Quote of the Day (a few minutes after the day is over) “Candy, Candy, Candy I can’t let you go; all my life you’ve been haunting me, I loved you so.” –Iggy Pop, Candy
People love Halloween. TB thinks its ok. Specifically, but in no particular order, and segue-free (it’s late), here are some observations on what is to me, an overrated occasion:
- I’ll accentuate the positive. In the past, above all what made Halloween worthwhile to me were “slutty nurses”, “slutty flappers”, “slutty tigresses”, “slutty witches”, etc.
- Of course the abundance of candy from “trick or treating” is the best known benefit of Halloween. Candy variety is great as is the surprise factor. But I think there is a special punishment waiting in the afterlife for people in good neighborhoods that give out one tootsie roll, one jolly rancher, or any number of Mary Janes. I’ve always been unnaturally bitter about these houses. I don’t know why.
- I can’t remember a time when I liked dressing up in a costume. I wish I liked it because I see people having a good time with it. This personal distaste I trace back to the crummy plastic costumes of the 1970’s. Here I thought I was going to look like Batman or a pirate and all I get is a rigid, crinkly piece of plastic and a suffocating mask with a defective rubber band. And I looked nothing like Batman or a pirate.
- What I liked most about Halloween as a kid was the freedom. Five o’clock meant heading to Eastlawn Elementary for the school carnival which always engendered a sense of excitement and endless possibility. An hour later the realization that my costume sucked, the prizes for the games were junk, and I would never win a cakewalk had hit home and sucked the energy out of the holiday. But practical thinker that I was, I never let my disillusionment with another Halloween prevent me from heading out after the carnival down Woodhaven Street, over to Singing River and across to Eastwood and Westwood, collecting my loot and staying out as long as possible, sometimes on a school night, without adult supervision and with enough other kids known to be outdoors to make anything plausibly deniable. Mischief without consequences…this was freedom.
- I hate giving out candy at the door. Don’t get me wrong….I buy good candy and always make sure each plastic pumpkin gets both quality chocolates and sweet treats. And I’m happy to give it away, especially to the little ones. But I never know what to say. After awhile I begin to feel dishonest and hypocritical saying “you look so scary”, “you look just like Batman”, or “your the prettiest princess I’ve seen.” Most of these kids probably know they look nothing like they had in mind when they got their idea of what to be, and it just cheapens the whole experience to say otherwise. And I hate that the kids have to say the perfunctory magic words, without enthusiasm, at house after house, just because the man says they must. I don’t want to be an enforcer of that oppression and conformity! I think I could enjoy passing out the candy more if it were just open and honest. I think the kid would feel better if I said, “dude, I’ve been there. A pirate sounds good, but it’s hard to make your vision come off just right, ain’t it?”
- I always try to look in the kids’ pumpkins to see what kind of stuff they’re bringing in this year. It gives me a good idea about the economy (saw lots of tootsie rolls and candy corn this year–not good), and tells me a bit about the neighbors.
- I’ve come to be more tolerant of people bringing their kids in from foreign neighborhoods, but I get a little steamed about 15 year olds holding pillow cases in my face. If I knew where you could buy Mary Janes I’d fix them good. Or if it were plausibly deniable I’d egg their cars.
- This year I walked around with my little girl. We expected to hit about three houses and be done. But the kid knew a good thing when she saw it. She clutched her cousin the princess’ hand in one of hers and her pumpkin in the other and determinedly marched all over Oxford collecting items concerning which she had no knowledge or experience. She did not know why people were putting things in her pumpkin, nor what she would do with it, but she knew that she liked it. Up one street and down another, patiently standing in lines at the most popular houses and waiting resolutely for slowly reacting benefactors on the side streets. She took nothing out of the pumpkin and carefully avoided eye contact with either of her parents. She neither spoke nor laughed. No crying, no running or disobeying. No resting. No attempts to remove the silly bunny ears from her head. It was as if she understood she was on a roll that could not be explained; one which she must not interrupt by doing anything to disrupt the moment. Not even two years old, yet she intuitively understands that you do not (mess) with a winning streak. Finally, her little legs could go no more. She acquiesced to being placed in her stroller and with pumpkin clutched firmly still, stared in catatonic reflection and exhaustion until we made it back home.
- Halloween was fun this year. I didn’t see any slutty flappers, but also no teens with pillow cases, and no Mary Janes, and I wasn’t called upon to hand out the candy; and I walked around foreign neighborhoods on a crisp night under a bright crescent moon with the prettiest princess and the funniest bunny and saw some really big smiles, even from the little one when she couldn’t hold it in any more. I can’t wait for Christmas.