Two Reasons Not to Like Halloween


Some people are always trying to kill the fun.


stillife

There are many reasons not to like Halloween. The top two? Pirates and trick-or-treating. 

I don't know why so many adults insist on dressing up as pirates for Halloween. I don't care for pirates--not even slutty lady-pirates--because with pirates comes pirate talk. Arrrg Matey! The British Governours-General in the West Indies had it right: pirates belong in iron cages hanging outside the courthouse. 

But trick-or-treating? What kind of Grinch-o-lantern doesn't like trick-or-treating? 

Perhaps my heart is two sizes too small, but even as a kid I was not a fan of playing dress-up and knocking on doors asking for handouts. It was awkward and degrading. 

"And what are you, little boy?" 

What am I? I'm a friggin' knight, lady. You see my sword and shield and tin-foil helmet? I worked on this costume for three days. It totally rocks and you ask me what I am!? And what's this? Three stupid Jolly Ranchers? This is total crap. 

"Thaaank you, ma'aaam!!!" 

I would have been happier saving the costume for slaying dragons in the backyard and dropping 50 cents at the corner store to get a full-size Charleston Chew in a flavor of my choosing. I also resented wearing my costume to school only to be marched around like a show pony. I'm a snicker-from-the-sidelines kind of guy, not a majorette. 

The only time I got a real thrill out of Halloween was the year of the razor-blades-in-apples epidemic. You remember, the year parents and teachers worked themselves into a panic because, in quiet suburban neighborhoods across the country, people were sticking razor blades into trick-or-treat apples. Thousands of children were dying because of booby-trapped Pippins.

Now that was exciting. 

I knew early on that pagan zombies did not rise from the dead and hide behind trees, ready to pounce on kids with lousy costumes. But is was conceivable that someone would put a razor blade in an apple. Hmmm, which of my neighbors is the closeted child-killer this year? Wooohahaha! 

But even this thrill wasn't worth the humiliation of trick-or-treating. And the thrill itself soon faded, once it became clear this story was just one more of those urban myths that freak parents out beyond all reason. If it's not razor blades, it's something else, like homemade brownies laced with PCP. 

Halloween terrifies many parents, which is why groups like the US Consumer Product Safety Commission publish guidelines to help kids have a fun and safe time out there in the brutal October chill. I wont 't haul out that worn cliche about our modern safety-first culture sucking the unsupervised fun out of the (stupid) things kids used to do back in the good old days. I'm for anything that undermines the fun of Halloween, if it means no more trick-or-treating. Besides, reflective tape on a six-year-old jacked up on Jujubes is a sound idea any time of the year.

I am tired, however, of this perennial fear that death lurks behind every third door. Even entry-level psychopaths know that kidnapping or poisoning their neighbors' kids on the most supervised night of the year is bad for business. If there's ever a safe time to talk to strangers, it's Halloween. And have you ever tried to stick a razor blade in an apple? It's damn near impossible. 

But we don't even need to get to the level of what a psychopath would or wouldn't do to see the absurdity of this kind of hysteria. Just ask yourself, would your kids ever eat something that doesn't come in a candy wrapper? An apple!? Please.

I'm not worried about the kids. I just want them to look both ways when crossing the street, use their manners, and be home by 8. I'll be hiding in the basement wrapping my fingers in gauze. 


Photo credit: ZURBARAN, Juan de, Still-Life With Plate of Apples and Orange Blossom, 1640 (webgalleryofart.com)



Copyright 2013 Paul J. Rasmussen