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.