Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Sure Can Be Scary

Happy Halloween, one and all – hope everyone doesn’t suffer from sugar shock after eating all those chocolate bars and candy corns!

Wanna hear a scary Halloween story?

Back when I was a college puddin head, I was out having a few brews with friends and I innocently asked if they had anything planned for Halloween – any parties, hay rides, what have you.

Much to my surprise, a peripheral aquaintence - whom up to that point I'd assumed was completely normal - chimed in with “We don’t do Halloween in our house”. Say what? I was dumbfounded. “What do you mean, you don’t “do” Halloween”? “It’s a nasty, evil holiday”, he tells me. I queried on. “Do you give candy to trick or treaters?” “No, because that just further legitimizes this evil day”. Evil day? What planet had I just fallen on to?

I attempted to point out that the paganism of the day had long ago been co-opted by seven-year-olds dressed up like Superman looking for Bite-Size Snickers, and teenagers looking for a more creative use for toilet paper, eggs and shaving cream. None of this seemed to matter. No, on a scale of one to ten - with one being puppies and ten being Hitler - apparently, Halloween was an 11.

This would have been scary enough, except that further prodding revealed that growing up, his family never did any of the innocent, childhood things most of us grew up with: no Santa Claus, no Easter Bunny…I was dumbstruck. I looked at the other people we were with and asked “Did any of you guys have a NORMAL childhood”? Thankfully, I was not alone in my self-percieved sanity.

Thankfully, my parents didn't think my childhood should be all about them. There is only one time in your life when your suspension of disbelief is such that you can find yourself believing in something as wonderful and innocent as jolly old St. Nick and other bearers of joy (I'll even through the Tooth Fairy into the math - why not). There’s plenty of time when you are an adult, with mortgages, utility bills, illness and threats of terrorism to be a cynical mess. To not know that innocence ever in your life is a shame.

Ever year when I am enjoying my marshmallow Jack-o-Lanterns and nasty candy corn, I still think of him, all these many years later.

Who said Halloween wasn’t scary anymore?

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Today's The Day

Some good advice from the legendary Ray Stevens.