WASHINGTON, October 15, 2012 ― Parents have some wacky ideas about Halloween and costumes. One year, my family found itself away from sunny Florida and I had this conversation with a friend, Matthew, back home about costume choices. It went a little something like this:
“I love this time of year, everyone getting ready for Halloween and then the rest of the holiday season. I’ve got Anakin Skywalker for Jacob and Zachary’s going to be Darth Vader,” I said.
“Enjoy this time with them. In a few years, it’ll be zombies and vampire slayers, fake blood, and girlfriends who dress up like hookers,” Matthew replied.
“Nice. Of course, I had to get gloves, hats, and winter coats out of storage, which means no one will be able to tell who they’re supposed to be when the blizzard hits. Should be fun.”
“I bet it’ll be nice back here in Florida,” said Matthew.
“Don’t rub it in,” I said. “So what’s your little boy going to be for Halloween?”
“Anthony is going to be a Crusader.”
“A what? I didn’t hear you right.”
“A Crusader,” he said.
I wait for the punchline. And wait. And wait.
“Why?” Matthew asked. “What’s wrong with being a Crusader?”
I blink into the phone. Hold it up and inspect it. I am talking to a crazy man. I clear my throat and try to speak clearly.
“What’s wrong with being a Crusader? You do realize I’m Jewish, right? And a former history teacher? Right?”
Crazy Man laughs.
“Come on, Catherine, it’s not as if he’s dressing up like a Nazi.”
“This is no different than putting him in a Nazi uniform or Ku Klux Klan outfit. The Crusaders were just as bad; they’re simply ancient history and therefore more remote. That’s all.”
“No way,” he said. ”It’s not that bad.”
“Look it up!”
“Anthony is adorable in his costume,” Matthew said. “He’s got the outfit, sword, and shield. I’ll send you a picture.”
“Tell you what,” I said. “We’ll fly back to Florida and you can have Anthony drag my sons around by their yarmulkes and then pretend to stab them with that adorable sword if they don’t convert. Onlookers will throw Skittles and Holy Water. It’ll be a hoot.”
“They were all barbaric back then. It’d be no different if he wore a Gladiator outfit or went as Atilla the Hun.”
“Those are our only choices?” I asked. ”What the heck happened to SpiderMan?”
I took a deep breath and went to my happy place.
“I shouldn’t be surprised you are transforming a beautiful and innocent child into a mass murderer,” I told him. “You voted for Bush after all. Twice.”
Can’t you just hear the neighbors as they answer the door?
“Oh look, honey, the kids are here. We have Cinderella, Winnie the Pooh, and a handsome boy with a red hot poker up a Jewish kid’s rear end!”
The Inquisition’s here and it’s here to stay.
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