Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bring Back the True Meaning of Halloween

If Christmas isn't about presents ("let's put the Christ back into Christmas"), then Halloween isn't about costumes. Or haunted houses. Or scary movies.

It's about candy.

You'd never know that from watching TV. Case in point: last night's episode of "Modern Family." I watched the Dunphys orchestrate the sort of elaborate trick-or-treating scenario that could only come from a sitcom writer's mind. I won't even try to explain, because it won't sound particularly funny, but suffice to say that after the neighborhood kids rang Phil & Claire's doorbell, a mini-horror movie was enacted for their benefit, which took close to 30 seconds. Sorry, this transaction should last no longer than 5.

That's what Halloween is, a carefully disguised transaction in which one person cons another person to give them something, preferably a Heath Bar, for free. This should take as little time as possible so the thief can move on to their next victim.

When I was a kid, there was a house in our neighborhood that was well-known for its spooky antics. Never went there. Not because I was a scaredy-cat but because who had that kind of time to waste. My goal every year was to make it up and down both sides of the four major streets of our subdivision--approximately 150 houses--in the three hours alloted for plundering. I never came close, but each successive year, I honed my technique. First, I substituted running for walking; then I started skipping sidewalks--toddlers are the ultimate traffic jam--and started racing straight across lawns. If my dad were dead, he'd be rolling in his grave, because we weren't even allowed to play on our own grass.

I paid zero attention to my costume, throwing on a sheet or overalls (look, I'm a bum!) at the last minute. You know why? Because my mom was no Martha Stewart and it didn't matter anyway. I got the same pack of Sweet-Tarts as the more elaborately outfitted. All I cared about was my pillowcase, and the way it felt as it accumulated weight from house to house, and the way all that candy looked spread out on the living room floor as I divided it into piles. Come to mama, Sugar Daddy.

Lately, Halloween celebrations have grown more and more elaborate, because Wal-Mart needs to sell more junk and grown-ups need another excuse to get drunk. There's even a movement to, shudder, turn the holiday all healthy by forcing kids to count the calories in those mini-Snickers. Are you kidding me? That's like giving a 5-year-old a Christmas present that says you've donated the cost of his gift to charity. It goes against nature.

What I want to know is, where's Glenn Beck when you need him? Where's the movement to stop this desecration of one our most sacred rituals? Let's stop with the parties and the insistence that everyone must play dress up and get rid of those giant black cat inflatables the size of SUVs. It's time to get back to Halloween's basic, core value.

It's time to put the candy back in Halloween. Pass the Heath Bars, please.


Post a Comment

<< Home