I’ll say it: I hate Halloween. It is my least favorite holiday. Since the age of two, I had severe childhood asthma. It was the sixties and it probably had to do with both of my parents smoking in our small apartment, but it was the Mad Men era, and I’ll forgive them their ignorance. I did love Halloween back then and I loved to dress up. Until I had to put on the mask. I couldn’t breathe. You see back “in my day,” we didn’t have elaborate costumes or face-paint. We went to the dime store and picked out our favorite character, which ranged from Batman to Bo Peep. Although I would have given anything to be Batman, I was a girl and as stated previously, it was the sixties. So I got Bo Peep. The costumes of my day consisted of a cheap nylon something-you-put-over-your-clothes and a hard plastic mask with a two eyeholes, two small nostril holes and one miniscule hole for your mouth. Think Hannibal’s mask but less ventilated.
Most of the time I trick-or-treated with said mask pulled up on my head like a headband or down around my neck which left the adults asking, “And, what are you supposed to be, dear?” If I were as cranky as a child as I am today I would have said, “A kid wanting candy. Gimme.” Yeah, I loved the candy. So I suffered through the custom of knocking on strangers’ doors so I could get my fair share and take advantage of the one night when my parents let me have as much as I wanted. (And BTW f*** all those people who gave me pennies.)
I was also a very fearful child, born that way. I was scared of loud noises (cue Steve Carrell), clowns (of course!), every grownup on earth (except my parents) and anything else I couldn’t identify. I didn’t like things in costumes. Except Batman, because the TV show made it clear it was really Bruce underneath the cowl. But a random stranger in a costume? Nuh-uh. Not my brand of fun.
I got over all that, but I still don’t like things that pop out and go “boo” or “ahhhhh!” or “gotcha!” I’ve never seen that Tim Burton thing with the singing skeletons. And how are those skeletons singing, anyway? They have no mouths or lungs or vocal chords, hello! I hate all scary movies. I don’t want to be scared, frightened, or have those slasher images in my mind. (Okay, I watch Hannibal, but because it’s mostly a psychological thriller and I cover my eyes during the gory parts.)
Now that I’m very grown up, I don’t like candy. And I don’t believe any child should be putting it into their innocent little unpoisoned bodies. I don’t like to see girls dressed up as princesses while the boys are dressed up as their favorite video game character or gun-toting superhero. Ok, some of them are dressed up like that yellow thing that looks like my big toe with glasses. I didn’t see the movie, but I guess it’s supposed to be very cute.
I realize Halloween is fun for parents with elementary-age children. When mine was a tot, I hand-made all her costumes until we had a falling out about my favorite one (and her least-favorite): the weather. I still think it was most clever. Miranda thought I had lost my mind.
Halloween, now, means that instead of AMC showing Philadelphia Story or All About Eve, they’re playing cheesy horror flicks with the same name as the holiday. Chainsaws, knife claws. No, thank you. I want my Cary, James, Katharine and Bette. Halloween, now, is seeing Facebook posts on costumes, potential costumes, flashback costumes, costumes on video. Sorry, but I have had no interest in donning a costume since I left college. (I don’t even dress up to go to Comicon, and I’m a geek.) I don’t judge, I’m just not interested in it.
So now as a–I’ll say–mature adult, I will suffer through another Halloween. I’ll walk through the gates of Hell again so I can get to my favorite time of year: the real holidays. But even that Santa costume kinda freaks me out, so I’ll be giving him a wide berth at the mall.