You’re in for a real treat, Dear Reader! Because the passage below is the chapter on Halloween from my impending ‘The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Life’ book. Enjoy!
There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world. – Jean Baudrillard
I despise Halloween with the kind of red-hot passion I typically reserve for drivers who don’t know how to turn left. Here’s why!
As my lovely wife and I were enjoying a lovely mid-October evening stroll, I caught a bright orange glow out of the corner of my left eye. Turning to face the abomination, I sneered, “Would you look at that! One of the bleepin’ neighbors already has their bleepin’ Christmas lights up! There really oughtta be a law…”
But before I could finish my rather inspired rant, my sainted spouse interrupted it with something even more terrifying than Santa Claus in October, “Those aren’t Christmas lights, you idiot! They’re Halloween lights.”
“Halloween lights,” I exclaimed! “They can’t be Halloween lights because there’s no such thing as Halloween lights. Why, when I was a wee lad in Evanston, Illinois, no one dared display Halloween lights. They would’ve been the laughed out of the neighborhood.”
But upon closer examination, to my utter horror, that evening I discovered Halloween lights actually do exist. “Mother of all things holy,” I wailed doing my damndest not to start keening, rending garments and gnashing teeth.
It takes months to recover from the psychological damage inflicted by those optic-nerve-searing yuletide displays, and now we have to deal with another over-the-top holiday? Isn’t being forced to give all manner of disguised and ill-mannered urchins license to infest the neighborhood with their insatiable demand for a sugary tribute horrifying enough?
And the unplugged dioramas are even worse. They’ve gotten completely out of control. We’ll collectively gasp at a teenage Eminem wannabe with the temerity to flash the top of his boxer shorts, but we have no problem exposing two-year-olds to the kind of graphic scenes of blood, gore and dismemberment that Wes Craven couldn’t possibly have imagined.
Though I will say, it’s gonna be fascinating watching the PC people inevitably battle it out with those neighbors who insist on erecting scenes depicting lynchings.
Here’s a thought! If after installing your Halloween display, you’re either temporarily blinded or you can’t see a single blade of grass, you might want to tone it down a bit.
It ain’t all bad. Please don’t tell anyone this, but even this cold-hearted curmudgeon finds some solace in those children who don truly imaginative costumes. But that small pleasure is summarily shattered when a pack of tween girls show up in something that curls your toenails.
And we’re not talking about the good scary, either! As friend and former school board member Anne Blaeske likes to say, “Girls’ Halloween costumes come in three sizes; baby, toddler and slut.”
Do we really have to sexualize every aspect of our teenagers’ miserable middle school lives? Can’t we let them be children for just a little while longer?
But if you thought those costumes were depressing, the fascinating festive apparel they foist on adult women is even worse. Slutty nurse, slutty police officer, slutty firefighter, slutty teacher, and slutty doctor, just to name a few. Exactly when did Halloween became the de facto audition night for strippers?
And exactly when did Halloween become a binge drinking holiday, too? I’m not talking about partying in your basement – though that’s getting out of hand as well – I’m talking about parents’ inability to escort their treat-seeking miscreants a scant block without a bottle of beer in hand.
I considered handing out Bud Lites in lieu of candy this year, but then I realized I’d have to come up with bail money again.
And just when you think your end-of-October ordeal is finally over, dressed only as themselves with pillow cases in hand, the 6-foot-6 high school seniors show up at your front door at 9 p.m. If you so much as scowl at them disparagingly, odds are your house will look a lot like a giant roll of Charmin or the early stages of a Denver omelet the next morning.
C’mon! Halloween used to be a fun fall experience where elementary and middle school children could dress up as something fun and enjoy a bit of candy. But no! As it always is whenever adults get their grubby little hands on something, like the vampires their children love to portray, they suck any remaining vestige of childlike joy right out of it.
This is exactly the kind of thing our “bigger is always better” hyperactively competitive culture loves to engage in. Take something simple like youth sports, school events, or an autumnal celebration and blow it so far out of proportion that no one recognizes it anymore.
Only Americans could take a children’s celebration and turn it into a complete nightmare – and not the fun Elm Street variety, either. Though I suppose that does make it more terrifying than ever.