–I try not to be an old sourpuss in life, but sometimes I can’t help myself when it comes to Halloween.
–Actually, I’ve never been a fan of Halloween. I ran a mostly sugarless, junk foodless and pop-less household for my children. While that may seem like a tough regime, I don’t think that it’s child abuse to have only milk, juice or water available. My theory was that if cookies and candy weren’t in the house, then there was nothing to argue about. My husband, however, occasionally stashed a few Hershey’s kisses in his toolbox.
–So here comes Halloween and, for the price of one baboon costume and many a “treat or treat,” there would be enough cache of sweets to turn any ordinary functioning child into a sugar-crazed trampoline junkie for a week. Anyone who has ever taught anything from kindergarten to ballet class knows how dysfunctional a sugared up child the day after Halloween.
–And somehow, “trick or treat” sounds suspiciously like an assault — “trick” (threaten harm) or “treat” (your wallet). But then the mean trick-or-treaters came back with more crimes, like razor blades in apples or some such unthinkable act. And the whole thing escalated into a potential terrorist act.
–Though I admit a few tears when my first-born wore his little bear outfit to a porch light next door, I worry now that we teach our children the basics of greed. Some older children don’t even bother to wear a costume. They just roam the neighborhood looking for whatever freebies are out there. There’s not even a “Thank you” or “(hee hee) trick or treat.” Just run to the next porch carrying a room-sized bag
–If we had stuck with the innocent spirits and magic of All Hallow’s Eve, or All Saint’s Eve, the October event sandwiched without fanfare between full moons and falling leaves might still be fun. Like don a sheet with slits cut out for the eyes or tiptoe about in a ballet tutu with pink slippers. I remember a costume contest in Junior High School. My mother was most inept about needle arts, so there was no sewing machine in the house to stitch up a creative costume. I wore a store bought cat-like outfit with stripes and a tail, but since it was cold, I had to open my jacket and top it off with a goofy grin that said “Guess what I am.”
–What I remember most about that contest, however, was a class mate whose costume was constructed out of shoeboxes and hardware paraphernalia that looked like an awkward astronaut stomping across the moon. He won, and I was jealous that his mother was so creative.
–And our “tricks” were little more than soaping a window or two. I think that was before the contemporary “TPing” houses prank where one modest roll of toilet paper turns into a forest of hanging tissue. I remember once that the morning after Halloween, a wayward outhouse found itself under the traffic light in the main intersection of town.
–The worst thing about Halloween is how it has escalated into a major industry. As soon as the summer grills disappear, the lantern lights, witch paraphernalia and spider webs appear. And aisles of terrorist-free candy, of course. No lawn should be without a cemetery stone or two with RIP on it. That’s to make sure that we continue spending money between summer and Christmas.
–So Halloween is one night in the year when my porch light stays off and I hide in the dark from phony festivities. May this holiday RIP!