Boo, Humbug 

To hell with Halloween.

I think I hate Halloween. As I told my kids, I'm too old to pretend to like it anymore.

They told me that they already knew how I felt. I didn't think I'd been so bad at hiding it. It's not cool to hate Halloween, and I'd like to think I have even some fragment of a cool quotient. But there it is, in black and white, or orange and black, or whatever.

I should say that my reasons for hating the hallowed event have nothing to do with a dislike for dressing up. I know there are people who refuse to alter their appearances in any way. I've cheerfully attended plenty of costume parties. I'm totally willing to make a fool of myself and have done so many times. No, it's more the nature of the dress-up theme or what it's become. Bees and brides and Superman are all fine, but as kids get older, costumes get gruesome.

The thing that I really, really loathe is the blood factor. I have a total aversion to the guts-and-gore aspect of the occasion. I can't stand those violent vinyl masks that look like dripping ghouls risen from the grave or warty cyclopses or heads with a chainsaw slicing them in two as their veins pop. As if there isn't enough scary stuff in real life right about now. What's next? A sniper suit?

Also, I hate spending money on costumes that my kids will wear for a total of two hours, just long enough to amass an ungodly amount of sucrose. Have you been to those costume places? You can plunk down some serious cash for a get-up that will be worn once because goodness knows your child won't want to be a Teletubby twice. What a racket.

When my kids were little, they wore costumes that we pulled together from a dress-up box — doctor, princess, cowboy, etc. I did make my daughter an adorable felt Red Riding Hood cloak one year, but she tore it off in a tantrum in the middle of the nursery-school gym. Then there was the pink poodle skirt she said she had to have … I was foolish enough to buy it three weeks before Halloween, thinking I'd avoid that last-minute insanity that befalls all trick-or-treaters. But, alas, she wanted to be a movie star by the time the big day arrived.

Smashing pumpkins. My final grievance is one against all the meanies out there who get gleeful by taking a perfectly good pumpkin that a family has taken time to creatively carve and pulverizing it in the middle of the street. Have you ever seen the face of a child who wakes up Nov. 1 to see his pumpkin in bits? Downright sad.

Maybe if I studied up on the history of the tradition I'd get it. I'd have some reverence for the whole pumpkin-ghost-and-witch thing. Maybe I'd understand what it is about Halloween that incites violence — in attire and in pumpkin-crunching action.

I'll temper this rant with this: There is one thing I like about Halloween — candy corn. God, that stuff is good. S


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