by Slo Mo
I must be getting old.
I used to make fun of people when they spouted nonsense like, "When I was young..." and "Back in the good old days..." and "Things aren't what they used to be!" But that's exactly what I found myself saying when it came time for Dog and I to make our Halloween preparations this year.
Here's my old fogey rant:
I was a very lucky girl - when I think back on the Halloweens of my youth, I realize how many adults went to an awful lot of effort just so I'd have an exciting trick-or-treat experience. Of course, I took it all for granted, which is as it should be. The beauty of being a kid is that you get to live entirely in the moment, no strings attached. So I enjoyed the spooky music and lavishly decorated yards and hand-made costumes and haunted houses and space aliens hiding in bushes and witches who handed out delicious candy... But I didn't analyze it very much. I just assumed that's what Halloween was all about. And I loved every minute of it.
So imagine my shock and dismay when, a few days ago, Dog and I received a memo from some "concerned citizens" in which they outlined their recommendations for a "wholesome" Halloween atmosphere. Apparently, witches and goblins and things - that - go - bump - in - the - night set a very bad example for our delicate youth. When we celebrate these things, we tell children it's okay to celebrate "the devil himself". Not to mention the fact that this holiday has (gasp!) PAGAN ORIGINS, and we certainly don't want that! Plus, candy promotes gluttony and tooth decay, two of the deadliest sins known to mankind. So, instead of decorating with "amoral" images and handing out unwholesome treats, upstanding citizens are encouraged this year to adopt a Healthy Harvest theme, and thanks for our cooperation in this serious matter.
Attached was a cavity-prevention brochure from the spoilsports at the American Dental Association and, as an added bonus, a "Holiday Facts" pamphlet which was so full of christian intolerance toward other faiths that I refuse to repeat one word of it here. Let's just say I was compelled to phone the Anti-Defamation League.
So, guys, it seems Halloween is no longer a time for us to dress up and go carousing and have parties and eat sweets and tell ghost stories and make light of our very natural, very human fear of the unknown. No longer a time to personify our hang-ups about death and then laugh at them. No longer a time to, well, have a good time, dammit!
Now it's a time for "concerned citizens" to hit us over the head with their fake morality.
But don't worry, folks - this old girl still remembers what Halloween is all about! So, should you find yourself in Trick-Or-Treat Hell this year, please don't get discouraged. Ignore all those boring Healthy Harvest decorations and dour partypoopers handing out granola bars instead of candy. Plug your ears when, instead of "Monster Mash", you hear some self-righteous little prick playing Lawrence Welk tunes on his outdoor speakers. Pretend you don't see all those "Lucifer Is A Loser" signs.
Just keep walking until you get to the bungalow where Dog and I live. You'll know it when you see it: The whole place is covered in cobwebs. The front yard is full of graves. There's a blood-drenched corpse sitting in our car. Ghostly lights flicker in the trees. Fog creeps through the garden. Eerie laughter echoes from a giant jack-o-lantern. A skeleton reaches out of its coffin...
And, if you make it to our front door alive, shout "Trick or treat!" as loud as you can, or else Frankenstein's Bride (that would be me) and her Hound Of Hell (that would be Dog) will toss you in their Chamber Of Horrors (that would be the broom closet).
Oh, and don't mind that woman we've got tied up in the garage. She's just a concerned citizen who's being forced to hear an endless loop of "Running With The Devil" until she promises to apologize and bring Halloween back next year.