Although I’m a fan of Halloween, I’m not that good at it. Perhaps I can explain. I mean I’m not that good at dressing up in costumes. It’s probably a self-conscious thing, even when I was a kid I probably went as a hockey player most of the time, although I do remember a green martian outfit, complete with TV antennas, that makes me smile.
But as I got older, like most guys, I put less and less into it and the costumes and creativity diminished, so it’s like anything in life, you get as much out of it as you put into it, I guess.
One time my wife and I won the “Most Confusing Costume Award” at a Halloween party. That’s the politically correct way to give an award for the worst costume of the night. Part of the problem was I left half the costume in the car because I didn’t want to carry around a hook all night, but that’s just an excuse, or sour grapes, I guess.
But we’re over that now, besides it was probably 20 years ago, and we’re not friends with those people anymore anyway sooooo…..
…..maybe that’s it, the fear of rejection or ridicule if you get a costume wrong. But putting yourself out there is also the fun of it and no risk, no reward, so go for it and enjoy the festivities. But if you see a hockey player wearing an old Hartford Whalers jersey out there, it just might be me, not that you couldn’t tell anyway……..
But my problem with costumes aside, I like the holiday (well, no day off so its status is questionable) for a number of reasons.
The top reason might be because it is so politically incorrect. Tee, hee.
After all it’s about death and such, which is pretty weird when you think about it but maybe something our death-denying society should take a look at from time to time.
I mean poking fun at the afterlife is pretty odd too but we often ridicule what we don’t understand, maybe as a defense mechanism since we’re all heading there someday folks.
Cheery stuff eh?
But ironically it is, as you might as well have fun with it, at least once a year. And if you check the stuff Hollywood puts out on a regular basis – horrors, vampires, thrillers – obviously there’s money in scaring the crap out of everybody on the planet.
And then there’s Halloween’s encouraging playing tricks on people? Well, not so much anymore of course. Some of the stuff we did as kids they would classify as terrorism (firecrackers were legal then and we blew up everything we could get our hands on, just try to imagine allowing your kids to roam the streets with small explosives today) and/or vandalism, eggs were a favourite device and looking back maybe some of the more enthusiastic participants should’ve been dealt with by the authorities.
And being OK with disguising oneself and knocking on stranger’s doors asking for goodies under the threat of tricks?
That’s so wrong on so many levels these days it has to be right.
Like I’ve written before, when else do we actually interact with our neighbours? When do we let our kids loose in the cul-de-sac to have unstructured fun with other kids (under close adult supervision, of course)? How else are we going to get all that free candy that lasts until Christmas?
As some of us well-meaning types would like to ban the holiday to protect our kids from evils like candy and spooky stuff, we would be wise to keep in mind the community feel of Halloween – including the bonfires and fireworks that draw people out of their locked-up homes and out to meet their neighbours and friends in a positive, life-affirming environment.
There’s a reason why most childhood memories revolve around Halloween and Christmas, they’re larger than life and sometimes downright surreal. A welcome break from everyday life.
So enjoy. And good luck with the costume.
—Glenn Mitchell is the managing editor for The Morning Star