<em>“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.”</em>
—From the film, “Mean Girls”
I love autumn. It is my favorite time of year. The crisp air, the falling leaves, college football and the World Series are just a few things that make this the best season. And while I have not dressed up for Halloween in 30 years, I enjoy the holiday vicariously through my children.
And so, I offer the following random thoughts to you. Not profoundly scary, just profound.
* I want to pass a law against giving out the candy known as Dots for Halloween. Those clumpy yellow boxes are pushed to the side of the candy bowl in a vain search to find that last Snickers bar. The cheapskates who give out Dots to kids on Halloween are the same people who buy 6 year-olds socks for Christmas. No one eats Dots. Please stop.
* Like most people, I anxiously await the viewing of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” this week. There is something about Linus sitting in that pumpkin patch waiting for the Great Pumpkin that gets to me every year.
The backstory of The Great Pumpkin is an enthralling tale. Charles M. Schulz, the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip, did not entirely identify with Charlie Brown. On many occasions he suggested that he was more personally attuned with Linus.
Schulz was a devout Christian most of his life. In his later years, he removed himself from the practice of organized religion. You can see how Linus represented Schulz’s spiritual journey. That a single individual can have such an unshakeable belief in an invisible, benevolent being that never appears when asked to show his face. And then the doubt and anger that comes with the disappointment.
Many who are not religious use The Great Pumpkin as a metaphor for the illogicality of religion. I would suggest to those people—whom I tend to agree with—to consider the opposite point of view. The Great Pumpkin never came; but, to Linus, the belief that he will appear one Halloween night provides him with an inner-peace that the disbelievers will never know. Hard to argue with that.
* If Game 7 of the World Series is played, it is currently scheduled for Halloween night. I will never understand how Major League Baseball continues to worry about whether American youth will love the game as preceding generations have when they do everything in their power to make it hard for kids to watch games. Playoff baseball games this year have run four hours long. For those living in the east, the games are going on way past midnight on school nights. And, you scheduled what could be the last game of the season—when you crown your champion—on a night most young kids want to be out trick-or-treating. Remember when sports leagues accommodated their fans and not the other way around?
* I think I am an enthusiast of horror movies because my childhood was a golden age for the genre known as “slasher flicks”. Starting with “Halloween” in 1978, there was a plethora of great horror films that came out when I was a kid. “My Bloody Valentine”, “Prom Night” and the “Friday the 13th” films (well, the first four at least) all came out during that era.
All of those films have been remade (or, as it is more apropos to say, rebooted) for modern audiences. And the reboots are all awful. Modern society is just too cynical for a new slasher flick to be any good. The only good gory films to come out in this era were the “Scream” films. And that is because it parodies itself.
We just don’t get excited to see sexually active teens get their throats cut like we did in the early ‘80’s. Been there, done that.
* There is an unholy trinity of horror films that falls into the suspense branch of the horror genre that everyone should watch Halloween week. “The Shining”, “The Exorcist” and “Psycho”. For those who simply hate horror films altogether, it should be noted that all three of these films have very few on-screen deaths. These films are great because we are waiting for the bad things to happen—not the bad things themselves.
* Get on Netflix and watch the original 1931, Bela Lugosi version of “Dracula” this week. Yes, it is somewhat dated and not terribly scary—but to see the iconic image of Lugosi standing there in that cape with those sinister eyes is as much a part of Halloween as turkeys are to Thanksgiving.
* There is nothing more insincere and fraudulent to Halloween than the activity known as trunk-or-treat. A group of adults line their cars up in parking lots and hand out candy to kids. Where is the fun in that? Why not just hook up KayLeigh and Jayden with an IV of glucose? The fun in Halloween is walking down streets knocking on doors. It is being outside on Halloween night. I can go to Wal-Mart right now and buy a tub of candy for my kids to devour. It is much better for them to partake in the traditional walk around the neighborhood. If you actively participate in trunk-or-treating, I wish nothing for you but to be injured under an avalanche of super-pointy boxes of Dots.
* And, finally, I will indeed address the issue of skimpy Halloween costumes. I do not have any moral or social problems with young women wearing whatever they choose for the holiday. That is entirely their business. I still think I am within my right to note that there is a certain hypocrisy in wearing such an outfit if you espouse religious beliefs that scorn and shun those for living a lifestyle you deem inappropriate.
If you spend 364 days a year talking about living a clean, Christian lifestyle that requires being modestly dressed, then you do not get a free pass for the day of a Halloween party. Dress like a sexy cop or a sexy nurse or a sexy witch to church on Sunday and see how the congregation reacts. If you are a wholesome girl who laments the world for its sin, you have to do that every single day. Wearing a Halloween costume in which the sole purpose is to elicit titillation is verboten.
And, regardless if you are religious or not, not one woman in the history of the world has ever made a sexy nurse outfit look anything better than trashy. It is just unoriginal and reeks of desperation.