Boo Humbug

Meet Henri, the Cat with Ennui. He speaks French and is disdainful and disaffected. Here is his take on Halloween, which is pretty close to mine.

“None of these costumes are truly scary. No one ever dresses as crippling self-doubt.” I think that’s actually pretty funny.

I don’t like Halloween, either, and haven’t for many, many years. Free candy is cool when you’re a kid, sure, and dressing up was fun, back then. But after dreaming up a swell costume idea and eating myself into a sugar stupor every year for 10 or 12 years in a row, that was pretty much it for me. No need to keep after it once I got into high school. Freshman year might have been my last trip through the neighborhood in a mask. After that, Halloween seemed like more of an occasion for otherwise responsible people to spend a lot of money on nothing important and to act foolishly–intoxication, inappropriate social contact, vandalism and property damage.

This holiday originated as a solstice and harvest celebration, with some pagan overtones of communing with the spirit world as well. But now it’s just another consumer holiday smashed up against Christmas so hard that the orange-and-black merchandise goes out at the same time that the red-and-green stuff does in many stores. Thanksgiving is an afterthought at best. Tomorrow morning the orange-and-black stuff goes straight into the clearance bins and the Christmas buying season begins in full force, for the next two months. Yay.

So I’ll spend another Halloween tonight reading in the back room with all the lights off because I long ago got tired of handing out candy to either 1) little tiny kids barely able to walk who have their parents right behind them to say “trick or treat,” take the candy, and say “thank you” while they just stand there and look at me vacantly or 2) very tall kids (?) in hideous masks but otherwise everyday clothes who come around long after the little ones have gone home to demand their treats with a slightly threatening tone. I never know who any of my visitors are, as my neighborhood is not especially sociable that way. It doesn’t feel like the fun, festive, happy occasion it was when I was a kid. It feels like a demand: buy candy, buy pumpkins, buy costumes, buy-buy-buy. And as for giving the candy away, that doesn’t feel like much fun, either, considering that $5 will buy a huge bag so why do these kids need to go around asking me for it?

Eh, I’ve become a cranky old stick in the mud about this holiday, no doubt. I save my enthusiasm for the holiday that really counts for me: Valentine’s Day. Just wait. You’ll see.

But just to prove I’m not completely unappreciative of a good costume, here’s one of my favorite videos of all time, featuring two dogs dressed up like people having a nice meal at a restaurant. It always makes me laugh.

Happy Halloween, everybody.


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