I’ll just cut to the chase. I hate Halloween. I didn’t really enjoy it as a child, and I grow to dislike it more and more every year. It’s strange because I love autumn, I think parties are great and enjoy the occasional candy from time to time, particularly when it’s given to me for free. But the combination of all these things with the added “delight” of putting together a creative costume just delivers me to a place of eye-rolling exhaustion. It’s not merely that I am a burgeoning curmudgeon, though that is also very true. I have reasons.
Like dressing up in costumes and passing out candy themselves, my hatred of Halloween is a tradition passed on for generations. My mother hates Halloween. She put on a great show when we were young. She was game enough to dress us up in costumes, like when she put me in a clown suit and encased me in a brightly colored cardboard box, so that I could be a Zach in the Box. I noticed, as we got older, though, that she could no longer pretend. Rather than buying candy to hand out to young neighbors, she would dim the lights and pretend not to be home.
I was surprisingly alright with this. I never really got into the spirit of Halloween. Being led around in costume dog and pony show while being asked to perform only to have pennies and stale candy thrown at me on a cold night was not my idea of a great time. When you think about it, it’s only a microphone and a panel of creepy judges away from being “Toddlers and Tiaras.”
Plus, you guys, I was very allergic to chocolate as a child. I’ve grown out of it since then, but having chocolate given to me only to have it taken away scarred me for life.
I got older and discovered some small amount of utility for the holiday. It turns out that Halloween could be a lot of fun if you added copious amounts of alcohol. Even then, for me I was just drinking myself into forgetting the last minute pressure of having to find a costume that always ended up being more expensive than I thought it would be. The past couple years I observed Halloween, I ended up dressing as some variation of nerdy white guys. I was Harry Potter, Waldo of Where’s Waldo Fame and a sailor with super tight pants and glasses.
When people dress up as other people then drink their self-consciousness away, they lose all sense of boundaries. You’ve haven’t felt alone in this world until you’ve been groped by an old man dressed as Santa while you were dressed like Harry Potter at Woody’s.
Now I feel the pressure of my neighborhood to hand out candy to ungrateful brats. Some children are delightful, but most are menaces. Last year I had a 10-year old girl dressed as a pregnant teenager (“What, you don’t respect pregnant teens?” she challenged me) steal half my candy. Back in my day, I’d have to perform an entire cabaret before having a bite size pack of Necco Wafers tossed at my feet. Now, every child feels entitled to candy whether they make an effort or not. Then again, the faster my candy disappears, the quicker I can go to bed and hide.
I’m not even emotionally stable enough to discuss my fear of mischief night and flash mobs.
We’re in an age of fatigue of the scary thing. Vampires and werewolves sparkle, fall in love and are punished for premarital sex. Zombies are on every television show. To be scared, really scared, these days, you have to read the Freeh Report on Penn State or watch Fox News.
When you ask me about Halloween, I’ll have just one word for you: Boo!