November 3, 2011

Do you like this?

Chances are you’ve already forgotten about Halloween by now. Know why? Because—as an adult—it’s an incredibly stupid “holiday” that people either revere as the most normal day in their Goth existence or (like me) loathe to no end.

Not to get all Ebenezer about it, but Halloween is what is commonly referred to as a “commercial holiday.”  That’s because the primary purpose of this special annual occurrence is not to dress up like someone you’re not and celebrate ghouls and goblins, but to do one thing and one thing only—purchase and distribute candy.

Yep, just like FTD and Hallmark execs tricked us into buying flowers and cards on Valentine’s Day AND Mother’s Day; the heads of the major confectionary families—Milton Hershey, Peter Paul Halijien and Frank “M&M” Mars—must have called a secret meeting in an undisclosed location within Candy Land to discuss how they could con the general public into one day per year of presenting each child in America with a “treat” lest we be the subject of the alternative—a “trick.”

Well, I’m not falling for it. Or at least, this year I didn’t fall for it. Last year I came home from work around 5 p.m. and began relaxing on my sofa when ding-dong—the doorbell rang. Dang it! Kids, and me with no candy. Reduce TV volume, slowly twist blinds shut and resume relaxation while ignoring porch activity. Then more doorbells, more kids. Who are all of these kids? We don’t have any kids in our neighborhood, really. Then, the ringing stopped….but only for a little while.

An hour or so later, a knock on the door broke the silence. Who could that be? Thinking it must be a friend from the neighborhood and surely not any more kids, I answered the door. TRICK OR TREAT!!!! At least a dozen mouths chanted the telltale call for candy. Now what? I don’t have any. How do I tell this band of renegade young costumers, obviously bused in from across town, that I forgot to spend $10 on a small bag of bite-size 3 Musketeers?

Panicking, my mind started to race. Cash? Should I see if I have enough ones to satisfy this group and then lock the house up tighter than Fort Knox before another group arrives? No, wait!  I’ve got it. As resourceful as I could be given the dire situation, I resorted to the only candy-like substance on the premises—Little Debbies.

I darted to the kitchen and grabbed a box of oatmeal crème pies and started feverishly dropping them into bags. “He got cakes!” I heard one enthusiastic trickster exclaim on his way back to the bus that I’m sure was waiting just out of sight from my front porch. Afterward, I turned off all lights and retreated to my back bedroom upstairs, away from the knocks and doorbells that had haunted me all evening long.

This year I got smart. I didn’t even go home after work. My girlfriend’s daughter and friends needed trick-or-treat supervision and then it was off to the annual block party in North Chattanooga. And, I didn’t even try to dress up. That’s another thing I hate about Halloween: dressing up.

Why on Earth would an adult want to take the time, energy and money to create a costume that thinly veils their appearance as something or someone else?  I realize it’s an excuse for girls to dress slutty and guys to bring out their inner super hero or demon, but to me, dressing up has a hassle factor that far outweighs the benefit. You look “great,” “cool,” “funny,” or “scary” for about a minute-and-a-half with each peer encounter, then you begin to look and act like your normal self—only in an outfit that’s quickly becoming ridiculous.

That’s why I leave dressing up to the professionals. In fact, this year we took the kids to one of the professional haunted houses located deep within Ruby Falls. It was the first time I’d ever gone to one and, $68 later, I know why.

While the location itself, hundreds of feet underground in a cave “where no one will hear you scream,” makes for good haunting, it’s still just Ruby Falls—only without the falls. They didn’t bother combining the “natural” water features into the haunted house at all. In fact, they didn’t have to do much of anything to the naturally scary caverns except hang up some spider webs and a few other obstacles and stick some people down there to jump out at you.

I guess the element of surprise is the scariest part of Halloween anyway, whether it’s a conservative female friend dressed in a naughty something-or-other, or an empty wallet after leaving Ruby Falls.


November 3, 2011

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