micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links
Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.
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Thursday, October 31, 2002
I hope everyone is having, will have or had a great Halloween. It is to me the greatest mass American holiday.
All of the others have their downsides. I love stuffing and squash and Thanksgiving has lead to great episodes of Mad About You and The Simpsons but the day always seems stressful. Christmas is great and has lead to two great episodes of The Simpsons except that I have a hard time not telling people what I’ve bought them and the sacred/secular nature is often awkward. I don’t need an excuse to watch football so New Year’s doesn’t mean that much to me. Valentines Day can be o.k. and lead to the sad tale of Ralph Wiggum’s love for Lisa Simpson but I have never been in anything approaching a serious romantic relationship and so it often brings me down. (Last year I did get a heart-shaped tin from my mom that featured Curious George asking me if I would be his Valentine. I of course said yes.) Easter eggs are o.k. but that is primarily a religious holiday and should stay that way. Nobody remembers what Memorial Day and Labor Day are about, although they do remember that they don’t remember and fireworks might be cool but I have a hard time feeling patriotic given what the U.S. military has done, continues to do and probably soon will do.
Halloween in my not exactly humble opinion has many positive and none of the negatives. It leads to a great episode of The Simpsons each year and it is always great to dress up, see others who are dressed up and play make believe. There are the pumpkins to carve and the decorations to hang. Then there is the candy. I’m not recommending eating it all of the time but once and while it is fun to overdo it. Nobody should forget the musical classic “Monster Mash” and dopey “scary” stories but perhaps what I love most about Halloween is seeing young children being escorted by one of their parents. (If I see two parents, or at least two parental looking figures, I have to wonder who is holding down the home fort and that makes me sad.) I don’t know why but that sight always warms my heart. That and how few relatives I usually see.
I guess what I am trying to say is that what I value about Halloween is not the “horror” and “scary” aspect. Sorry but in a world with Osama bin Laden, George W. Bush and weapons of mass destruction, a ten year old boy with wax fangs and make-up designed to look like blood doesn’t scare me. Actually few things scare me as much as the people who know that Saddam Hussein is about to attack the United States because he is a “bad guy” and because their president has said he might attack the U.S. but who at the same time are confident that Bush needn’t worry about taking too much time in launching a military strike.
No Halloween isn’t about fear of chills, it is about fun, most notably the fun of trick or treating. Here are some tips or rather instructions:
-If you have a dwelling that is accessible by ghosts and goblins and have the appropriate level of respect for the 700 Club, it is your civic duty to hand out stuff –more on that in second- to trick or treaters on Halloween night. If you are going through economic hardships, save up. Having items for trick or treaters is far more important than voting or any of the other activities that people who write newspapers, talk on the radio and appear on the television constantly implore us to do.
-Candy is the preferred currency of Halloween but commercially packaged dried fruit, soda pop, bags of chips, cookies, fruit snacks or pretzels, finger monsters and pencils with some neat design on them are acceptable. Unacceptable are apples and other food products without a commercial package, plastic bags with a currency of a value than that of 50 U.S. pennies, yellow pencils and religious tracts.
-If you are handing out candy you should at the very least have a jack-o-lantern or two, spooky music or lights or at least something to be in the spirit. But if you have any sense of self-respect you will at least have a novelty Halloween piece of apparel on.
-So long as you are not married, are not a parent and have insured that trick or treaters at your dwelling will not leave empty-handed, you have a right to go to trick or treating so long as you have something approaching a costume. If you are really lame, wear a duffle bag on your head. I’m not sure what exactly that constitutes dressing up as but it does count.
-If you are trick or treating and don’t say “trick or treat” when you approach someone while looking for loot, you deserve none. Always say “trick or treat.” “Thank You!”’s and “Happy Halloween!”’s are appreciated and should be said once you have received the treat but in all honesty they are far less important than saying “trick or treat.”
-If you are a trick or treater, don’t complain about you received to anybody. Any trick or treater worth her or his candy should hit so many houses that you will undoubtedly run into some lame items.
-Do go trick or treating in residential streets beginning no more than an hour before sundown and going to as late you can.
-If you are old enough to trick or treat without parental supervision, do plan out your group or solo route beforehand and plan to hit many neighborhoods. Also, if you run into people who are talkative about what they have gotten so far in the evening, you should exchange information. Also if you have to report to parents, make sure you can schedule at least an hour or two to binge on candy away from them.
-And I suppose I should say that you check to make sure there is nothing dangerous in any your items or something. I don’t mean to make light of this problem and in fact do see it as serious to the extent that it exists. Anybody who uses the traditions of Halloween to harm trick or treaters is only quantitatively better than those who have used sanctions and military action to kill who knows how many innocent Iraqis.
Doing the above things isn’t a nice touch; they are things that keep Halloween, and really society, functioning.