Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween: a most horrible, dreaded celebration

Hump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial Page

On Facebook, Twitter and my blog, I start counting down the days to Christmas beginning in January. It drives people nuts. Most take the bait and leave frustrated and nasty comments -- some of them quite funny.

Now that Christmas is less than two months away, the negative comments are decreasing as everyone is starting to resign themselves to the fact that Santa Claus is in full list-keeping and toy-making modes. The elves are not allowed to take sick days -- not even for H1N1 -- and the reindeer are getting daily steroids shots for that long trip around the world on Christmas Eve.

I wish I could say the same about Halloween, my most dreaded and hated holiday of the year. Why this horrible event even exists is beyond me. A holiday built around passing out free candy to beggars and scaring people out of their wits? Sorry, but I'll take any day of the year over that -- even National Stapler Appreciation Day (hey, even office supplies need some lovin') or Bring a Deceased Loved One's Ashes to Work Day (not recommended if you work in a kitty litter testing lab).

Halloween is to dentists like the week before Christmas is to retailers. If you don't make money that week, you might as well write off the entire year. If it's not the kids coming in with disintegrated teeth from all the sugar, it's teary-eyed parents coming in holding some sort of sticky chewed up treat with a $1,000 dental crown stuck in it.

And don't even get me started on the pumpkins. These honourable gourds sit ripening in fields all summer only to be unceremoniously assassinated in the middle of roads by teenagers throwing them into traffic.

I gave up trying to give out organic treats. I once contemplated giving out some sort of sugar-free whole wheat fat-free organic non-GMO unrefined treats a few years ago, but all I could find to fit the bill were plain old ice cubes. I think giving out ice cubes at my front door on Halloween would pretty much put me right up there in the "weird guy who lives alone with cats" category... not that I need any help in that department.

The straw that broke the camel's back, though, was a couple of weeks ago on Facebook when one of my friends posted that she had just finished putting up her Halloween tree. Yeah... a Halloween tree. I imagine it's some sort of black artificial tree with orange ornaments. Look, I tell ya, I nearly fell off my chair when I read that.

If the Christmas tree has been transferred over to Halloween, what's next? Are we going to start giving out Halloween gifts? Is the mall going to cordon off a big area, decorate it with cobwebs and ghosts and have a skeleton sitting in a coffin holding petrified kiddies on his knee and asking them what they want for Halloween? Half of them cry for Santa Claus, they'll be positively apoplectic and incomprehensible after a few minutes sitting on the Grim Reaper's boney knee.

And why not have a big Halloween family meal, including turkey and all the fixings? The only difference is that you'd have to eat the turkey alive. Should make for some interesting table discussions. "Did Tommy get a drumstick? Oh... I see he's still trying to dig the turkey's angry beak out of his eye! Oh Halloween! What a lovely time of the year! God bless us everyone! Now let's all try and chase the turkey to get Tommy's eye back! C'mon, kids! You, too, Tiny Tim!"

We can't forget the Halloween carols, either: O Little Town of Bat-lehem, Christmas in Kill Arnie, Have Yourself a Merry Little Funeral, I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus, and Rudolph the Roadkill Reindeer.

Christmas has Boxing Day on Dec. 26. How about Withdrawal Day for Halloween on Nov. 1? This would be the formal day of sugar withdrawal, with free diabetes testing given all over the country. Crowds would gather in town squares and watch groups of children going through sugar withdrawal symptoms. "Look Mommy! Little Suzy's eyes rolled in back of her head! And there's Betsy pointing to the sky and screaming at Jesus for the pain she's in. Oh happy day!"

Withdrawal Day festivities actually end a week later with the most sacred post-Halloween tradition of them all, the Apparition of the Holy Vegetable, where a child is shown the first vegetable they've seen in a week. This is sometimes not a pretty sight, as most children have had their heads buried in bags of Halloween candy for days and are just coming up for air then, their cavity-filled smiles beaming.

A family sacrificing their child for this rite is said to have good luck for the rest of the year. The child is bathed in sugar-free soda, dressed in white, and then tied to an apple tree. A covered tray is brought to the child, and each corner of the cloth covering the tray is slowly turned back to eventually show the contents: carrot sticks and lettuce.

The child looks bewildered at first, then screams in terror as their first sight of vegetables in a week causes them to lose consciousness. A few minutes later, the child awakens and all is well. Halloween is over and he and his little friends eat the carrot sticks and lettuce, chewing through the pain of the cavities in their teeth. Mothers dab tears away from their eyes. Fathers excuse themselves curtly, claiming they have something in their eye. Puppies frolic in the fallen leaves. Kittens purr contentedly.

As much as I complain, however, I suppose the excited little tykes who'll be ringing the doorbell this Halloween are kinda cute. Oh well, it beats screaming myself hoarse with, "Get off my lawn!" There'll be time for that when I'm older.

1 comment:

Ray Hiltz said...

Couldn't agree with you more, Brian. And what's up with "Happy Halloween?" - what's happy about people dressing up as fantasies of what they wish to be or worse, to scare the hell out innocent little tykes.

Oh, then there's the ones who will sit home and watch Saw I to XXI.

Trick or treating when I was a kid in Moncton, was slapping on an old coat, your grandpa's rubber boots, maybe some shoe polish on your face and an tattered hat.

We would barrel out of the house as soon as daylight faded and make a beeline for the west end.

Then, it was strategizing the best way home to avoid some bully robbing or razor blading our full pillowcase of treats.

My best memories; having candy all the way up to Christmas - Jingle all the way...