I don’t know when it happened. But somewhere along the line, I have grown to hate Halloween. In with homeownership and life insurance and utility bills. Out with Lick-M-Aid, UNICEF boxes and caramel apples.
I think this metamorphisis has something to do with all the dreaded adult costume parties I am forced to attend each year, and the $30 worth of candy I know I’ll be handing out to the little ingrates who will rifle through the bowl and take more than one piece.
Lest I officially turn into a crotchety old fuck, I must try to conjure up what Halloween was like when I was eight. The fun-size candy bars. The suffocating plastic masks. The scent of crunchy leaves, popcorn balls and bonfires hanging like heavy canvas in the crisp nighttime air.
Before we all were introduced to Michael Myers or Damien or Carrie, Halloween was innocent and pure. It was one magical night in which we could trot from door to door without having to sell magazines or popcorn. We could all be someone else — a princess, a Stormtrooper, Holly Hobbie, or a hobo. Oh yes, who could forget the dreaded hobo costume. That was the year Mom put off the costume search until October 30th, and all that was left were the XXS costumes.
My older brother and I would run home from school, eager to don our masks. We’d prance around the living room in full regalia, too excited to eat dinner or sit down for even one episode of Sanford and Son. Every chance I got, I’d preen in front of the bathroom mirror, wondering what it would be like if I could only look like Snow White or a Care Bear all the time.
When the blackness finally blanketed the day, we’d cowboy up and head out. None of this 4:00 – 6:00 bullshit you see today. Pansy asses, the whole lot of them. I’m half-tempted to hand out mini toothpastes to anyone who darkens my door before 7:00. Or what about these kids who are hovering at your door just as you’re getting home from work? They deserve apples — sour green apples. The kind that give you the shits that make your bunghole burn.
Candy fiends that we were, my older brother and I would go out for hours. Miniature marauders in masquerade, searching for the sugary booty that was our birthright. When we finally got too cold to go on, or we noticed that only the big kids dressed in black trenchcoats were lurching about, we’d race home.
Once in safe confines, we’d dump out our plastic orange pumpkins to sort out our loot. Snickers, Milky Way, M&M’s — ANYTHING with chocolate was premium. Lifesavers, Tootsie Rolls and candy cigarettes was second tier. Bringing up the rear was the reject candy — Bit O’ Honey, Dum Dums, Sugar Daddies — all ASS. These morsels would be relegated to the bottom of the pumpkin, only to be eaten when all other rations had been inhaled. For most kids, this was well into December.
Upon sorting their candy, all good children would would eat a piece or two, and then hand their pumpkin to Mom for placement atop the fridge. Me, I’d eat all the good stuff, right there in front of the TV as an episode of “That’s INCREDIBLE!” played out. Incredible, indeed.
Yes, it seems the rubber band on my mask had snapped, as did my attempt to stretch my candy supply for more than a few days. I’d be well into Good N’ Plenties before I’d finally plateau and swear off candy for at least another year.
Hmmm. Now that I think about it, maybe my current despise of Halloween isn’t so much dread as it is me coming off a 30-year sugar high. Now THAT is a bit scary.