The Blog

| October 24, 2013

Number 34

Boo! Who?


It’s not a costume… it’s Friday.

What did you want to be for Halloween when you were a kid? A ghost? A witch? An astronaut? A CPA from Ernst & Young? I always thought Halloween was strange. When you were a little kid, you dressed up in a scary or fantasy get up or whatever your parents thought was cute that you would have to live down years later, you went door-to-door in your neighborhood, usually in the cold, going into strangers’ houses – often much older strangers – and took whatever treats they were offering… how weird is that? A little too Hansel and Gretel and the witch and the oven for me. As a little kid, I didn’t get it. One day you’re told not to talk to strangers and the next day, if it’s Halloween, you’re told not only to talk to them but to eat their candy? No thanks.

But the make believe was fun, the pretending to be somebody else or something else was fun. It required imagination and extended yours in the process. And home-made was always better. Those nasty, plastic-y, flammable, preordained things – here’s-your-imagination-in-a-shrink-wrapped-bag- and-doesn’t-the pirate-look-remarkably-like-the-mad-scientist? – were gross. And those rented from the costume store things – who-wore-this-before-and-what-did-they-do-in-it? – were grosser still.

Now of course, everything’s gotten all sexed up which makes it a million times worse, unless you’re an adult and then it becomes a whole other thing, and not always pretty, by the way. I blame the Kardashians. Actually, I blame Paris Hilton, but nobody remembers who she is. Something’s just wrong when a little girl’s costume options include “Lady of the Evening” (how’s that for delicate wording?) or “Reality Star with a Sex Tape.”

Yep, Halloween’s a very scary holiday to be sure, with mixed messages everywhere you turn.

That point became a lot more clear and Halloween became a lot more interesting for me in college… an art school…….. you can’t even imagine. It wasn’t about “scary” anymore, it was all about how creatively sexy you could get and still be legal. But we weren’t 10 years old and I think that’s a key point. A few friends come to mind who still think of Halloween as their personal holiday and carry it to a remarkable extreme – Lady Godiva? Robin, Boy Wonder? – just remember, if you’re gonna go that route, you better be able to ride that pony and work those tights!

I recall reading a headline once in The National Enquirer that said something like, “The Halloween Costume You Wear Describes Your Personality” – no kidding – in which case all young adults in college and beyond are saying the same thing – “Call me.” (and, once again, how’s that for delicate wording?)

Of course it isn’t just about the costumes, is it? Halloween has been over-marketed so much that the season starts right after Memorial Day and continues up until Thanksgiving. Treats , that once consisted of apples and Ginger Snaps, and then candy in every way shape and form, now include designer cupcakes (devil’s food, no doubt), gourmet candy apples in bat printed cellophane and Starbucks gift cards for Pumpkin Spice Lattes.

Some people spend a fortune decorating their homes to look condemned and haunted… so much for resale. Halloween even has it’s own tree now and decorations you can buy for it – a dead, leafless tree, naturally… or unnaturally as it were – complete with skull and jack-o-lantern ornaments and candy corn lights. So, now there’s a Halloween Ghoul Tree in addition to the Christmas Angel Tree and Easter Egg Tree. I can hardly wait for the Fourth of July Flag Tree and the, wait for it… Arbor Day Tree Tree! Seems like a given.

Whatever your take on the holiday may be – child like or adult friendly, ridiculous or big fun – enjoy the moment, use your imagination and have a Happy, Happy Halloween! Be safe, be clever, and be responsible for the kids in your life. And if you’re an adult, be as sexy as you wanna be – just….. be safe, be clever and be responsible for the kid in your soul.

And remember… false advertising, if you know what I’m saying and I think thatcha do, is a dangerous thing.

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