Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Thanks to Xian Pitt for the photo.
Thanks to gregodactyl for the topic. Not edgy and reeking of whatever the hipster-literary elite take for 'funny', but a solid topic.

It's hard not to get nostalgic about Halloween. Wait, not nostalgic, what's that other thing? Diabetic shock.

Well, ok, and nostalgic.

Halloween is a bloody great holiday. A truly kids holiday. Staying out late in the dark, wearing costumes meant to maximize pedestrian danger, and all to get candy. Remember when it was all the rage to dress as a ninja? Black mask, black top and pants, running around with swords? How did any child make it through that not shot or with a large American auto-maker's logo embossed on their forehead?

And the loot! Those candy corns and related sweets that one ate only at Halloween. The McDonald's coupons for a free cone that you swear that this year, you are sooo going to use. The mini-candy bars that tasted somehow entirely different from just a small bite from a bigger bar. The Holy Grail, the full-sized candy bars given out, invariably, by the rich, childless couple at the end of the street with the impossibly long drive-way, who were always in Europe, and just set out the candy bars on an 'honour system'. You can tell they both neither had children and don't remember the 'Lord of the Flies' power struggles that arise around free candy.

It's also about danger. Superstitions and evil and so forth. Death and skeletons and zombies oh my! The Occult! Some of the more bloodthirsty druids! Witches, but not like the friendly Wiccan down the road with the sleep apnea, chronic fatigue, and adult onset diabetes. Witches as they were meant to be. Hungry for children! Cauldrons!

I get sucked right back into my childhood when Halloween rolls around. The somehow eternally morose Charlie Brown specials with the Great Pumpkin really gets me in the mood. (What was it about smooth jazz in the 80's? It seemed to be everywhere. Mr. Rogers, Peanuts, Safeway. Which for the adults, I guess, made it really modern and cool, but to me as a kid, made me consider 'depressing' a musical genre).

Our neighbourhood had everything that is necessary for a true Americana Halloween. The Neighbour Who Hated Children (possibly beat them or shot at them with some sort of home-made riot gear), the Older Cool Kids Who Owned A Datsun, the Ultra Mean Dog That You Swear You Heard From Your Best Friend's Uncle Ate A Kid a While Back.


All things in childhood becomes iconic, totemic, the base from which all other experiences become allegorical to. Cool is only experienced as a mere flutter of how cool it was when The Older Cool Kid With The Datsun took off one side of his walkman for the half-second it took him to look at you with mild recognition and say, 'Hey'. Fear as only a shadow of that insidious, slithering thing that crawled in your belly when you looked up the driveway to the Neighbour Who Hated Children. Greed as a mere whisper of the sensation you got holding an entire pillow case chock-full of enough candy to shut down the pancreases of twelve grown men.

And no holiday will ever be as cool, indulgent and opulent as Halloween. Looking cool in a sick Darth Vader costume, while in constant danger from whatever terrors the neighbourhood provides, to say nothing of the serial killer they say once lived a week and a half in Mr. Henderson's shed; the promise of more and more candy; the almost freedom of running around in the dark with friends.

God, being an adult really sucks.

1 comment:

Monkfish said...

But surely this is why you had a child. You can now go around and re-live your Halloween experiences taking your 3 month old door to door.

Since you love Halloween so much, I am waiting expectantly to see your submission to The Company Pumpkin Carving Competition.