I have certain bias toward Halloween – I will admit it. After marketing Halloween for Kmart for a couple of years, I have a house full of decorations and an AWESOME witch costume I bought at Kmart for $24.99 and will wear once a year forever. But when I dressed up for work this year, imagine my disappointment when I walked in the corporate complex to find that I was about the only one in costume. How awkward for everyone else that they forgot to take advantage of the best day of the year. Face it – Halloween is the one holiday where you don’t have to go to church, buy anyone a gift, and you can wear any crazy get-up you want. Wake up, zombie-people!
I started my “corporations kill Halloween” grumbling – but I realize that isn’t true. I have worked in companies where Halloween is a much anticipated event with food, decorations, costumes, and take-no-prisoners competitions. If there is one thing I have learned – its that nobody does the costume and decor contest like the IT department. Those guys bring it!! Haunted cubes, blood, guts, twisted humor, they are the hands down favorite. And it reminds me not to mess with IT- ever.
It’s just that Hallowween has become too easy. Kids come to my door and don’t even bother to say “Trick or Treat”. On principal I don’t turn over a single candy until they say it. And then, only about half of them say “thank you”. For the older kids, only some of them really even dress up. Deadbeats in training – that’s what I say. Back when I was a kid my mom used to have a bowl of candy and a second bowl of rocks for the trick-or-treaters. When older kids came to the door without a real costume, she’d grab a handfull of rocks, reach deep into their pillow case and drop the stones in with their candy. They would just hear “thunk, thunk, thunk” and would say, “Wow, thanks!” and she would just smile sweetly. Oh yeah, she did! Just like in the Charlie Brown show – which I think was Mom’s inspiration; she was the lady who gave lame trick-or-treaters a rock. She just thought that Trick or treat meant her choice.
There also used to be certain rules of the road for Halloween mischeif back in the day. If a house was passing out candy, they had a carved jack-o-lantern with a lit candle. That was the universal signal for kids to come up to the door. If a house ran out of candy, they blew out the candle, turned off their porch lights, and they were were fair game for a toilet paper job, etc. If you left your jack-o-lanterns outside after trick-or-treat hours, they would usually end up smashed in the streets the next morning. But really, what do you need with a jack-o-lantern on Nov 1? Today Kmart sells plastic pumpkins for front porches and the ill defined vandalisim honor code confounds both me and mystill-too-young-to-be arrested-for-the- prank kids.
Both of my parents were from small towns and told stories of going out on “beggers night” when the chant was “Trick FOR Treat”. Kids were expected to do something fun or funny – a trick – to get their treat. Jeez, I would think that would take forever. How would you ever get any candy? I do have to appreciate the 2 kids who trick- or- treated me the day after Halloween. Their costumes? Procastenators. Now that’s a nice trick.
Look, all I am saying is that Halloween has been made easly enough so even the dullest among us can participate. Can we not give the holiday its due. Put on a costume. Carve a pumpkin. And check your candy bag twice after you go to my moms house. Mama says so.