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Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Say Skip It And Go Directly To The Next Real Holiday On The List

I hate Halloween. I just absolutely hate it. I've kvetched about it before here at the Dept., so I won't get all in a lather again, but really, when on Earth will this little holiday go back to being just that--a Little Holiday and stop being some bigass Extravaganza Of Retail, Adult Idiocy, And Overall Bad Taste?

Let me take those 3 areas one at a time:

1. Retail. Just browse through the Walgreens advertisement and you can meet up with some incredibly horrific items that defy not only basic sales logic but plain judgment. Only at Halloween time would anyone dare to market things called Hulk Cakes: chocolate cupcakes frosted in an alarming lime green. Those, however, pale in comparison to the Blood Tablecloth, Gory Wound Sleeve, and something called the Lighted Window Leecher. WTF is a "leecher?" Try looking it up in a dictionary. Lord help us if Walgreens made a typo and it was supposed to be "lecher." But those are just small potatoes compared to the animated guillotine you can get for your front yard! This festive decoration "features a talking prisoner with lighted eyes and a working guillotine!" Finally, for those Holiday Addicts, there is actually a Two-Season Lite Set: "Go from Halloween to Christmas with the press of a button!" In reality, in my Walgreens, all I have to do is walk 10 feet. The aisle directly in front of the Halloween aisle is already stocked with Christmas wrap, artificial wreaths, ribbon, tags, stockings, and all sorts of red-and-green crap. I almost wept.

2. Adult Idiocy. Remember when Halloween used to be all about little kids going out in costumes and trick-or-treating? And they had little parties and their parents helped them carve basic jack-o-lantern faces? Now, Halloween has turned into women wearing soft-porn costumes, "grownups" decorating their houses to look like the set of a bad B horror flick, and otherwise sane individuals thinking up ways to scare the hell out of kids who come up to their houses for a free Snickers bar. Specialty Halloween shops crop up in empty storefronts overnight, and pundits try to predict the outcome of the presidential race by which mask sells the most. I always get several parents at my house for trick-or-treat pushing strollers with children who are far too young to ingest any sort of candy. They're not trick-or-treating, they're begging. For themselves. How tacky.

3. Overall Bad Taste. Halloween has become such an over-the-top celebration of...what, now? Death? What is the explanation for the house on the corner (not far from my street) which has the inflatable hearse complete with coffin, the dead body hanging in the tree, the tombstones, and the gigantic black widow spider on the roof and all the webs? What--exactly--is being celebrated here? What parallel do we draw here between death and...what? I'm just wondering how it all got so...overblown and tasteless.

Or is it just me?

19 comments:

  1. Halloween inflatable decorations and lights are definitely overblown. It's too much! A little decoration for trick-or-treaters is fine.

    And I HATE that college age girls use Halloween parties as a reason to prance around in their underwear. UGH.

    That said, I'd like to have a Halloween party to use as a reason to make things like spooky cupcakes or gory punch. But that won't be happening :-)

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  2. I like Hallowe'en and I like me some tacky. But, like many things, it's at its best when everything is homemade. Store-bought is either total crap, or ridiculously expensive. I do hate a sanitized Hallowe'en, though. Forcing kids to dress up like saints is pretty abusive.

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  3. Anonymous9:09 AM

    I'm a put a pumpkin or two on the porch and on the hearth kind of gal.

    I went to a Halloween party Saturday night that had about 65 people there. I dressed like a rock star but the photos my daughter took of me revealed someone who looked more like a transvestite than a Pat Benatar lookalike. I was scary in all the wrong ways. Like Keith Richards.

    I didn't know anyone at the party, couldn't find a conversation groove with any of the guests (even the lady who taught Arabic at Georgetown University). I chatted a bit, ate a lot of Mexican food, drank a beer, watched everyone else get drunk and remembered why I didn't go to parties when I was in college.

    V-Grrrl

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  4. Halloween could be renamed "Release Your Inner Slut Day" from what I've seen at the Halloween stores. Either that or "Blood and Gore Day!" It's a holiday that has completely become lost.

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  5. J.--Exactly! In Cleveland, there are even BILLBOARDS advertising Halloween costumes, and one is a slutty policewoman. Gag me.

    V-Grrrl--You're way braver than I. Never in a million years would I have gotten dressed up or even gone to that big of a party. Yikes. OR eaten Mexican and risked...er...getting gassy.

    Nancy in A2--not sure about the saints part, but tacky...really? Sigh. Stay in Meeshigan! LOL. (You didn't buy a leecher, did you?)

    jenomena--i'd like to find the originator of these horrid lawn inflatables and string him/her up. never before have neighborhoods looked so...trashy and like they were auditioning for mini-golf properties or in perpetual kid party mode.

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  6. Nance,

    I went to the Garden Center the other day and bought three pumpkins to put on my porch steps.

    They are not very nice looking , all shriveled and misshapen. But, what does it matter? They will only be on my porch steps for 6 months at most.

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  7. I don't care one way or the other about Halloween. We have some friends who always throw a loud party for the kids, which we sometimes go to. This year we bowed out and had some friends over for dinner, while we sent our kids to the party. I like to dress up sometimes, but not slutty, and I do not trick or treat. ;)

    Mostly, I like Halloween because it means Thanksgiving is coming up soon.

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  8. From the mask link, "It's no coincidence that presidential elections take place just days after Halloween..." I smell a haunted political conspiracy!!!!

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  9. Mikey--something tells me you're not alone...

    J@jj--did the party-throwers know that they were free babysitting?

    nancy--they wouldn't last that long around here. the punkinsmashers would get 'em.

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  10. Nance, I actually usually go more for the "Harvest Scene" at this time of the year...(friendly) scarecrows, bails of hay, and gourds and pumpkins scattered about. You're right...sometimes the scary stuff is a bit overboard. Of course the boys like it the older they get, so for trunk-or-treat (Scouts' parents decorate their trunks and line up and down the parking lot and hand out candy) we make it a little scarier with spooky sounds...but for the KIDS!

    P.S. I'm glad someone else noticed the "soft porn."

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  11. I'm with Tera, I'm all about the harvest decor. I used to do a bit of Halloween stuff, put out couldron candles and hang a skeleton from my tree out front, but I decided last year to omit all the dumb shit that can only stay up for a month and opt for the good shit that can stay up for 3 months. (Whew...was that a run-on?)

    I too can't stand the stroller pushers. Like those babies are going to be eating any candy! Humph. Thats why in my giant bowl of candy to pass out I have 2 options, good candy for the real trick-or-treaters and yucky candy for the parents and the kids that are too big to be out there in the first place.

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  12. No leecher - like I said, I like a homemade Hallowe'en, a Hallowe'en on my terms. I remember the freedom I had as a kid; making my costume and running around at night, with lots of other kids. I adore seeing a little kid dressed up as a lamb, and I even like giving the teens a hard time about being so tall.

    And homemade tacky is fine. Don't dis Hallowe'en - take it back.

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  13. Nancy in A2--I used to make the boys' costumes myself starting with a plain sweatsuit when they were little. I did not sew, but I managed a skeleton (white stick-on felt bones made with the help of my college anatomy text), Tigger, Winnie-the-Pooh, Bambi...and as they got older, the costumes got more creative. I had a heckuva Waldo, a memorable Abe Lincoln, and a really good Paul Bunyan, too.

    Nina--it was NOT a run-on. I once told a trick-or-treater that if her boobs were that much bigger than mine, there was no way in hell she was getting candy from me.

    Tera--"Fall" decor is NOT the same as "Halloween" decor. Yours sounds nice.

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  14. Oh...I still kinda like Halloween. Okay..I'm lying. I LOVE IT. I can see how it's been spoiled in some ways, but it's the season and the fun that I really like. Thanks for looking into the commenting thing.

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  15. I very much enjoy Halloween, but it's the cute part of it I like. I don't like gruesome. (I don't like this pumpkin shown here.) Plus, I don't like the big yard decorations. I don't like the tackiness factor.

    I loved making costumes for my son when he was little. The best was when he went as a hammerhead shark. (You can do amazing things with sweat shirts, sweatpants, and cardboard. He wore a human tooth on a necklace. LOL)

    We used to go an annual Halloween party and always had a good time. We were always fairly normal "characters" though ... I was a butterfly, kitty cat, clown (a costume I made in college out of patchwork for an education class), etc. and hubby a beekeeper (a real occupation), wearing a scary mask (not too bad), etc. I enjoyed seeing the other costumes. There were some very creative ones.

    I love having pumpkins in the yard and carving a good jack-o-lantern, too. ;-)

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  16. Nancy9:07 AM

    Nance,

    I have a staunch Republican friend who trades political cartoons with me.

    Yesterday I received one that showed three kids all dressed up in costumes,standing on a porch.

    The owner of the house is giving them candy and saying, "I am only going to give you half as much candy as I would have, because I am giving the other half to kids who were too lazy to get dressed up and come to my door."

    One kid turns to the other two and says,"Oh,crap! a Democrat."

    Political comment can be fun if taken with a good sense of humor.....

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  17. Man, all those years in Honors English did pay off after all! :)

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  18. nina--and you didn't even have ME.

    nancy--sigh. now THAT'S Socialism.

    shirley--i LOVE the vomiting pumpkin. i think it's creative.

    a.l.--you can love halloween. you live far away from me. LOL. and you're welcome. i wasn't really digging (or understanding the benefits of) the new imbedded post commenting. so i switched back.

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  19. I had a fantastic time on Halloween! My friends and I went trick-or-treating on a really rich street in town, and most of the adults really seemed to enjoy us. A few houses were great: one had about a hundred carved pumpkins of varying sizes, from miniature ones to giant pumpkins, three feet in diameter, to an Obama pumpkin, etc.; a gay marriage house with several brides out front (which I called the "Slippery Slope" house, as their gay wedding turned into a gay, polygamist wedding); and one house with a bunch of people in their sixties or so who were so sweet, asking us, upon receiving various weird looks on our faces, "What school do you go to?" "What college do you go to?" "Are you post-docs?" When I admitted that I teach college, the woman said, "Good for you!" She also had homemade cookies for us.

    It gets to be trouble when you get malicious teenagers and vandals running around, but I say if you're dressed up in a costume and not bothering anyone, go for it! We should all have a little bit of harmless fun.

    Oh, and the word verification here was "pilling," which is incredibly creepy as a verb.

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