It won’t be long now and the neighbor kids will be running across my lawn and, under the approving eye of their loving parents, practice extortion. They call it trick-or-treating, but everyone knows it’s just a huge shakedown. Here I am a grown man and I have to shell out a Jujube so some little six-year old brat doesn’t unload the leftover tomatoes from his grandpa’s garden on my screen door? What kind of sick tradition is this? I don’t even know what a Jujube is.
It turns out that the tradition of Halloween is one of those Christian origin things that people prefer to ignore the origin of…like science, or equality, or torturing people to get them to recant—oh wait; everybody remembers that last one. It’s true, though. Halloween is a religious observance; something about remembering all the saints and martyrs who died of hypoglycemia. But don’t tell the politically correct secular police or they might get all hissyfitted into a new pair of whinypants and we’d have to start calling it Holidayween and kids would no longer be allowed to ‘cross’ the street to trick-or-treat.
And where did trick-or-treating come from, anyway? Oddly enough, it was not always the protection racket that it is today. It actually stems from a medieval practice not unlike Christmas wassailing (except for the ‘Christmas’ and the ‘wassailing’ parts) where the poor would go door-to-door and offer up prayers for the dead in exchange for food and popcorn balls—which is where the ‘tricking’ came in because the poor would then bounce the popcorn balls off the aluminum siding leaving dents on the houses of those who handed them out because everyone knows their taste and texture is remarkably like the aluminum foil in which they are wrapped. I’m pretty sure that some of those same popcorn balls are still in circulation today.
We try to hand out quality candy at our house instead of popcorn balls or floss, sticking largely to the gooey chocolate varieties as The Queen Mother likes her leftovers and she would not be happy with leftover floss. Last year our candy didn’t last very long and I will tell you why:
The tendency in our house is to sneaky-snack on the candy before the treating even starts, reducing the quantity to be given to the poor, entitled suburban middle-class children we work so hard to supply. I thus had the idea of keeping the four pounds or so of sugar-laden victuals out of sight until the trick-or-treating had earnestly begun. Now where in the world would one hide such an enormous bowl of chocolate from one’s family and yet have it readily accessible when the strangers come knocking? Why, in the oven of course!
This was a great idea until The Queen Mother brought home one of those new-fangled take-and-bake pizzas that everyone is talking about. Turns out that pre-heating the oven to 425 is good for neither piles of chocolate nor giant plastic bowls. The bottom line is that we only had one piece of candy to hand out. One enormous, four-pound piece of candy. And we gave it to the first kid that came by. Luckily for the other kids we found some cherry cough lozenges in the crack of the couch. And some floss. Later we kept hearing rumors of some little Angry Bird lugging a huge warped bowl-shaped hunk of chocolate around the neighborhood, but we didn’t know anything about that.
Of course, much like frying bugs with a magnifying glass and letting your children ride in the back car window, Halloween has been ruined by the fun patrol, which makes one’s ween increasingly hollow.
I read in the news that administrators at various universities (that may or may not include the name ‘Colorado’ or ‘Minnesota’) have instructed their students to avoid any costumes that might promote and/or degrade any specific race, culture or gender, which pretty much negates all costumes based on humanity to include not wearing a costume at all because most people out there are of a specific race, culture and gender. In other words, students are no longer allowed on college campuses.
I’m just glad these administrators weren’t in charge of the parties I went to dressed up as Whitey Ford or Ethel Mormon—no wait: offending one’s religion is okay, so Ethel Mormon would fly. Except that she is white and female. Rats. Nevermind.
I suppose if you can’t beat them, then join them. That is why this year I have decided to buck Halloween altogether and save the eight dollars in sugary deliciousness for myself by being offended at every costume that my neighbor kids throw at me. Sorry little Woody the Cowboy, no candy for you. Your costume perpetuates the stereotype that cowboys are all white, calfskin vest-wearing cattle oppressors. And you either, Fairy Godmother. Your cute tiara is a slap in the face of the homosexual, atheist, and feminist movements. Next time go as a Gay Natureprochoicer and maybe I’ll give you a skittle.