It used to be a holiday that everyone looked forward to. Ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties (trust me, the waitresses at a club I used to go to in Miami took Halloween seriously, and they did very well tip wise every Halloween night…but I digress.)
Children were encouraged to be creative, to let their imaginations run wild. Costumes were works of art, with months of planning and work put into them. Witches and pirates, monsters and maidens, princes and princesses roamed the streets in absolute safety, pretending to scare and be scared, lugging home approximately three tons of boodle, swag, loot, and stuff at the end of the evening.
Somewhere along the lines, things changed.
Stories of razor blades in apples began to spread and take hold. Candy tampered with everything from needles to cyanide. Rumors of neighborhood houses where children went in, and never came out. Pranks that began as silly stuff, such as overturning garbage cans, degenerated into outright vandalism with broken windows and destroyed property.
Then came the 1970’s…When things got really weird. Seriously so. The dawning of Political Correctness. The Liberal Left telling us Halloween was bad, it was pagan, it was worshipping the Devil. The game Dungeons and Dragons was banned from an entire supermarket chain in Florida because one, ONE, woman complained about it, told the manager it was worshipping the Devil, encouraging children to move to the Dark Side.
Now we have the 1980’s…
Immigrants coming to the US disdaining American holidays, and companies going along with it. When I was at a Major Oil Consortium, one member of my team came to me in tears when a customer had gotten extremely ugly with her because we did not deliver on July 4th. I contacted the customer personally, explained the telephone rep was correct, and we would get his gasoline to him first thing the morning of the 5th. He told me in no uncertain terms that the Fourth of July was a stupid holiday, it was not celebrated in his home country, he saw no sense to it, and we needed to keep the refinery open just for him, just in case he needed anything. I tactfully (this was back when I believed in tact) pointed out he wasn’t in his country, he was in America now, and should respect American traditions. He cursed me in some foreign language (something about my mother and a goat, or a camel; to this day I'm not sure), went to my boss’s boss’s boss, and raised Cain. I got chewed out, told to be more tolerant of differences. The end result was the tanker full of gasoline delivered on the 5th was refused because he didn’t do the business on the 4th he was hoping for. I put a copy of the return ticket in an envelope and had it sent to the director who delivered the lecture on tolerance, asking if he would cover the costs from his budget. Never heard back from him. Don’t know why.
Here are the 1990’s…
Hoooooooooo boy. Everything is bad for you. Food, alcohol, breathing, sex, name it. We should all eat tofu and soy, live to be two hundred years old while practicing abstinence. ‘Just Say No’. Tell a woman she looks nice, face a harassment suit. (It was just last week I learned ‘harass’ was one word, but whatever.) Deny someone a promotion they think they deserve, and face a discrimination action. Whether they earned it or deserve it is immaterial. If they want it, they should have it, and God help you if you deny it. At the MOC until 1994, we moved offices once, and one particular woman had to take six weeks sick leave to “cope with the trauma” of moving. Everyone was warned not to say anything to her when she returned, with dire consequences promised for anyone who dared say one word to her about it.
And here was are, in a brand spanking new Millennium…Halloween is no more, it’s a ‘Fall Festival’. Neutral, non-offensive. Costumes are discouraged in schools. Conversely, it’s a release date for movies that show murder as entertainment, torture as performance art. Be sure the victims are female and pretty; torturing guys to death generates fuckall at the box office. Make it last long and loud, with splashy (and not in a good way) special effects. Church and/or school parties are the norm. Children rarely go out on Halloween night anymore, and when they do, it’s more a military operation than a fun experience. Last year, a little Simba came to the door, with his bag oddly empty. I handed him a handful of Tootsie Rolls, he said ‘Thank you’ and bounced back to his parents. Mom reached into the bag, pulled out what I’d given the Little Lion King, Dad whipped out a notepad, and wrote down “Five Tootsie Rolls” followed by our address. The candy went into a separate bag, and as they walked to the house next door, I heard them discussing going to “the clinic” and having everything X-Rayed.
The deserted island with a huge NO TRESPASSING sign is looking better and better and better to me. Maybe the Tarts would be kind enough to bring my mail once a year on a rotating basis….