seriously hyped over the last 5.
Therefore my kids were never involved with it, for which I am thankful.
But I must admit that I have just been to the supermarket to buy some goodies for tonight... can't bear to disappoint eager little faces.

Tabor said...

Been there and done I live down a long scary country lane and I have only the goblins and I.

Karen Sather said...

Imagine that, yellow really takes front row seat! I loved playing with these cranes at our county fair but you always walked away with junk. It was the thrill of trying! Don't get me started on Toy Story, so much good in every movie, for both parents and children, especially the latest with the new little girl...she is the best! Why you hate Halloween? I think if you had good experiences as a child you would. If not you won't like Halloween!It's that simple....But I can see you snapping an endless amount of cool photos for Halloween!

Marion said...

I wish my kids were still little and we still went out in the dark of night trying to find the spookiest house. It was deliciously scary for them, even if the houses we chose as the spookiest were ordinary homes in daylight.

There's something wonderful about all those shining, eager faces who stand in the doorway yelling trick or treat. We get very few now, we live on the darkest country road you can imagine. I miss the kids.

Chanel said...

It really worries me that some people have said their kids are too old for costumes and candy...I'm 22 years old and I love to dress up for Halloween. It's my favorite Holiday. In high school I joined Theater because I love to dress up. It's just fun to pretend to be someone else for a few hours.

When I was a kid Halloween wasn't about the candy. We got two pieces after we got home, and one piece every day after. We didn't get to have a "candy high," it was all about dressing up and running around after dark that made the holiday awesome for us.

As for children who dress up in normal clothes and call it a costume, such as "gang member," does it not occur to anybody except me that some parents can't afford to buy their children costumes so they made do with things they already have? My grandmother once made all four of us clown costumes out of old bed sheets because it was too hard that year to purchase costumes for four children.

The Gearheads said...

Interesting you should ask. I was just reciting through this the other day as I was frustratingly getting my boys of six and nine (often referred by me in my blog as little trouble and big trouble) ready for their school Halloween experience. This was a morning filled with confusion and delay (too much Thomas shows through.) As I got them their outfits, couldn't find the pair of black pants I has specifically set aside for the Harry Potter costume, I thought to myself I am disliking Halloween more and more. All this, and ended up being late to school, barely made it for their parade.

I dislike having to grill the boys on what they want to be. I dislike having to shut them down on things that might not be appropriate for one reason or another. I dislike having to go get said costumes with them only to have them go through the store with the "I need this, I want that" rambling of a kid in a candy store.
I dislike having to stress about taking more time to watch their parade at school so they can see me in the crowd for a fleeting moment. They would be devastated if I wasn't there, but could hardly care less that I was.
I particularly disliked going through the rain yesterday so they could collect a ton of candy they probably don't need.

Those are the things I dislike about Halloween.
On the flip side, I like the way they look in their cute costumes.
I like taking time to carve pumpkins with them (which I missed out on this year thanks to work). I like walking around the neighborhood seeing everybody else's decorations and talking with the neighbors. I like having and excuse to dress up myself in a costume (speed racer this year). I like getting candy myself and having an excuse to eat it.
I wish we had time to make our own costumes, we took such pride in them when we did.

Happy Halloween

oh and my verification word this time is bless
so... bless to all


Anonymous said...

While I don't like the sexed-up costumes (esp. the ones the younger set have pushed at them), I take pleasure in seeing creative costumes and I love seeing happy little faces. I don't mind seeing older kids trick-or-treating, but they've got to play the part if they want to get candy. Showing up with a pillowcase is a huge turn-off. It doesn't take money to make a costume; it takes imagination. You'd be surprised what you can find in the household closets and the rag bag!
Our marching band participates in a Halloween parade. The kids all dress up, most of them quite creatively, and the chaperones also dress up to hand out candy along the parade route.

No, Halloween doesn't bother me much. But the irritating commercialism surrounding Christmas, Easter, and Valentines Day (really, Valentines Day? Give it a rest!!) drives me bonkers.

Salim Kanji said...

We should have more activities like these to keep them creative, busy, away from TV and on straight and narrow path!

Olivia Emisar said...

The older my kids get, the more they like Halloween. The customes get more elaborate and their imagination takes over. They appreciate the mega-volume of candy the generous neighbors provided. I have never enjoyed the "holiday" as much until I started seeing it through their eyes.