Friday, October 29, 2010

Do I know you?

Halloween, that goofy holiday that deems it acceptable for kids, teachers and CEO's to dress up in costume and knock on neighbors doors begging for candy, is just around the corner.

Halloween reminders are everywhere. A walk through the grocery store screams Halloween, with isles and isles dedicated to selling bags of candy of all shapes and sizes.

I walked into the local convenience store yesterday and bought a newspaper from a 40 something female dressed as a witch. I'm always torn on how to act when I purchase something from a witch.
Do I pretend it's perfectly normal for me to accept change from a lady dressed in a pointed black hat? What should I say......"Nice broom?"

I have two errands to run today and I'm here to tell you, I'm going to run into someone who is wearing a Nixon mask. Some masks just stand the test of time.

A soccer mom wearing a Sara Palin mask is a given. Can't wait for that one.

With my job and my weird schedule, I look at the calendar at the beginning of the year to see I'll be home.
wife's birthday....check
Halloween.........damn, I'm home for that one.

My plans for this Halloween have been set for months.
This is one holiday I pay attention to.
When the gates open this chilly weekend signaling the start for ghosts and goblins to swarm the neighborhood, knocking on doors of people they don't know, aiming to fill their bags with fluoride's nemesis, I'll be miles away in a warm restaurant sipping a nice Merlot and glancing at my watch, waiting for the final horn to sound, a signal for all the ghosts, witches and ex presidents to go home.

This total lack of interest I have for Halloween is probably the result of getting older but that can't be the only reason. Remember the witch selling newspapers? She was no spring chicken.

Here's my problem.
When I was a kid, I would dress up as some strange being. I can still smell the rubber mask held in place by the uncomfortable rubber band around my head.
But when we would knock on a neighbors door, each stop became an event.
These days, a group of kids will knock on our door. When we open it there is no sing-songy "trick or treat", just kids holding out their bags with all of the enthusiasm of a homeless person with a plastic cup in his hand looking for change. When our milky way bar touches down in the bottom of their bag, they immediately turn and bolt as if someone had just yelled "FIRE."
Oh...what fun!

As a kid, we would knock on the neighbors door and be invited in from the cold to their warm living room. The neighbors would sit down in their chairs, turn the TV down, and the inquisition would begin.
"Do we know you?"
That always brought an affirmative nod of the head.
"Do you live on this block?"
"You look familiar, are you Tony?"
That always brought giggles from my cousin Drew and I, we knew we had them fooled when they started going to the female names.

When the neighbors would acknowledge defeat in not knowing who we were, we would proudly rip off our masks and the neighbors would show great surprise and convince us we had them totally fooled. After hearing more compliments on how great our costumes were, we would be given a piece of candy and then we would return to the chilly night, heading for the next neighbor, the next event.

The only downfall was the Johnson's.
The only thing they gave out was apples.
The Johnson's were the old people on the block. Sort of what I've become. But mom would always say, "Make sure you go to the Johnson's."
As much as we wanted to skip that event, the proof was always in the bag.
Upon returning home at the end of the evening, we would dump our load of goodies on the living room floor, with mom watching.
There had better have been a shiny red apple amongst the M&M's.

I could go on and on about this strange holiday, but I have to go to the hardware store where surely I'll be buying some hardware from Barrack Obama or Spider Man.


beth said...

you are just like my hubby.....he doesn't want to be here halloween night either....but i make him since i don't want to be be alone with those kids who are 6 feet tall, standing on my front porch saying nothing as i say "you're too old to be trick or treating"

i like how halloween used to be, too....

Melinda Owens said...

Brings back memories. I agree, some of the older kids don't even attempt to dress up anymore. I don't want to be one of those people who leaves a bucket full of candy on the porch with a sign that says "Take one, please" we leave, too. And I miss those cheap, flammable Flintstone and Tweety Birds costumes from K-Mart. And when did little girls start dressing up like sexy witches and Elvira?

Karen said...

I have had to FORCE my kids to say Trick or Treat and then THANK YOU, because you are so right. They don't do it anymore.. It's become a rude exchange and I have to wonder WHY?.....

Great post. You should have your own column somewhere. :-)

Alison said...

Well, we don't have a 'used to be' here. It just isn't a New Zealand tradition. Having said that, those with much to gain - the retailers - have promoted it hugely over the past decade or so, and of course kids know about it through TV. So quite a few people do get into it these days. But it seems really weird to me that now, when we don't always know our neighbours so well, and now that we are so aware of 'stranger danger' etc etc, a new 'tradition' is developing where kids go and knock on strangers' doors asking for stuff. Hmmm....
Actually, I'm looking foward to celebrating Diwali next week. I have got a new Indian outfit to wear with lots of sequins. :-)
Happy Halloween to you!

Jerral Miles said...

This is the best reason for Halloween I've ever read... You got it just right.

Dan Kent said...

Wow. Your childhood Halloween was better than mine - wonderful. Here's what you do. You make your house the event! Spooky music..a loud speaker that you can talk into in a scary sing-song voice to scare those ungrateful greedy nose-picking rugrats half to death just as they're walking up your walk. You do this maybe 5, 10 times. Then you go out for the Merlot.

Lithium said...

Here is Australia, it is unfortunately slowly being forced upon us. Just the other day I was walking through a department store and they were selling Halloween festive products, as well as Christmas prodtucts, AS WELL AS outfits and fashion for men and women who were attendign the Horse Racing Cup (a huge deal here)...
...YOU CAN'T SELL THREE EVENTS AND FESTIVITIES AT THE SAME TIME! All I could think was: what a horrible clash of utter madness.