One of my favorite books when I was a child, maybe 10 years old, was called “Dream of the Dead” and was a story about a ghost and everlasting love. It is a kids’ book, and it is deliciously creepy. I love that kind of story. My favorite authors in high school were Stephen King and John Saul, both masters of creepy. So you won’t be surprised that one of my favorite holidays is Halloween. I love ghosts and jump scares and haunted houses and scary stories, and Halloween is a holiday that seems to have been made for me. As I have gotten older (and wiser) I have also taken an interest in the history of Halloween and the ways other cultures honor the dead, such as Dia De Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, which is November 2.
Enter the pink ribbon. Before I tell you what I think of “breast cancer awareness month,” I want to state for the record that I appreciate with all of my heart the advances that have come out of breast cancer research. I am a breast cancer survivor, and I know that I have been afforded the best treatments available because of breast cancer fundraising.
But here’s the thing: My favorite holiday has been overshadowed by pink. The excitement of going into the grocery store and seeing orange and black and a fall motif everywhere has been hijacked by breast cancer displays, to the point that there are companies and customers out there who see it as a festive time of year – We are “celebrating” breast cancer awareness. For those of us who are breast cancer patients, it is a month of mixed emotions. It is nice to see people get behind this cause that will hopefully help all of us, past, present, and future, who are affected by breast cancer. But on the other hand, some cringe at those who make breast cancer awareness into a party with pink boas and pink decorations. I was recently asked to do a promotion for a local breast cancer awareness campaign, and I showed up looking professional in black dress pants and an emerald green shirt, as I was told not to wear white or anything with too busy a pattern. The rep who met me said, “Oh, everyone else has been wearing pink, but I really like that you’re not.” Pink does not look good on me, ironically, so I can be a face of breast cancer without it.
Back to Halloween…every year I mourn what I used to love about October – orange, black, brown, and red. Even in Florida, where those colors are not naturally found in the trees, the decorations reflect fall. So, help out the breast cancer cause if that is what you choose to donate to, but don’t forget to decorate and dress up for Halloween!