I’m going to come right out and say it. I hate Halloween. Hate. It.
I suppose I should clarify and say that I really just hate what it has become. Back when I was a kid, Halloween was pretty awesome. I loved getting the candy, natch. I won’t say I loved getting dressed up, because that part I mostly just tolerated. I would never be anything really scary or ugly, I just didn’t like transforming myself that way, and frankly I still don’t. I wouldn’t wear a mask or a lot of face makeup, so my long-suffering mother who made all our costumes growing up would do her best to make me look basically like me, but with added flair I guess. My mother, who is really creative and gets into the whole costume thing could never really understand me. But then that’s nothing knew.
Anyway. Halloween was so much fun at school – a parade of costumes, a small party in the classroom. And then, the big night once it got dark! It was alway so exciting and decadent to be out after dark, the anticipation of wondering what sorts of treats we’d get, how far we’d get to go (the boundaries changed each year as we got older) where we would hook up with our friends, and the excitement of wandering the streets with them, and then the running home to empty the bags and sort through the loot. Magic.
Maybe it’s just because I’m old, but I have started to really resent the commercialization of the occasion. Now I realize that it’s always been kind of commercial, I mean it’s an occasion to celebrate Nestle and Cadbury and Tootsie Rolls, so really it’s not like there was any mystical and reverent attachment to it. Okay no, I realize that there is, for a certain group of people, I’m just saying that for most of North America it’s a candy grab and an excuse for dressing up goofy and making an ass of yourself at a bar in a vampire costume while hitting on a sexy nurse. Urgh.
Until The Musician and The Artist were of an age to get into the whole Halloween thing, we played it pretty cool in our house. Costumes for the boys, sure. A jack-o-lantern, naturally. Maybe even a door decoration and a couple of Halloween-themed bowls, in order to have the trick-or-treat candy housed in something festive. Ah, but then. Then, they got older and had more definitive ideas of what we and our house “needed” to be properly set for the occasion. Fake cobwebs! “Caution” tape on everything! Halloween lights – like Christmas lights, only pumpkin shaped. And on, and on. It chills me to my very soul, and not in a spooky Halloween way, no. More of a “how the fuck did I get here, why do I own all of this crap?” sort of way. Last year my mother thought it would be a good idea to order one of those electric blow-up lawn decorations for us – 3 ghosts riding on a pumpkin sled – OMG how adorable! And how huge! I came close to strangling her with the cord. Clearly this is her way of getting back at me for my non-performance of Halloweens past. But the boys? They eat that shit up the way Hallmark and Party Packagers intend them to. The Artist still laments that our house “isn’t quite spooky enough”, and waxes eloquently about turning our front yard into a graveyard complete with motorized hands and bodies rising out of fake graves. The day it comes to that, I volunteer to be one of the bodies – but I want to really be dead, in a real grave.
Is it a sign of old age that I am nostalgic for the simpler times of Halloween? Possibly. And granted, since I was never all that into Halloween in the first place, perhaps my impressions are a bit clouded. But, you need only to visit one of the “Halloween Headquarters” type places that are hawking so much plastic and shit for the season to realize that it probably ranks right up there with Christmas now in merchandise and just, stuff. And I really, really hate the stuff. And while all this Halloween stuff is clogging the aisles, waiting in the wings is the Christmas stuff. Sometimes they co-exist – Pagan and Christian holidays side by side in an ebony and ivory sort of way. If it wasn’t all about plastic shit for sale, I might even get a little misty.
Maybe I should just suck it up and let the boys have their fun. Sure fake caution tape and nylon cobwebs aren’t the height of taste and class, but whatever. It’s just that we have spent the past few years trying, really trying to simplify and declutter and streamline our household that the idea of bringing more and more crap into the house for a non-holiday that I just barely tolerate is very unappealing. Eventually they’ll outgrow it, I know, and I’ll probably end up feeling nostalgic for the plastic skeleton and ghost candle holders and the blow up lawn decoration and the….wait. No. No, I won’t.
So officially a curmudgeon now? Hell to the yeah. And do not even get me started on Valentine’s Day.