A week or so ago, a series of enormous pumpkins appeared around the co-op in which I live. And so I knew, with appropriately gathering dread, why the maintenance went up last month. Oh, and that Halloween is round the corner.
I’m a Brit, I live in New York and I’m married to an American, and I don’t get the American take on Halloween.
More than that – I don’t like it.
On 31 October, we will place a large bowl of ‘candy’ – not ‘sweets’, however strenuously I protest – on the dresser by the door. We will then be visited by trick-or-treaters.
There will be flotillas of vaguely threatening teens in piss-poor hire costumes, who will really be too old to be extorting M&Ms with menaces; there will be pushy pre-teens rummaging about in the bowl and interrogating me, to indulgent smiles from their chaperoning parents, about how many Mars bars they can take. There will also be confused toddlers dressed, admittedly with heartbreaking attention to home-made detail, as Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster or the sadly inevitable zombie princess.
And I will be tremendously impatient for it to be over.
This is because in America, I think, Halloween has gone horrendously over the top. It has become rapaciously commercial, hideously tacky and monumentally exploitative. In its oppressive conformity, it has become not-in-the-desired-delicious-way sinister.
I won’t get started on fancy-dress parties for supposed grown-ups and the proliferating curse therein of the ‘sexy’ nurse, zombie, serial killer or Senator Ted Cruz. Better not.
But children – whom Halloween is for, people, however much I hate how it makes them behave – evidently love it, and that only makes me more disappointed in myself for hating the whole thing.
Advantage: US? UK? No one? Or just anyone who isn’t me.
I suppose I could always get one of these to unleash on impolite or far-too-old callers …
But when even stuff for people who want to discourage trick-or-treaters is, basically, nasty… I’ll pass. —