I am a Halloween Grinch. I just don’t like Halloween – I don’t like carving pumpkins, I don’t like dressing up, I look horrible in orange and I’ve reached the age where eating five Milky Ways in rapid succession is really not a good idea. Like most of my less virtuous qualities, I blame this on my mother, who took the joy out of Halloween by announcing when I was nine that I could no longer trick-or-treat because strange men were going to ply me with razor blades. (She was unwilling to ensure my safety by accompanying me, I suspect because the witching hour conflicted with cocktail hour.) As a result, I was left out of the Halloween festivities for most of my childhood (and missed the chance to dress up like a bum before political correctness resulted in the elimination of that classic costume).
Fast forward to adulthood where, now that I have long since gotten over any urge to participate in this particular holiday, I am forced to do so. Living in a tony suburb, where people deck the halls for Halloween with an incomprehensible (to me) amount of gusto, I am given the dreaded task of manning the door, while my husband makes the rounds with our daughter. (He, having resolved the witching hour/cocktail hour dilemma by calling upon sweet old widows who dispense cans of beer with their Reese’s Pieces, is a most enthusiastic trick-or-treater.) After several years of door duty, I’ve discovered to my great annoyance that the Halloween lexicon of my youth (up until age eight at least), which consisted of “Trick or Treat” and “Thank you very much,” has been replaced with “I’m allergic to nuts”, “Can I have three?” and “Mrs. X gives out full-size bars.” They might as well all just dress like Gordon Gekko. But then, just when I am beginning to understand the point behind the razor blades, I open the door to a giant bumble bee (actually a very small person dressed as a bumble bee). Though she can barely talk, she has mastered, and not yet forgotten, the words “Thank you.” My small heart does not quite grow three sizes, but it grows enough for me to make it through the evening without going postal. But not without the five Milky Ways.
–written by Laura Kane, Massachusetts
This is the second contribution to our new category, PERSONAL STORIES. What’s yours?