Hockey masks and horror films aren’t the only things that make me scream and cringe. We’re at the end of October and I can’t help but reflect on all things scary, and no, it isn’t your costume. Don’t get me wrong, I love Halloween (mostly). I love the weather and the smells and the overall vibe everyone is putting off as the seasons change. As most of us are in high gear preparing for holiday parties and trick-or-treating, I ask that we slow down and consider that maybe…just mayybeee…Halloween is rather the thing to distract us from the things that are actually scary about the world. Or it’s just the one day of the year that we allow ourselves to exalt our inner darkness, but I digress. Either way, this post is not meant to scare you or bring you down, but rather raise awareness. Remember, the scariest costumes often look like professional suits and white coats, not witches hats and brooms sticks. Luckily, we aren’t destined to fail and have all the power to change the paradigms that shape our thinking. Here are four things I think are scarier than freaky costumes this Halloween:
1. Susan G. Komen and “Pinkwashing.”
October is breast cancer awareness (because we weren’t already aware of breast cancer) month which means you will see A LOT of pinkwashing. You might feel defensive and claim, “what is wrong with bringing awareness to cancer?” or “These products donate to cancer research!” It does all sound very noble, but the reality is that it is all an ironic scam. There is so much emphasis on awareness that we don’t even stop and look at the products that are being pinkwashed. Buckets of fried chicken, M&M’s, alcohol, and cookies to name a few. So what we are doing is raising awareness about breast cancer by selling products that…cause breast cancer. I can’t tell if the people who do this really pulled a fast one on the public, or they are just really ignorant. Either way, avoid anything that is pink. It most certainly does more harm than good. If you really truly care about cancer then focus on prevention and stop relying on someone to one day find a cure in a petri dish. It isn’t going to happen. The “find a cure” industry is too profitable. Change your lifestyle. Promote true health. It cannot be found in a lab. Plus, a cure already exists. Just look at the cultures in certain parts of Asia who have little to no breast cancer and see what they’re doing. Also, check out people who cure cancer on their own.
2) That door-to-door candy.
I am slightly convinced that the real zombies are the kids that eat this stuff in large quantities. Some very common Halloween candy ingredients include: sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, gelatin, artificial flavor, casein, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 3, blue 1, soybean oil, palm oil, whey, defatted peanuts, partially hydrogenated oils, and the list goes on and on and on. There’s a reason some of these ingredients are banned in other countries. Artificial food dyes are proven to be toxic and cause anything from ADHD to cancer according to this study, this study and this study. This is just one example. Take it upon yourself to research what is in the candy if you’re still feeding it to your kids (or yourself!).
Opt for natural candy like fruit leather (not Fruit-roll-ups) or organic, non-gmo, dye free, lollipops. You can also obviously forgo candy altogether and hand out/give your kids things like stickers, clementines, bubbles and mini nut butter packets.
3) The painfully obvious ways we gender stereotype.
The rest of the year it might be more subtle, but come Halloween it becomes very obvious how the world generally sees boys and girls (or men and women). If you just do a simple Google image search of “girl Halloween costumes” you will see A LOT of dresses and tutus. The boys costumes tend to reflect cultural idols like Superman or Terminator. They also reflect what we think of as “manly” jobs. Firemen, farmers, and construction workers. Girls costumes are often anything sexualized. A cat made sexy, a cop made sexy, or a teacher made sexy. Heck, we can even pull off sexualizing the dead. I like the way Dakota Student puts it:
“Women are still objectified and turned into little better than objects to serve men. Men are still held to unreasonable expectations of masculinity and are expected to be unable to control their sexual natures. Now after the Halloween masks come off, it’s just hidden in the normalcy of our society. “This is who I am and need to be, who am I to question it?” becomes the unspoken mantra after Halloween. We no longer get to play with identity, so we fall back into the societal expectations.
This is not only terrifying to me, but it’s also harmful to everyone. We have become so ingrained in our views of the roles of men and women that it takes a caricature of them to point out the absurdity of our expectations. But now that the costumes are put away, how do we continue to see and talk about society’s attempt to pigeonhole genders?”
Read the whole article titled “Halloween costumes makes suggestions about gender roles,” HERE.
Now before I get accused of something that I am not suggesting, I want to say that I am all for boys dressing as spiderman and girls wearing dresses. What I want is the deeply ingrained assumptions about who wears what to trickle away. In order for this to happen, we have to be willing to question our own conditioning around gender roles.
4) The impending presidential election.
The rates of overall citizen dissatisfaction of both presidential candidates is at an all-time high. I know many people really discourage voting your conscience in an effort to keep one villain out of office, but the theory of voting the lesser of two evils has never sat well with me. It feels helpless and very non-democratic. Do we even care that these people are the only two options given to represent you and your friends and family? Where is the outrage? If the government agenda and corruption isn’t obvious to someone by now, then it may never be. What is scary is that with a majority agreeing that government is corrupt and that the people are not being represented, there is still an overall morale of apathy. In my opinion, feeling like you must vote for someone because you have the “right” to is like saying you have to drink a gallon of Vodka because you can. Or that somehow we owe it to someone (our country, perhaps?) to vote because we were given this “right.” Being told that it is your obligation to vote because you were given the “right” is used to guilt and shame people who do not fully buy into the government and corporation orchestrated lies. A true right is no one else’s to give you. A true right is given to your freely by virtue of being human. As Larken Rose so often states, “what you are voting for is the illusion that the people are still in control.” Don’t let anyone guilt you into voting for someone who you disagree with or feel uncomfortable about voting for. Voting was meant to represent you, and as long as we follow the idea that it’s about voting the lesser of two evils then we will always have evil. I know we can do better.
At the end of the day it is important to ask the big questions: “Why do I need to be governed?” “Why do we believe that it’s crucial to hand our power over to one person?”
Many people will fight and resist these notions and claim that without government there would be chaos. That’s the fear mongering idea that has been passed down to us in order to keep us upholding the current system. That the world is bad and we need “authority” to help us. To understand more of statism and how it works, please watch this short video:
Those are the four things that frighten me more than haunted houses. Actually, I like haunted houses. I don’t like all the lies and corruption that goes on in this country. With that said, I can safely say that I think more people are waking up and that there is a sweet new horizon in the future. Until then, focus on your most immediate world. Your friends, your family, your health, your community. You will then see that it is not at all as bad as it seems. The world changes when we first change ourselves and our ideas. Happy Halloween, everyone!