I love Halloween. Actually, that’s an understatement. I am obsessed with Halloween. I’m kind of like that annoying co-worker who’s really into Christmas and wants to listen to Christmas music at her desk starting November 1st as everyone else rolls their eyes. While my excitement reaches fever pitch in the days leading up to October 31st, I find it disturbing that not everyone around me shares my joy. We don’t all have to be decking our halls with skeletons, planning our group costume weeks in advance and trawling CostCo for the most kid-impressive candy, but I gotta ask… where’s the love for Halloween?
For one thing, the retail world never seems to show any appreciation for it. With the exception of craft stores, most retailers generally wait until September (when it’s admittedly still pretty warm) before they start putting out Halloween merchandise. And yet by the middle of October it’s being pushed aside for, you guessed it, Christmas stuff. Really?! We can’t just wait until November? Sure, life isn’t all about shopping, but it would be reassuring to know that if I needed to run out to the store for some last minute candy and decorations, it would still be on the shelves.
Beyond shopping, I also wonder whatever happened to the numerous Halloween specials that used to fill our TV screens every October. From Garfield’s Halloween Adventure to The Great Pumpkin and The Last Halloween it seemed there was no end to cheesy and sometimes totally creepy TV programs to get us kids into the mood for All Hallow’s Eve, as if any kid needs encouragement to celebrate a holiday that revolves around candy and dress up. Sadly those specials have all but disappeared. Up until recently, even The Simpsons’ notorious Treehouse of Terror episodes were relegated to November to make room for…baseball. Really, Fox? Really?
Most frustrating of all, it appears that Halloween has been sanitized beyond recognition. Most school districts have banned kids from wearing Halloween costumes. Helicopter parents worry that the frightening imagery associated with Halloween is too scary and may scar their precious snowflakes for life. Trick-or-treating is seen as dangerous and a lot of parents now opt for smaller “trunk-or-treat” parties where there kids get the “thrill” of picking candy from the trunk of a parked car rather than going from house to house. It truly saddens me to think that today’s children might miss out on the terror and subsequent rush of going up to the creepiest house in their neighbourhood (we all had one) and getting the bejeezus scared out of them all in the name of good fun and good scares. (And maybe, just maybe… a King-sized Twix??)
But, boys and ghouls, fear not! At least not that way. I think we can turn this all around. If you enjoy Halloween, show it some love. Put up some decorative bats and ghosts. Carve a pumpkin. And if you don’t want to wear a full costume, at least throw on a pair of devil horns or cat ears, it’s not that hard! I hope that someday I can own a home in this fair city… not so I can brag about home ownership on social media, but so that I can carry on the tradition of having the creepiest, scariest house on the block. I’ll give kids a scare not out of malevolence but out of love; love for the one holiday out of the year where it’s okay to be strange, try on a different identity, seek out the things that go bump in the night, and survive solely on glucose. So go forth Halloweeners, and enjoy this October 31st. Say it loud and say it proud, “Trick-or-treat!”