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“Bonfires burning bright / pumpkin faces in the night / I remember Halloween”¦” Glenn Danzig sang those words on record for the first time on a 7″ vinyl pressing of the fifth single, “Halloween,” from the band, The Misfits.
Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing: I am not the biggest fan of holidays. That doesn’t mean that I don’t get excited when the seasons start to change and I need to gear up for the trifecta of gratitude and gluttony known as the holiday season.
Halloween this year falls on a Friday, something that always seemed to elude younger me when I was hoping to go trick-or-treating and house-egging in my teen years. Instead, Halloween fell on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, respectively starting when I was 15-years-old for the following three years.
I think my favorite thing about Halloween now, though, is the fact that I just don’t care anymore about having the best costume. I don’t care about my girlfriend wearing the best “Sexy cat/ nurse/ebola survivor/nun” costume. I don’t care what I do or where I go. To be honest, I plan on sitting in my house in the Ardmore neighborhood and eagerly awaiting costumed kids to come by so me and my girlfriend can give out candy between glasses of wine and commercial breaks of scary movies.
I remember walking up to houses like mine – small, whitepicket fenced homes with amateur-carved pumpkins on dimlit porches – hoping that I would get something other than Tootsie Rolls or Almond Joys (the two worst candies in the game). It was only when I was exposed to families that gave out Nerds, or the occasional house that was empty but left the honor-system bowl of candy on the porch (in the trick-or-treating game, we call them “suckers”) did I realize what it meant to change neighborhoods and pick the best houses for candy.
I want to be that house this year. I want kids to come running down the street so that they can get a grab bag of potential cavities. I want them to go to the next house and think, “Dang, the last house gave us a rainbow of chocolates and suckers.”
I’ve been reading all week about the fears that overprotective parents possess regarding what people are giving their kids on Halloween. I vaguely remember my childhood and the stories about people putting razorblades in candy apples. (Not to reference Glenn Danzig too much, but another quote from “Halloween” is “Candy apples and razor blades / little dead are soon in graves / I remember Halloween”).
I’m not a parent, yet, but I just don’t see myself being paranoid about how people are going to poison my kids on Halloween. It’s like those people have completely forgotten what it’s like to be a child. It’s like they forgot what it’s like to look forward to Halloween for weeks and months. The great thing about the holiday, aside from the candy, is also the haunted houses, the camaraderie of walking streets with your friends, the fear of ghosts and boogie men, and of course reiterated, the candy. Parents seem to have become too overprotective – which I understand is the natural course for parenting – but c’mon, are you really going to tell me that you are sure your child requires gluten-free candy simply because he gets gas? In my day, we called that “farting,” and it’s still funny today.
I haven’t forgotten how to be a child.
I hope to never lose that, actually. I’ve taken my time growing up. I laugh as often as possible. I make jokes as much as possible. I try to only be serious when it is required, and even then, I keep those moments few and far between. I don’t have time to worry about poisoned candy. I barely have enough time to laugh with my friends during the week, much less focus on the potential of what might happen if one person does the one thing that I am scared they will do (which has only happened to me once in my life when my brother punched my lights out for throwing a rock at him.)
It’s important to be like children.
Children are not burdened by history, nor do they allow themselves to be concerned with flashing news alerts on smart phones about the latest scare tactic for children.
How great it must be to not know all the potential perils that could happen, and instead just live life as if the next thing to happen will be the best thing, ever.
I guess I’ll be spending this Halloween like an adult, but enjoying it as if I was a child. I’m allowed to get excited about the little things. Let me rephrase that: I allow myself to get excited about the little things now. I could rent Halloween movies at any other time of the year, but I’d rather let myself get sucked into them towards the end of October because it just seems fear likes to wait for me there. I can’t wait for parents and kids to come storming up my driveway, bags open, saliva pouring from their mouths, hoping to get that one candy they haven’t seen fall into their expanding pile of stomach aches.
I know I haven’t changed in my levels of enjoyment. The things that make me excited now have changed, but I still laugh like a kid when I engage them. I’ve already watched one of the “Halloween” movies this week, and while I was falling asleep to the music – that eerie piano composition by John Carpenter – I had the mid-conscious fears that someone was watching me.
How cool is that? I haven’t had that in quite some time, and though yes, it is scary, it’s something that reminds me that I’m not too cool or old enough for Halloween.
One thing is for sure, though, and it’s that I’ll be giving out candy on Halloween that is not poisoned. Since I’m technically a grown-up, I’ll also buy multiple kinds in case some overbearing parents demand that I give their child some gluten-free, sugar-free, free-trade, organic, politically correct lozenge. !