Friday, November 1, 2013

Trick or treating: A journey into the sad death of an American institution

The happy couple. I don't look happy, but I am.

So there’s another successful Halloween mostly in the books.
                I say mostly because I’m sitting here watching my all-time favorite horror movie, “The Blair Witch Project.”
                Once Mikey gets sent to the corner, then Halloween will be officially over for yours truly.
                The first Halloween in our new house was an interesting one. I was pretty psyched out of my mind about greeting trick or treaters, making brief-but -awkward conversation with them and their parents and then sending the lot on its way with a plastic pumpkin or a pillow case or a grocery bag filled with candy.
                You know, just like George Washington intended when he built this country with his own three hands. Fun fact about George Washington, he had three hands.

                I was not the only one hyped up about Halloween. Starting at about 6:07, my girlfriend parked herself in our dining room right near the front door so she would be immediately ready to answer the door for kids in costumes.
                Seemed like overkill to sit like ten feet from the front door on a moderately uncomfortable wooden chair all night, so I dragged her into the living room, which is a wholly unreasonable  twenty feet from the front door? Less? More? I don’t know distances.
There was no chance of missing a kid in a costume at the front door from the living room and we’d all be way more comfortable in the process.
                And so there we sat, watching another of my go-to Halloween movies, Tim Burton’s “Sleepy Hollow.” Waiting.
                About an hour and a half later, we were ready to throw in the towel. Grand total: 11 trick or treaters.
                We saw way more parents out and about then kids. At least twice as many, I’d say.
                And then out of the blue BAM! Two more kids showed up long after the rest of their cohorts had long since disappeared.
                Final score: Lucky number 13. Game over.
                The big winner of the evening was either a cute kid in a Thomas the Tank Engine Costume or a little Iron Man who desperately wanted “Kitty Kats” even if they fell on the ground.
                There was also a weird little Dracula in a track suit and cape who started peeking in our front window after knocking on the door once.
                Very disappointing turnout to say the least, as our giant bowl of unclaimed candy would indicate.
                When I was a kid, trick or treating was a major deal, these days, not so much.
                I’m not sure who to blame for the sad state of affairs that has overtaken Halloween these days. As with everything that goes wrong in this country, my first thought is to blame the terrorists. Not any specific terrorists, just terrorists in general.
                It may be a coincidence, but Halloween has never been the same since 9/11. Maybe it’s also because that just so happened to be the year that society dubbed me too old to trick or treat without getting funny looks.
                But either way, people got weird with each other after that, a lot of trust went out the window. Parents started doubling down on that whole “Don’t take candy from strangers” stuff.
                Maybe it’s not terrorists or overly-protective parents I should be blaming. Maybe it’s the douchebags who can’t be bothered to buy a four dollar giant bag of candy and leave a porch light on, the same douchebags who seem to occupy about 75% of the houses in my neighborhood.
                It’s one night of the year. A little awkward socialization isn’t going to kill you.
    I can’t sit back and watch while such a fun and unique institution faded more and more each year.
                I’m about a year away from packing up my two cats and dragging them around the neighborhood on Oct. 31, just so I can have the experience of going door to door on Halloween with something smaller than me.
                Because let’s face it, by the time I poop out some kids, trick or treating is going to be something we tell kids about, like the days when gas cost a nickel and you could leave your front door wide open at night without having to worry about a roving gang of mutant cannibals walking in and robbing you blind.
                Happy Halloween everybody and let’s all pledge to keep trick or treating alive a little while longer.
                    Or else the terrorists, the Blair Witch and the anti-social candy-hating maniacs of the world win.               

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