Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Halloween: The Big Lame-Out

Is it me, or has Halloween become more sanitized than a frigging Ebola ward? I hate to sound like an old lady, but times have changed, and not entirely for the better. We are just so freaking uptight nowadays.

Take costumes, for example. In 1983, there were no rules regarding what could and couldn't be worn to school on Halloween. One year my mother, who had recently inherited a nasty old fur coat from a dead aunt, dressed me up as a 'movie star'. I wore a slinky dress that kept sliding down and exposing my kid-boobs, a blonde whore wig, and the aforementioned rat coat. I also carried a 'sophisticated' cigarette holder, attached to which was one of Mom's Parliaments.

It wasn’t at all unusual for boys to come to school dressed as horror movie villains or war victims or 'bums'. One year a boy came into our 5th grade class dressed as Aunt Jemima, complete with blackface and a pillow under his skirt to look like a big, fake booty.
Completely poor taste, yes, but you have to admit, pretty creative.

My daughter’s school doesn’t even allow costumes with fake blood. Notes go home the week before Halloween warning that if a child shows up in a costume deemed 'too scary', he or she will be sent home immediately. Oh, get over yourselves.

When I was little, my mom annually brought my sister and me to the drugstore, where we each picked out a $5 plastic piece of shit costume made to look like a Disney character or super-heroine. This 'costume' was basically a colored garbage bag which tied around the neck, and came with a plastic mask. The mask had tiny nose-holes you couldn't breathe out of, and the eye-holes were roughly cutout slits that often scratched your face. You definitely were in trouble should you wear the mask trick or treating after dark, because your peripheral vision was totally impaired. Whatever, though, you just asked your friend who wasn't wearing a mask to look out for cars.

Now, let's talk Trick or Treating. We used to traipse around the neighborhood unsupervised, a gaggle of kids ranging in age from toddler to maybe 10 years old. Now, the tradition of knocking on people's doors, asking for the one thing you are never supposed to accept from strangers, is in and of itself a weird tradition. But still. It seemed...I don't know, more organic back then. I remember one elderly lady yelling out the second-floor window of her house, telling us to come on in and grab some candy from the bowl in the foyer, because she was too infirm to make it down the steps.

We totally did.

A Mom’s only job back then was to check for razor blades in apples and pin holes in candy bars (in case someone injected some kind of poison into them? That really takes a certain amt. of dedication, by the way). Now, we all accompany our children trick or treating. Granted, we carry travel mugs of wine and vodka drinks, but we still all go.

They even have ‘trunk or treat’ now, where kids trick or treat out of their friends' parents cars all parked in a lot at the church. They even have trick or treating in malls to keep kids off the street. What the fuck is fun about trick or treating in a MALL? What do they give you? Cell phone cases? Sunglasses? Auntie Annie pretzels?

I don't know. It just seems like we might need to loosen the reins just a bit. Halloween used to be dark and somewhat sinister and nasty. But that's what made it fun.