Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Boo Humbug!

A great article from the AP about those of us who rightfully detest what Halloween has become:

Halloween haters aren't as easy to categorize as that odd old lady on the block who always pretends that she's not home on Oct. 31, or people who protest the day on religious grounds. The new Halloween Hater is young, loud and proud.
I too am proud to hate Halloween, detestable attempt at sanitized Bacchanalia. I was confused about how people so loved it throughout childhood, and migrated to antipathy throughout college and my young adulthood, whether spent in Canada, Ireland (where every Dublin family seemed to be setting off fireworks), or here in the US. I can't stand it, and never have. Not due to religious reasons certainly, or education in a Halloween-free home. I trick-or-treated once as a child (Swedish Chef), and couldn't stand it...especially when I quickly figured out there was a lot of candy in the offing in my warm, dry house as out "there". Consider the following about Halloween:

  • It is a commercialization of the wondrous Samhain, party stores stripping yet another great day (such as Sol Invictus or Lupercal) from its wide-eyed pagan meaning;
  • It has become an excuse for sad adults who can't accept that college is in the past, and get liquored up -- leading to a weekend with more drunk driving fatalities than New Year's;
  • It is so often gruesome -- somebody who has lost a loved one in the last few months has to endure seeing cemeteries and faux dead bodies everywhere. You can even buy a lifesize gallows;
  • It offers bizarrely risqué costume choices that send all the wrong messages to younger minds;
  • It pushes parents to paranoia about who's opening the door and/or what's in the candy, to the point where trick-or-treating is mall-based for many families.
People who know know that I love a good time, but this crass hybrid of Halloween and Hooters is a day best in the past...only twelve days until all this crap is behind us. I detest Halloween* as Ebenezer Scrooge detests Christmas. To paraphrase from the original:

If I could work my will every idiot who goes about with 'Happy Halloween' on his lips, should be boiled in his own melted candy corn, and buried with a witch's broomstick through his heart. He should!

*Except for "War of the Worlds". That was an awesome thing stunt that Wells pulled off.


James Patrick Conway said...


Gotta agree here. Unlike you I do oppose parts of Halloween on religious grounds, not like the evangelicals who think dressing up like Harry Potter is akin to the devil but because of its glorification of violence, evil, and loose sexuality (especially in the 'costumes' so many girls wear these days). I would also agree that in the South Side of Chicago (where I currently live) the last thing we need is conditioning children that are so often the targets and victims of real violence to be immune to it or to think blood and gore are fun. Also its so crass and commercial, and as you rightly pointed out another pointless excuse to get completely trashed.

I don't oppose the holiday on principle just the direction its going. In my North Cambridge neighborhood the streets were blocked off and all the neighbors got together to do some really cool things, one year they had an anti-pollution message and made really neat fake toxic waste. Another year they did a great Harry Potter theme. It was warm, family friendly, and brought a community together. As a kid trick or treating was the best way to acclimate myself to meeting my neighbors, and served as a great model for how to doorknock for campaigns.

But like you said, these days its usually an excuse by the old to act foolish, and a way to de-sensitize the young to violence and evil. Its also overly commercialized and encourages gluttony and excess. Halloween like all good things, is best enjoyed in moderation, a value American society has lost.

noternie said...

Dressing up is fun.

Scary stuff is fun.

Candy is delicious.

Anyone that thinks there is any significance or real meaning to Halloween for the great masses should find a better use of their time.

Don't we all need more excuses to act harmlessly foolish?