I’d like to talk to you about zombies, ghouls, vampires and other denizens of the night (and no, I’m not talking about the cast of America’s Next Top Model). Once per year millions of children dress up as these spooky creatures in an attempt to not only horrify you with the exponentially worse quality of costume, but bilk you out of your sweet, sweet “fun-size” candy bars.
Every year, costumes get crappier and crappier, until one day the only thing that will be required of children on Halloween will be to collectively bargain with their neighbors, demanding candy in exchange for not egging their house. You can already see unions being formed under banners such as “Stacey’s mom’s car.” Oh yes, the end is nigh.
Last Halloween was particularly tragic, as it was the first time I have made an effort (read: spent money) to scare children who were trick-or-treating. I did what every red-blooded American is supposed to do and bought a mask, dressed up as a werewolf and hid in bushes waiting for children to come along. The ultimate goal would be to jump out holding a rusty gardening tool I found in the garage while simultaneously causing significant mental anguish to the victims.
While hiding in the darkness, waiting for the next lock-step group of children from the Trick-or-Treat Teamsters Local Union 312, I thought about all the times I had been scared in the exact same way as a kid, and I got excited. Unfortunately for me, I was only able to scare a handful of kids the entire night.
So what was the problem? Little did I know that the last time a werewolf costume ever genuinely scared someone was the year 1993, but experts say it was more of a light startle. It’s not just limited to werewolves; most horror creatures remain less effective at eliciting fear than Fox News is of convincing me that they are “Fair and Balanced.” Werewolves, ghosts and zombies now rate lower on a scale of overall fear than Amy Winehouse – how times surely have changed.
Costumes nowadays have taken all the fun out of Halloween. Any department store will have entire sections of the store dedicated to buying pre-made costumes, including an entire armory of plastic, fake-blood-soaked weapons.
While the boys’ section reeks of the foul stench of mediocrity, the girls’ section is no better. I can’t imagine the strategic marketing done to promote the new line of Disney’s My-Little-Tramp Pocahontas costumes. Costumes are supposed to be creative, scary and simple.
What could be more appropriate than an amateur pirate and mutant ninja turtle knocking at your door asking for candy? I can tell you with absolute certainty that the answer is not some kid wearing a sixty dollar grim-reaper costume purchased at the local Party City with a blue minivan perched 25 feet away. To be fair, the kid is only being a maverick by trick-or-treating with his mommy; God bless him.
As I get older, I’ve started to notice more and more that the Halloween spirit is present year-round (and not just the tradition of stuffing ourselves with candy or women dressing up as whores). Who can deny that even the government of the United States keeps the Torch of Halloween Spirit lit during the other 364 days of the year?
Next time you watch the news, pay close attention to the ghoulish Nancy Pelosi, the bloodsucking Rudy Guliani or the ghost of Ronald Reagan. These heroes bravely keep the spirit alive until the next Halloween season, and for that I humbly thank them.
So remember what Halloween is really about. It’s not about scaring kids anymore, because that ship has sailed; kids nowadays have seen it all. Halloween is really about reliving your childhood through old horror movies such as Friday the 13th, the Evil Dead series or even newcomers such as Freddy vs. Jason.
So gorge yourself on the “fun-size” candy bars you bought to give out to trick-or-treaters (lets be serious here, you were never going to give the Milky Way bars away). Enjoy what little remnants of your childhood you have left, because one day they’ll be nothing more than a memory locked inside a DVD case sitting in the attic of your moon-house. You’ll be too busy watching High School Musical 13: A Time to Kill on your plasma-powered holoscreen to notice that the best day of the year has all but disappeared thanks to the marketing monstrosity it has become. And that’s what’s really scary.