Quick Hits – On Halloween

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 Sucks

“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.

 

3 thoughts on “Quick Hits – On Halloween

  1. Jeff! Halloween is AWESOME! I dressed as associate judge and taxpayer burden Marmarie Kostelny. Got a prosthetic big rear end, didn’t wash my hair for a week and caked on the makeup. My friend Sergio went as judge and extremely angry little man John Dalton! He wore shorty-shorts and a glitter shirt. We built a closet on a radio-flyer wagon, he’d ring the bell and I’d pop out! Even better, I got all the Reese’s cups and he only wanted kit kats and Baby Ruth. Innuendo!

  2. I saw a couple of very clever costumes this year:

    1) A guy in overalls, with a pitchfork head attached to the front and a Gothic window frame (made of white cardboard) strapped to his back. He pulled it off because he was tall, thin and balding, with wire-rimmed glasses — just like the guy in “American Gothic.”

    2) A woman at work in a trenchcoat. When she opened it, the insides of the coat and the front of her dress were covered in newspaper pages. News flash, get it?

    • My 22 year-old son really likes answering the door on Halloween so I pretty much let him do it which means I missed most of the costumes.

      But the two you cited do sound very creative!

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