Alas, Halloween weekend is upon us. At the risk of solidifying your impression of me as a grouch, I must confess this is not my favorite holiday. I did endure in good humor a week of Halloween episodes of my favorite TV shows, but am relieved to have that over with.
Those who know me well know there aren’t many holidays I do like, mostly because of their power to impose unrealistic demands on us. But, as the next two months unfold, you will learn this about me soon enough.
So, what’s my beef with Halloween? I’ll hit the couch and tell you that much of it goes back to childhood. For some reason, I frequently got sick on Halloween night. Not from too much candy; I didn’t even make it out the door for trick-or-treating. Whether I spiked a high fever or spouted a projectile nosebleed right there in my Mary Poppins costume, something tended to strike me.
When I was seven, we moved to Cleveland on Halloween day, so I would have missed trick-or-treating altogether. I was heart-broken. My parents suggested I go out the night before to score some candy. So out I went, on October 30th, without my friends, in my Japanese kimono, ringing doorbells around the neighborhood. What did I find? That most people didn’t buy candy until Halloween day, so I caught many neighbors off guard. But don’t worry, I got over that and I trust they did too.
In those days, kids were cut off from trick-or-treating around age 12, which I think is an appropriate age. Nowadays, trick-or-treaters come in all ages, many without costumes, and this bugs me.
Believe it or not, up to 500 trick-or-treaters come to our door every Halloween. They begin before dinner and ring the doorbell well past 10 p.m. There’s a large Halloween attraction on the street behind our house, which draws people from all over. So, after enjoying the haunted houses, pirate ships and mazes, kids, teens and adults go around the block to trick-or-treat. What the news stories always capture is the cheery neighborliness of this gathering. So how can we not open our door enthusiastically?
Perhaps the most difficult part of Halloween is new to me this year. This is the year I had to give up chocolate.
So, if you happen to be at “Scary Perry” on Sunday night, stop by. I’ll be the one shot-gunning Pixy Stix.