I don't like Halloween and I am not going to like it no matter how hard you tell me to like it
I do not like it! I know that I am wrong in this. It's okay! I'm okay with being wrong, because I don't like Halloween. I will get a piece of wide-ruled binder paper just for this occasion, and I will write NO CANDY on it with a big brown marker, and I will use a piece of masking tape to affix it to my front door. The porch light is turned off but I know from past experience that this is not enough: I will also need to turn off all the lights inside the house, and I will need to turn the motion-activated sprinklers on. I will sit hunched in the dark and eat a full-sized candy bar with both hands, listening to the sounds of children laughing outside, and I will wait for the night to pass into day so that I might rest for another year.
I know what you are thinking.
I mean I know what you are thinking even more than I usually do (when you read my newsletter, your thoughts travel to a dot-matrix printer that is on my desk, and I read whatever it produces before I go to sleep at night).
I know what you are thinking, but no! You do not need to tell me in a worried tone of voice that Halloween is good! You will cry out that it is fun to wear costumes, but I am not fooled: costumes are itchy and heavy and smell like the fact that you don't know how to wash that weird fabric.
Costumes are fun but also they are bad to wear. I have been a Theater Person who does breathing exercises and vocal warm-ups and lacks an understanding of healthy physical boundaries with my peers. I know what it is like to wear costumes! It is a thing that you do in order to trick the world into thinking that you are something other than that which you are, not something you wear to trick yourself into thinking that you are having a good time at this uncomfortably hot party where one guy keeps trying to convince everyone to play a game of Werewolf with him.
You are right about one thing. Costumes on little kids are extremely good and cute, especially if they are costumes that make the kids look like vegetables or animals or politics. But here is a secret that I will tell you: little kids will wear costumes any time! They do not need a spooky night of costume tricks and treats and traps and fake cobwebs and yelling skeletons (yelletons). They will wear a costume RIGHT NOW, and also to bed, and also to school, you do not even need to ask! They will just do it because children love to trick the world and also because they are immune to the discomforts that plague my own frail adult body. Death is far from children and so they have no fear of the consequences of their becostumed hubris! They are infinitely powerful and this is why they must not be allowed to approach my door with their pillowcases and their demands for tiny portions of bad candy.
Yes. I said it, the candy is Bad and I Do Not Like It.
When you are a child, your access to candy is carefully controlled by people who want you to consume virtuous food like nuggets and tots and red delicious apples; of course any candy, even Bit-O-Honey, is a relief. But it is not so for me! I am a grown-up adult person who drinks brown liquors and drives a car to the bank and pays a tax to the mayor so he can buy a new hat! I am allowed to eat any candy any time. I will buy it with the money I should be spending on electricity and newspapers; it will taste good and it will make me feel bad, and I will not have to threaten anyone with Tricks in order to get it. The only trick being played on me is the trick that extra-dark chocolate tastes good, and I will fall for that trick every time, oh yes I will. But I will not fall for the trick that says Halloween candy is good just because it is small!
There are three lies we tell ourselves about trick-or-treating. The first lie is that the candy is good because it is small; this is demonstrably false. Fun-sized candy is not, in fact, fun. It is simply a small version of a thing that I would like better if it were big.
The second lie is that the candy is good because it is free; but there is no freedom on Halloween! Trick-or-treating is laborious, anxious work, an extrovert's folly, an exercise in trusting that no one will yell at you (which is not something I ever want to put my weight on). There is no true profit in this work.
The third lie is that the candy is good because it is earned; this is a lie of capitalism, a lie that tells children they must beg for glucose-alms one night a year, a lie that insists that the purifying light of work is the only thing that can make one deserving of a small waxen half-crushed treat.
I do not like this Hallow Ween! I do not like the apostrophe that comes and goes, Hallowe'en, what are you hiding in that contraction? I do not need that sometimes-apostrophe'd holiday to enjoy pumpkins; under my own power I can enjoy the gourd at any time, even without inflicting a face upon it. I can enjoy many things without first mutilating them! This is a skill I have honed over many years of practice.
But I do not begrudge you your love of Halloween! I know you are a Halloween Person, you like black cats with their backs arched up in fright and you like big fistfuls of candy corn and you like going into houses that purport to be haunted but are actually just full of teenagers who will yell at you. You think that horror movies should be trapped in October and you like to put a mask on your face and say that you are someone else, and you trust that the mask will not send tendrils into your brain and turn you, the wearer, into something you did not want to be.
You are a Halloween person and that is fine! I do not have candy, please do not knock. I will see you again when it is November, and then we will be grouchy together about Thanksgiving.
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