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Halloween: an exercise in torture

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As I head into this weekend with my plan of going to the Halloween party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night, I am going to make this personal and try and explain to everyone why I don’t like Halloween. It’s been so long since I have hated it that I almost can’t remember why I hate it anymore.

I can remember in high school when some kids just couldn’t give up the tradition of dressing up, I would be embarrassed for them. I mean really. Give it up. When you are 15 you are too damn old to dress up and do the candy snatch like the little ones. I remember when my sister came to the age where my dad thought she was too old to dress up and collect candy and my sister wanted to keep doing it and have a good time with it. I remember the fight and I remember thinking, “What in the world are they arguing about? Can I be too old to dress up now too?”

My memories of trick-or-treating through my (more-rural-than-most) suburban neighborhood are not the happiest ones. I am sure we had fun, but those aren’t the memories I keep closest to the front of my brain. I think I have always hated dressing up. I remember the one time I dressed like a ghost in an outfit that my mom made for me. It was really pretty good. It consisted of a sheet and then a special second sheet for me to wear over my head. (No, I did NOT look like a member of the Klan.)

So, I started getting unbelievably uncomfortable with the thing on my head as the various child-like facial juices collected on the edges of the mouth and nose holes. So I just stopped wearing it. We (my dad, my brother and I) go up to this one house and this old lady comes out and I don’t remember what my brother was dressed as, but as she looked at me, in her voice, that sounded about as wrinkled as her face appeared, she said to me, “What are you supposed to be, a choir boy?” I remember being too polite to say anything, but I am sure I had the disgusted look of disapproval on my face. You know the one that is a combination of, I am not very happy right now, oh wait, what’s that smell?

On top of my rage against costumes, I remember not really caring about the candy so much either. There were lots and lots of houses with long driveways. We would walk around “the block” which was really a two-mile loop of a suburban neighborhood street. My adolescent legs freezing cold and tired in the bitter Cleveland October night. I wouldn’t have been able to verbalize it at the time, but the conclusion that I had as a kid was that the marginal benefit of getting a few pieces of candy by making an ass out of myself in an uncomfortable costume was much too little to make this exercise in torture worth the trouble. I mean I remember a couple years toward the end that I gave a portion of the remaining candy to my brother anyway.

So, at some point these experiences developed into a pure hatred for the entire “holiday.” I have spent the rest of my days (thus far) avoiding the whole Halloween thing like the plague. Now, at age 24 I am going to the Halloween ball at the Rock Hall of Fame on Saturday night. Yes I am dressing up. I must be some sort of masochist.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • Eric Olsen

    Craig dude! I love Hallowwen and everything about it: the dressing up is cathartic and liberating, I don’t care much about candy now but when I was a kid that was key. But even more than the actual candy, it was so cool to simply collect all that stuff and pour it out on the bed. I also loved getting a little older – 12, 13 – so I could roam farther and longer and just be out in the cool, spooky night with my friends. Of course I was in SoCal so it was never all that cold, and there have been some Halloweens since I’ve been back in Ohio where the weather was just miserable and tht takes a lot of the fun out of trick or treating, but as a parent there’s not much else as satisfying as cruising with your little cuties, sending them up to the door by themselves so they feel big and brave, hearing the squeals of delight at the cuteness and/or scariness of your progeny, and carrying on your merry way.

    There’s also nothing much more fun than DJing a Halloween, or any costume party, either – people lose their inhibitions in costume post haste.

  • What can I say? I am an admitted party-pooper when it comes to Halloween.