Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!!

Okay, only in America can an obscure Celtic-Druidic harvest festival and excuse to rape and drink and sacrifice newborns and goats become a multi-billion dollar consumer orgy. Bandy-legged pie-faced Papists known as the Irish ;-) brought it here in the 1820s along with the concept of street gangs and an aversion to birth control, but it truly wasn't until the late 1970s-early 80s that it became a "holiday" commandeered from children by bored, craven adults. Perhaps it was the masterpiece 1978 film Halloween? Don't get me wrong, for movie lovers this is the best time of year thanks to AMC's "Monsterfest" and various documentaries, creature feature marathons, etc. Some say it was Reaganomics, the rise of the religious right. Some say it was the concomitant fear-mongering regarding serial killers and devilish pedophiles and black folks in masks burglaring homes? Or possibly economic dislocations and migrations and developer- and S & L-led building booms and busts, or people waiting to have to kids? This utterly skews the demographics of so-called stable neigborhoods. Hard to let kids trick or treat when you don't know or trust your neighbor...or you don't have kids!

Or maybe it was we baby-boomers (andI'm the young side of the post-war deluge, OK!) recalling the heyday of Halloween, now having the income to indulge their bullshit narcissism? BINGO!
See, we remember the "Ben Garrison"-brand flammable non-reflective cheesy costumes and plastic or paperboard masks. We remember when tribes of kids would roam neighborhoods en masse, in the DARK, and even get cooked food as treats! Schools had MASSIVE Halloween parties--no one gave a damn about Holy Rollers who thought it was demonic or left wing weenies who didn't want their kids "left out" if they didn't have a costume...
We, in turn, were soon running firms and businesses which might make a buck off Halloween. So we peddled this prurience to the masses et you have little girls wanting the same sex-charged costumes as their moms, and boys wanting to dress like the latest movie or computer game hero--duly licensed so everyone can make money. You can see it in the evolution of creatures like "Pinhead," or Michael Myers, Freddie Kruger, Jason Vorhees (who wasn't even in the first two Friday the 13ths--and didn't get the hockey mask till the third). They started as truly terrifying, fresh and original creations. Now milked to death and brand name pop icons. My generation has ruined this country...

My favorite hypocrisy is that of so-called pious black folks who associate Halloween with the Devil. Huh? Nothing is worse than talking to brothers and sister who I presume are educated, make a decent living and have some sense of history or perspective--and then they go and spout nonsense. One such fool, father of two, an attorney, upright brother, told he learned at Morehouse never to lower your dignity by putting on a costume! Interesting...considering his family's from the Caribbean and Catholic and this whole concept of Carnivale and communing with the dead and pre-Lenten festival attire was pretty much born there! But no--he became a Baptist at "The House" and told me his pastor had forbidden any mention of Halloween (they call it "Fall Party Night" for the kids, something silly like that). His wife--a former social worker and once a sharp, sexy woman, keeps her mouth shut and enables this crap. She's damn happy just to have a stable black man and "trophy" kids in BabyGap clothes and the huge pre-fab home of her dreams whilst her single girlfriends troll for the same. Mindlessly, she nodded in approval at hubby; she's told me many times her husband's full of shit. [They've moved back to the Atlanta area from DC so I don't much care if they read this and get offended Ha!] Wish I could say they were a minority within the minority, or there are pastors out there chuckling at Halloween and fighting the true evils out there: ignorance, poverty, war, crime, exploitation. Ahhhh...who am I kidding?
On the other side of the Bill Cosby-esque fence...while having coffee Monday and fresh from the trauma of another death in our extended family, I spied on a woman interviewed for a local newspaper. She was maybe in her early forties, obese (and I don't mean pleasantly thick) cigarette viced between two stubby fingers and corralling a horde of own kids, step-stair in age from toddler to possibly less than twenty years younger than she. Oh no, Halloween's for "them other folks," and she doesn't let her kids trick or treat, and she even told the school attended by two of her daughters not to have any Halloween celebration or allow any costumes. Her son looked to be a full foot taller than me, and was swathed in a black tall tee, black baggy jeans and his head squeezed into a tight wave cap, so tight that his short braids stuck out and ithad the look of a small black octopus sucking on the boy's head. He smirked and said he "di'n't need no Halloween to go out an' do what I [he] do," and the mom prompty told him to shut up (as the smarmy reporter and goth-looking photography chuckled nervously). But oh no--Halloween's demonic. Please.

So I'm going to enjoy the irony and stupidity and drive my wife nuts singing the annoying theme-song from Halloween 3: Season of the Witch (nothing to do with Michael Myers) now's the time for all you kiddies to put on your Silver Shamrock special mask...and DIE!!! AH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA AH-HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.


Anonymous said...

Curmudgeonery at it's best. You and Stanley Crouch need to get married!

Agree that some people take Halloween too seriously, either as an excuse to party and act stupid, or as some symbol of evil, yadda yadda. Interesting point--when did it truly cease to be something for kids?

I'm sure you'll be hearing from the Irish-American community soon LOL.

Lisa said...

I am a woman of color who has bought into this. Literally. I can show you the Visa statement next month for purchases from Target and Spencer gifts for my son and of course myself. My boyfriend hasn't changed his costume in two years. He is "Shaft." It's getting old. (OK the first year I met him he was "Mace Windu.")

Anonymous said...

Halloween forever!!! From pre-K to the retirement home, dress up and enjoy yourself!!!

To those of you (black, white, whatever) whom associate Halloween with the devil or won't allow yor children to participate in the festivities... get over it!

Snowman said...

As a member of the "pie-face" race I'm going to give you a break only because I follow the blog and appreciate your humor and satire. Nevertheless there are many who don't.
I will admit that yes we sons of Erin likely did invent the street gang, however.

Anonymous said...

On NPR or perhaps another talk show I heard something about Halloween being called the Autumn Harvest Party in schools now?

Anonymous said...

Autumn Harvest Party???!!! Give me a break!!! I'm a black male in my mid/late 30's and I just don't see what the big deal is? IT'S HALLOWEEN!!! The only reason I'm not dressing up this year is that I didn't prepare early enough and I don't want to lower my costume standards. :-) Chris, somebody, anybody, break it down for me!!!

ps Who's going to the P-Funk show in DC?

tchaka owen said...

Chris, I believe the beginning of the decline of Halloween as something for kids was in the mid-70s. I remember in 1976, right after Halloween there were reports of kids finding razorblades in apples. Kids were then supposed to accept only wrapped candy, however there was always a fear of some nut committing another nefarious act.

I picked up the Washington Post yesterday as I was catching my flight back to Miami and read an article on the sexy costumes that are prevalent nowadays. Two things I gathered from the article:

1. It is definitely an adult-centric event now. An opportunity for baby-boomers, Gen X and Gen Y to get out there and have all sorts fun.

2. The notion of sexy outfits is attributed to 'Mean Girls' when one girl said "[sic] Halloween is the one day of the year you can dress like a slut and get away with it". Now there are girls 10, 11, 12...dressing in risque outfits.

Lastly, I applaud you on calling out the bullshit witch-worshipping/satanic crap. WTF? Are people that clueless in this world?

I just had a conversation last week about Harry Potter and the notion by some that it's witchcraft and thus their banning of the books. Can't kids just have fun and enjoy fantasy without adults interferring?

Anonymous said...

Now the Irish and Morehouse Men are comin' after you!!!

plez... said...

my daughter is going to be the prettiest little witch in the subdivision. we got two uncarved pumpkins at the front door... and two large plastic pumpkins filled with sugary treats.

i trick or treated... and dammit... so will my daughter!

as a 6'4" black man who is not under contract with any NBA or NFL team, it is best that i don't attract any unnecessary attention to myself, so i'll just go out dressed in my everyday plezWorld garb.


nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

This post cracked me up.

The poster who said you and Stanley Crouch need to get married also made me laugh. Hilarious.

What the hell is an Autumn Harvest Party? It's Halloween dammit. Let the kids have some fun. It's bad enough they can't Trick or Treat like back in the day because people barely know their neighbors.

I also want to know why am I seeing Christmas items in the stores already? Can't we wait until after Thanksgiving? Everything is so commercialized.

(I thought I had added you to my blog roll...I will now)

Anonymous said...

We love Halloween! I was listening to the Ed Norris show one day, and they were talking about how many schools are having these "Fall Harvest" parties so that they do not offend people of other religions or those who view this as some sort of an evil holiday. Chris and I do not have children yet, but when we do we will join in the fun. Have we become so sensitive in our society that we are taking the fun out of this harmless celebration?

People need to stop being so sensitive and just have fun.

Oh by the way, Chris loves the Irish and Morehouse. I am a proud Howard grad, and he does not have a problem with me! Please forgive his madman musings. At times, he just gets carried away. You will be happy to know however, at the end of the day he still has to do the dishes and take out the trash.

Anonymous said...

If you include the folks 15 years older and 15 years younger than us, then yes, we ruined the country.

I can't even begin to describe the many ways we've fucked things up.

Our parents should disown the entire generation. Problem is, it will probably get worse with the new bunch of dimwits we've created.

Professor Tharps said...

Right on Chris,

When i dropped my kid off at school yesterday, properly adorned in his fireman costume...ready for the all-school costume parade...the one poor kid without a costume (and yes he was Black) comes up to me and says,

"I'm nothing for Halloween."
"Why?" I ask.
"Because my mom says Halloween is for the devil. We don't believe in Halloween."
"Ok" I said, crying inside for this little first grader who clearly will never know the joy of neither a trick nor a treat.
Then he says, "but when I go home, I'm going to be be a ninja because I think I believe in a little Halloween."
"Good for you," I said.

Then proceded to wonder what kind of crap this poor child's family is feeding him. And while I'm talking about feeding, does anyone else notice that now it seems like parents are talking about throwing all their kids candy away while they're sleeping and telling them the candy fairy took it and they'll get a new toy instead.

I'm almost falling for it too, like somehow candy is really that bad. But if I'm not mistaken I ate alllllll my candy after halloween, and I'm still standing! And unlike my own kids who only trick or treat on one block, my friends and I shook down the entire neighborhood. So what are we freaking out about?


Anonymous said...

F&%k Halloween! Bring on the Christmas Rush despite the mortgage crisis and $4/gallon gas!