By Greg Hamilton
This year Halloween fell on a weekend…me and some friends will go trick or treating (paraphrasing a reference I’m certain no one will know).
It’s that time of the year again. The time of ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night (usually a sexy vampire or naughty nurse into a table after one too many Fireball shots). Skeletons and witches decorate front doors and plastic spiders hang from the ceilings of the neighborhood grocery store. Tis the season of pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin spice cookies and pumpkin spice pork chops (yes that is a real thing). Scary and not-so-scary movies vie for box office and ratings gold in the theatres and on Netflix against the race for the World Series and nothing is more frightening than the idea of sitting through 9 innings of major league baseball on television (can you say Drag Me To Hell 2?). The only time of year when orange and black are fashionable together outside of the Jersey Shore (skin and hair respectively). And the costumes. From the 3 year old Elsa to the 11 year old Iron Man to the 33 year old Nice Beaver, children of all ages get to dress up in elaborate costumes (or lingerie with devil horns or cat ears) and go door-to-door looking for their favorite treats. Signs reading “enter freely and of your own will” hang above doors of haunted houses where zombies and evil spirits jump out to elicit screams of terror. Other signs reading “must be 21 or older to enter” hang above doors haunted by drunken zombies imbibing spirits (where I find my favorite treats) and screaming because it’s Halloween and why not? And this year Halloween falls on a Saturday allowing everyone to participate fully and recover completely Sunday on All Saints Day before having to return to their regularly scheduled lives.
Everyone loves Halloween. Even certain religious types who think it is a day of devil worship and witchcraft don’t deny their children the joys of the season so they change the name and refuse to use certain iconography but cosplaying and sanctioned begging is Halloween no matter what you call it (comic-cons don’t count because you have to pay for the autographs for which you are begging). So why isn’t Halloween a holiday where everyone gets the day off? It makes no sense to me. From October 1 to October 31, everything revolves around Halloween. Everything turns orange. Businesses have sales dedicated to the Halloween season. Burger King had the incredible promotion this year of the Black Whopper that made people poop green slime (brilliant). Costume shops and novelty stores meet their yearly bottom lines during the season. Some things can only be found during this time of the year like haunted houses and pumpkin spice whatever (for the love of Cthulhu will you people knock it off with the pumpkin spice!). And it’s a time for family and friends pulling friendly pranks designed to scare the piss out of Little Tommy or finally give Granny that stroke you’ve all been waiting to happen (Aunt Jenny says she’s getting her jewelry and we can have the fine china). Although all holidays have their specific themes that make them special, only two other holidays get a full month-long advertisement campaign and share all the same qualities as Halloween and we get the day off no matter what date or day of the week they fall (they come after Halloween in case you are unfamiliar). And only Halloween is followed immediately by another holiday…All Saints Day.
But we do get the day off for Columbus Day…a holiday that elicits feelings ranging from apathy to hatred. We get the day off to celebrate Christopher Columbus who terrorized and eventually wiped out an entire indigenous civilization when he accidently bumped into the Americas one night. That would actually make a great haunted attraction…Columbus’ Arrival Of Doom. It just seems that a holiday that brings joy that people anticipate should be a day we get off instead of a holiday that brings controversy that no one but furniture stores celebrate. I mean everyone loves Halloween but everyone hates Chris (Columbus).