What is your deal, Halloween? No other holiday seems to have such an identity crisis as you.
You’re like the Crazy Aunt Everybody Avoids of the holiday family. And now that my son is ready to partake in some form of your existence, I’d like to know which Halloween is going to show up this year.
When I was a kid, Halloween meant one thing: lots and lots of candy. Going to the nice neighborhoods and taking them for all they had. The only thing we had to worry about was a disenchanted youth trying to pilfer our spoils, or the occasional hornswoggling parent who would try to slip an apple or carrot sticks into our overstuffed pillow cases.
Then came the stranger danger phase. One kid in one town in the middle of nowhere bit into an razor-blade-laced apple. Remember that old wives tale? Parents round the country went berserk, and some of the fun was forever lost. Halloween had lost its innocence.
And then somewhere in the last few years, Halloween morphed once again into its current entity, an adult drunkfest, wherein women are sold ridiculously suggestive costumes of beer wenches, nurses and schoolgirls. Pretty much any stereotypical male fantasy you can name, they make a short, sultry version of a costume for. It’s like Halloween is a freshman in college. Where, exactly, did it all go wrong?
I blame my generation. We don’t want to let things go, we have a real nostalgic bend to us. But much in the same way that my favorite movie growing up (Rad) has not aged well, some things are better left as fond memories. I mean, have you watched a Growing Pains rerun lately?
Not only do our perceptions and tastes change, but it’s also a harsh fact that not everything translates well into adulthood. There are exceptions, like Fireball Island, the greatest board game ever invented, but this is somewhat of an anomaly. Case in point: A few years ago, I bought myself a Slip n' Slide. One of those things I never had as a kid, always wanted. Set it up in the driveway, took one fateful head-first lunge down it, skinned my elbow and knee something fierce, threw it away immediately in a cursing rage.
But my real problem with Halloween, I must confess, is my own laziness. I can come up with any number of creative costume ideas, but I never seem to follow through. It’s frankly just a lot of work. Bub and I were going to go as Dr. Evil and Mini-Me this year, but, as usual, I started thinking about having to find those matching gray suits, shaving Bub’s head, the hairless cat, etc. It quickly got complicated.
So now the only real question we have to answer is should we stay or should we go? Do we totally exploit our son as a candy magnet, knowing full well he has no teeth, can’t have sugar anyway, and go collect a monstrous cache of treats on his behalf? Sounds delicious. Or do we take the high road and pass candy out to the neighborhood kids? I suppose we could do a bit of both, right?