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Halloween Humbug: Just Call Me Scrooge McPumpkin

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Halloween. I don’t like it. I’ve never liked it. Could someone please make it go away?

Those horrible plastic masks on those little-kid costumes we used to get were hot and uncomfortable. Trick-or-treating was ruined by horror stories of razor blades and poison. And as for stuffing your face with candy: hello, stomach-ache.

But the worst is, you can’t grow out of it. Halloween follows you through adulthood. Every year it’s back, like a recurring nightmare. Crazed, costumed teenagers shouting up and down the streets. People who’ve been raised by wolves, and already don’t give a crap about other people, suddenly freed by costumed anonymity to let their evil-freak flags really fly.

The horror…the horror.

Oh, it’s not all grouching and grumbling with me. I can remember a few magical Halloween experiences. That night in Putney, Vermont walking past all the houses with their intricately carved jack-o-lanterns on display—magical. Good times at the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade one year, a while back, before it got so huge that it became scary—and not in the good way. But those exceptions have been few and far between.

It goes deeper than mere annoyance. Everything, everything, everything seems out of control on Halloween. It’s like that classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween episode—the one from Season Two, in which everyone becomes their costumes. Only this isn’t TV, it’s real.

I know it’s real because although I’m not much for costumes myself, I once spent an evening in a bear suit.

I don’t even remember if was Halloween. My friend Jim had rented a bear suit. He liked it so much he paid for it and kept it, and he lent it to me to wear one night when his band had a gig at Freddy’s Backroom. I spent the whole evening at Freddy’s roaming around having people stare at me as I wore the bear suit. I became a different being. Waving my furry arms around, nodding my head strangely, moving about uncharacteristically slowly. I wasn’t a bad creature. I was a peaceful sort of Smokey-Bear type character. But I wasn’t me.

It was pretty cool actually—felt pretty freeing.

But there aren’t a lot of bear suits out on the streets of New York on Halloween. No. There are skimpy sexy outfits, glaring scary outfits, silly outrageous outfits—all on people with excessive amounts of that whoop-it-up anything-goes energy that comes to people on the one night when you’re supposed to let your inhibitions go.

Bah humbug, I say. Go back to the suburbs. Stop scaring me.

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About Jon Sobel

Jon Sobel is an Executive Editor of Blogcritics as well as lead editor of the Culture & Society section. As a writer he contributes most often to Culture, where he reviews NYC theater; he also covers interesting music releases. He writes the blog Park Odyssey, for which he is visiting and blogging every park in New York City—over a thousand of them. Through Oren Hope Marketing and Copywriting you can hire him to write or edit whatever marketing or journalistic materials your heart desires. By night he's a working musician: lead singer, songwriter, and bass player for Whisperado, a member of other bands as well, and a sideman.
  • Guy D

    Jon, It’s so obvious why you dislike Halloween. You are inherently evil and you fear your dastardly nature being exposed on October 31. I love Halloween and I found your piece most amusing. There is something to be said about costumed people pretending to be psychotic killers in this day and age. Still, you got to get into the spirit of the thing. Steal those quaint porch jack-o-lanterns and smash them in the street. That’s what they’re there for.

  • http://jonsobel.com/ Jon Sobel

    Thanks, Guy! Maybe not recognizing my inherent evil has been my problem all along. :-)

  • http://www.heronbrookhaven.com/events.html c.w.

    So Jon, perhaps you would like to do what we are doing on that day. We are celebrating Music and Healing at Heron Brook Haven with an all day festival, no masks involved.