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…


On the way back from salsa dancing last Wednesday night, my dance partner and i realized that we needed some additional supplies for a Friday night Halloween party.  Stopping by one of the seasonal Halloween costume stores on the way home, i was a little concerned that i’d look out of place in the store.

pink skankOne of the things that gets me jazzed up for salsa is wearing a flippy skirt with heels and my “snap on” hair*.  Last week, i was also wearing a funky new top that i’d found on sale somewhere.  Hot pink, with just the right amount of “skank” to make it fun!

Slightly self-conscious about my get up – especially for a woman close to fifty years old – we went in and wandered the crowded aisles looking for the necessary costume bits for the Friday night gig.  Finding most of what was needed, we headed up to the check out line.

The young woman working at the register was a bit on the ‘goth side’.  She  was very tall, weighed perhaps 85 pounds, and had long straight black hair.  She went through the check out process and was bagging up my purchases…

goth clerk:  That’s a great top!  Where did you get that?

daisyfae:  Found it on-line.  It was marked down.  i think i only paid about twenty bucks for it…

goth clerk:  It’s just really different.  The styling is just great…

daisyfae [enjoying the attention]:  Thank you!  We go salsa dancing on Wednesdays, so this seemed perfect…

goth clerk:  That’s just something I really think my Mom would like…

daisyfae:  [nearly audible pop, deflating] Ummm…. right…. thanks!

As soon as we’re out the door…

daisyfae:  Fuck you, Stick Girl!  Shouldn’t you be at home listening to “Dashboard Confessional” and cutting yourself?


* Which also adds to the fun on the dance floor, as i can whack my dance partner in the face with a slug of polyester curls on the fast turns!  Keeps him on his toes!

Truly frightening

What’s not to like about Halloween?  You get to dress up, and pretend to be someone (or something) you’re not.  Little critters come to your door displaying full-spectrum adorability*.  You don’t have to spend time with family, buy presents or cook things.  Oh, and there’s chocolate!

Me?  i dress up.  From the year of the Elvii**, to Xena to Marge Simpson, i’m a big fan of costuming for the holiday.  This year, a great Friday night party option dropped at my feet… Let the games begin!  Swiping the idea from the “barney huntress” from a few years back, i dragged my “partner in costume crime” to every thrift store in the city.

Successfully capturing our quarry – as many stuffed Elmo’s and Cookie Monsters as we could carry – we spent last Saturday night in my dining room.  Listening to tunes and decapitating our prey.  Skinning stuffed animals for their pelts?  Strangely satisfying.  Lost in our task, it was after midnight when The Boy and three of his friends emerged from the billiards room downstairs… to encounter my friend wearing a baby blue fur loincloth at the top of the stairway.  And nothing else. 

cookie monster slayer: Hey.  How ya doin’?

The look on their faces was precious.  Well, The Boy didn’t flinch.  Been there.  Seen it all before… 

daisyfae:  What?  Your parents don’t do this shit?

Apparently not.  We went on to explain the costume concept – cookie monster in his loincloth and me wearing nothing more than a bra and a red fur sarong.  As the pack calmed down from their initial shock, i mentioned that we were, in fact, “Furries“***.  This was met with instantaneous shock and disgust by the one member of The Boy’s entourage who knew what i meant!

J:  Oh my GAWD!!!  That’s DISGUSTING!  I saw that on CSI

The final result?  Quite fetching, don’t you think?  My favorite aspect was the Elmo pelt hanging around my waist – complete with working “voicebox”.  When i bumped him, or accidently caught him in the car door?  The headless little bugger would still chatter excitedly – sometimes even vibrating enthusiastically!

Elmo: That Tickles!  Toss Elmo!

Right.  “Toss Elmo into the Fire” is more like it….

Be Afraid.  Be Very Afraid...

Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid...

 More pics at the flickr site

* This was the first year i had ZERO trick-or-treaters on Beggars’ Night.  Sad.  i used to live for this – sitting on the porch, in costume, with a basket of full-sized candy bars for the kiddies.  And a small cooler of chilled beer for the parents… Even dressed up the damn dog.  Carved punkins like a madwoman. (sigh).  i moved to Oldsville this year.  No one drops their kids off to run the neighborhood at Geriatric Condo Central.  Fuck.  i may have to crash in with friends next year…

** The last year the kids let me dress them for Halloween, we were the Three Elvii – Big Elvis, Medium-Sized Elvis and The Littlest Elvis.  i made three matching white satin jumpsuits, with capes and sequins. We were quite the hit on Beggar’s Night!  Teaching your 4 year old son to say “Thank you.  Thankyouverymuch”  – complete with “lip twitch” – after receiving candy?  Perhaps reason enough that he’ll never let you costume him again…

*** Technically, we decided we were “Plushies”, rather than “Furries”, since Elmo and Cookie Monster are stuffed creatures, rather than cute anthropomorphic woodland critters.