Halloween. Bah Humbug. I know I said I would avoid politics on this blog, and I am staying true to that for the most part, but today we are going to cover the next most polarizing topic, HALLO-FRICKING-WEEN. Man, people either love this stupid holiday or hate it, and I fall firmly in the latter group. I’m sure most of you are already hopped up on bite size Twix getting ready for the big weekend with your crazy costumes, scary makeup and demonic cheer, but not me. Personally I would prefer to go to sleep tonight and wakeup in November.
I’m assuming as a child I must have enjoyed Halloween, because CANDY and staying up late, but even then I think it stressed me out more than anything else. I mean, do you guys remember when your parents had to look through all your candy for RAZOR BLADES and POISON? And you needed to walk around your neighborhood with an adult or older sibling in case someone was trying to kidnap you? My older sibling is only 5’3, so fat lot of good THAT would have done. Although, I talked so much as a kid, the would-be kidnappers would have probably dropped back off at my house in a few hours with a note apologizing to my parents for having to deal with me. As a worrisome child I think it was just all a little too much, even if the pay-off was an epic sugar high. Now, I hate Halloween because I don’t like costumes, I don’t like strangers, I don’t like strangers in costumes, I don’t like people at my door, I don’t like people in costumes at my door, and I REALLY don’t like it when older kids that are my size come to my door asking for candy and I can’t tell if they just hit an early growth spurt, or they’re casing my house to steal my TV/murder me.
Plus, we don’t even celebrate it the way it was originally intended to be celebrated. HISTORY LESSON TIME!!! Contrary to popular belief, Halloween wasn’t always an excuse to dress up in ridiculous/slutty costumes and get white girl wasted at frat house. Nor was it a time to dress your toddler up like a dinosaur and take them door to door asking for free food. Instead, Halloween’s origin comes from the Celtic Festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in for some unfathomable reason). Samhain marked the end of summer and the beginning of winter when the otherworldly boundary between the living and the dead became blurred, making it easier for you to see dead people like that kid in The Sixth Sense. The Celts believed that on this night all these spirits could come back and either cause havoc or just say hello, but you didn’t know which until it was too late. Thus, in order to protect themselves, people would wear ugly masks, disguises and animal skins to confuse the asshole spirits, so they would go on to pick on somebody else, like Judy in Accounting because she’s the WORST. The Druids (Celtic Priests – one day when you’re playing trivia in some dive bar and this question comes up, you’ll thank me) would light huge bonfires and burn crops and animals (yikes) as an offering to Celtic deities, then sit around and tell people’s fortunes. Sounds like a pretty rad time minus the whole animal sacrifice thing. Other people avoided the disguises, but left food out in their homes for the evil spirits in order to appease them. Most people in Ireland left out a combination of cabbage and potatoes, which seems to me like a sure-fire way to get haunted, but I guess the food in the afterworld is probably pretty bad.
Cut to the Romans coming in and taking everything over and the Pope being all, all this stuff seems a little “pagany”, so let’s change this holiday into All Saints Day, also known as All Hallows Day – making October 31st, All Hallows Eve. From there you get Halloween. This spooky holiday didn’t come to North America until the mass Irish-Scottish immigration in the mid 19th century as a result of the “Great Potato Famine.” So the next time you’re in a Facebook argument with the racist kid you graduated from high school with, remind them that without immigrants, they wouldn’t have Halloween. Checkmate. Though obviously Halloween spread throughout North America with its own new traditions, in the beginning colonial New England was so Protestant, that it was mainly just the southern states and Maryland that celebrated. Apparently, Maryland has always known how to party. History lesson complete. They should hire me to teach this stuff somewhere.
Now, it just seems like Halloween has kind of gone off the rails. I mean, I do like seeing the little kids trick or treat, I’m not a total monster. But as for the rest of it, I could just kind of do without. Maybe because I’ve never been able to get away with the slutty _____________ costume. They don’t really make those things in size Amazonian.
Plus, there is always so much pressure to find a good costume, it’s exhausting! Several years ago one of my best friends had a big Halloween party and she really wanted all of us to deck out and go nuts with our costumes. The entire time leading up to the party, I’d planned to go as sister-wives with one of my girlfriends. We of course waited way too long to actually find what would make up these costumes, so on the DAY OF, my friend went to the Halloween store and bought a great costume off the rack. I’d just started practicing as an attorney at a big firm, and as young associates do, had agreed to judge the office Halloween Party, which was to take place directly after the business day. My party was at 7 pm that night. So, there I was, judging little kids’ Halloween costumes (which seems kind of harsh now that I think about it) with NO costume for a party taking place in 2 hours. And my friend who was hosting the party is a HUGE Halloween person, so showing up sans outfit was not an option. I got home and in a panic started rummaging through my closets searching for anything I could cobble together, all the while seething at my friend for leaving me high and dry. It was a very dramatic series of moments, let me tell you. Finally, my eyes fell onto my answer. A white sheet, gleaming almost as if to say “pick me! I’m here! I volunteer as tribute!” I grabbed the sheet, put on an outfit of all black, cut out two little holes and threw it over my head. Behold, I had transformed into a ghost right before my very eyes. As I walked into the party, a hush fell out onto the room. “Who is that??”, they whispered. Trying to remain in character, I refused to take off my sheet until finally I had to cut an extra hole so I can stick a straw through and drink my wine. At the end of the night, the results of the costume contest came in and this last-second ghost won second place. My friend throwing the party was miffed because she said I didn’t put any effort into my costume, but there I was, A WINNER. It was an amazing night.
I’ve not been able to replicate the same success with other costumes, partly because I’m pretty lame. One year I went as a ceiling fan – and decorated a t-shirt that said “Go Ceilings!” 5 minutes before I walked out the door. Another time I went as a Basic Witch and wore workout clothes, Uggs, a Burberry scarf, and a witch hat. We completed our look with a Starbucks cup full of Pumpkin Spiced Latte (actually it was vodka). Two years ago I was a unicorn (pink workout clothes and a unicorn hat – SO COMFY). Last year I went as a Cat Caller, which I’ve blogged about before (my personal fave other than the ghost). And finally, the worst one ever – one year I actually wore normal clothes and went as a Canadian. I just said “Eh?” and “aboot” a lot. I’m not proud.
So, enjoy your holiday you little pagans. As for me I will be at home, praying for all of your souls.