“There is nothing funny about Halloween. This sarcastic festival reflects, rather, an infernal demand for revenge by children on the adult world.” – Jean Baudrillard
When I was a young kid, I liked Halloween. I liked the dressing up, I liked the parties, I liked the candy…I even liked the shaving cream fights with my friends. As I got older, the Halloween “traditions” just got more and more tedious. Dressing in costume became less fun and more chore-like. There was increased pressure to find a party or something fun to do, or look like a loser. AND, instead of getting candy, I was expected to give it out to kids…FOR FREE!
Living in New York City taught me to hate Halloween. Invariably, every year, on November 1st, I was treated to an impromptu, early-morning car wash to get the dried egg and shaving cream off. The worst years were the years when Halloween did NOT fall on a weekend because I’d have to leave extra early for work the next day to get to the gas station and use their hose, getting wet in the process and looking a mess when I finally arrived at work. There were always more eggs and shaving cream on my house to clean when I got home, and even on the sidewalk in front. All this while getting by on 2-3 hours of sleep because of all the noise outside all night.
Halloween is used as an excuse for people to behave like complete asses. It’s a day when people try to be as moronic as they possibly can because they feel it’s warranted and excusable. I don’t excuse any destructive vandalism no matter what the tradition or the “holiday.” Granted, I used to melt the nozzle on Barbasol cans when I was young so they would shoot further, and pack my “trick-or-treat bag” with a little toilet paper, but I’m not making excuses for myself. I was an ass! I was caught up in the peer pressure of Halloween. That peer pressure causes completely normal people to turn into morons on October 31st.
First, let’s talk about the peer pressure to dress in costume. When you’re a kid, the school usually “forces” you to dress in costume by sponsoring a Halloween parade, or some kind of costume contest. If you’re not dressed in costume on Halloween, you’re ostracized and made to feel like you don’t fit in. So, every kid dresses in costume, no matter whether they want to or not. The peer pressure doesn’t stop there. As you get older, the pressure continues. The “Halloween zealots” all have crazy Halloween parties and INSIST that you come dressed in costume. It’s just easier to tell them that I’m “going to another party” on Halloween now than to actually have to try to find a costume. People don’t understand that the whole history behind dressing for Halloween is rooted in the idea that the dead that rise from the grave should not be able to find you, so you disguise yourself from them. The cute “slutty cat” and Ninja Turtle costumes were not what the medieval Europeans had in mind.
Second, I have to talk about the vandalism that occurs on Halloween. I’m pretty sure this is only an American tradition, so international readers can skip this paragraph. When did Halloween become associated with throwing toilet paper on houses, spraying shaving cream on unsuspecting kids or tossing eggs at passing cars?!? When I was a kid, there were people that would spray Nair (a hair depilatory) at kids out of a fire extinguisher. This would cause the kids to lose their hair!! How is this not assault? Why is this given a by on Halloween? I know the police are out there saying they are “on extra watch,” but most policemen were Halloween hoodlems, themselves (as most teenagers are), and I’m sure they let many a vandal slide each year. All these people that throw eggs, spray shaving cream or in any way vandalize someone else’s property should be prosecuted. But, you NEVER hear about any prosecution or fines stemming from “Halloween mayhem.”
Third, let’s talk about costumes, in general. Is it me, or have costumes become less and less about what the person is pretending to be and more about how much the person can show off their body? I’ve seen men dressed as Borat in his wresting singlet or Chippendales dancers and women dressed as ANYTHING (as long as it’s slutty). Of course, there are still people who work hard to create a fun costume that’s not just a tight t-shirt and short-shorts, but they are becoming far fewer. Even “older” people, who should not be wearing these types of costumes seem to be holding fast the slutty/beefcake costumes that have pervaded the past 20 years of Halloween.
Lastly, I’d like to talk about the hype that surrounds Halloween. I will never understand the people who spend thousands of dollars buying moaning ghosts, moving vampire coffins, wailing pumpkins or screetching witches. These people over-decorate their homes and pour time, effort and money into NOTHING! What’s the point? It’s going to be there for 1 day and then it comes down…make room for the next holiday! Carving pumpkins, buying candy, just trying too hard…why?!?! I’m one of “those” people who, on Halloween, turns all the lights off and pretends he’s not home. I don’t want to be bothered every 5 minutes to run to the door and hand out candy, that I bought with my money, to people who threaten me with a trick if I don’t give it to them. Call me a Halloween Scrooge if you will, but I don’t see the point in this “holiday.” The only thing good that came from Halloween is It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It’s kind of nice to think that Halloween isn’t all about scary noises and slutty girls, that there is a benevolent spirit out there who will bring toys to all the good boys and girls. Unfortunately, that’s not true, and the Great Pumpkin doesn’t ever come. Halloween is all about hoodlems with eggs, annoying doorbell ringing late into the night and women showing their cleavage.
BAH HUMBUG…or rather…BAH HUM-BOO!!