There are probably a million reasons why Halloween has started to suck hard over the past decade. But suck it does…
i still dress up, play, and use the holiday as an excuse to fart around with reckless abandon. It’s not as though i really need an excuse, mind you. The degree of commercialized contrivance has simply trumped everything i used to love about it.
Starting with Beggar’s Night. That’s when children are encouraged to dress up, wander their own neighborhoods collecting treats in the dark! My memories of Beggar’s Night are at the top of my childhood “Top Ten”.
We would plan our costumes for a month. Even as children, we weren’t big fans of the store-bought variety – with the hard plastic masks that were not only uncomfortable, but impossible to see through. In hindsight, we never came up with any particularly brilliant costumes, but it didn’t matter. They were ours.
The “Route Planning” would start about a week before the big event. We would be turned loose for two entire hours – after dark – and were limited by time and suburban geography as to how much turf we could cover. We’d draw maps of the neighborhood, identifying the shortest routes to cover maximum territory. The goal? Fill at least half a pillow case with loot.
With warnings from the parental units not to eat anything until it had been brought home and inspected for razor blades, tampering and whatnot, we generally ignored that shit, and ate the stuff we knew would be confiscated while we were on the road. Forty years ago, there were still sweet old broads who would make popcorn balls and caramel apples for trick-or-treaters!
We were daredevils. If Granny wanted to poison us, we’d take our chances!
Halloween sleep overs? The best! Listing to scary records, haunting the laundry room, and telling ghost stories until we were all shitting our collective shorts. One year, in the throes of the seasonal frenzy, we made a rather serious decorating faux pas which had lasting impact on a local family basement. We ran out of scotch tape to hang the ghost and goblin drawings, and we thought it a brilliant plan to use Elmer’s Glue instead. The parents were pissed, but patient, as it took us a couple of weeks to finish scrubbing all that crap off the walls.
Now? Whether it’s “Fear of Child Abduction” or “Fear of Stranger Poison” or “Fear of The Devil” or “Fear of Things We Can’t Control”, we’ve sucked that joy from our kids. Churches hold “Trunk or Treat” – good God People decorate trunks of automobiles and hand out candy to children in the church parking lot. Whooptie Fucking Doo.
Oh, and there are Harvest Festivals! More neo-religious influence trying to squash the pagan spirits and keep our babies out of hell. No ghosties and goblins or devils or witches! Pumpkins and inflatable bouncy castles and handing out pencils with bible sayings on them at the MegaChurch… Again, Whooptie Fucking Doo.
In my neighborhood, here in God’s Waiting Room, there are no trick or treaters. Zero. There are maybe two or three kids who live here in the suitable age range, but if i were them, i wouldn’t want to knock on the doors here either. If you’re lucky, you might score a Metamucil biscuit or some grapes…
Adults have further jacked up Halloween. Costume shops make it easy to just buy “persona du jour” off the rack. For us gals, it’s an excuse to be skanky*. For the gents? Seems to be a lot of cross-dressing. Any fantasy will do, and if you don’t have one? The racks at the Halloween Megastore can help you find one.
Nothing is as much fun as it was when we were kids. At least that’s how it seems. Probably because i’m now a crabby old fart. Makes me wonder, though, if the current generation will look back on their childhoods with the same sweet memories.
* Again, i don’t need an excuse. For the charity party i went to last night, my daughter had the good sense to stop me as i headed out and say “Jesus, Mom! Is that all you’re wearing? Can you cover those up a bit?” before loaning me a tube top to add a strategic layer to my costume…