A Halloween Rant

Halloween in Elk Grove was a total bust last night, as far as I was concerned.  In years past, the little ones started arriving around 5, so I was ready at 4.  Yes, I was surprised too, but in years past, I’ve been so rushed at the end that I never had time to apply my false eyelashes or my false fingernails.  I was determined to do so this year, and if you check the photo above, you can appreciate both.


I went as a witch–in case you needed to be told.  I went as a witch last year too.  It isn’t a costume so much as a hat with fake hair.  I then fill in the blank of being a thoughtful witch (this year) or a grim witch (last year).  My next door neighbor went as a firefighter, a sexy one.  When I saw her, I realized how far past the point of sexy Halloween costumes I have fallen.

The first trick or treater didn’t ring my bell until well after 6, and then it was the little boy next door (with the sexy firefighter mom).  Then nothing.  I walked around in my full regalia, feeling like my prom date had stood me up.  I went outside several times to peer up and down the street to see if anyone–anyone!–was coming.

A couple of kids hit our door somewhere around 7:30.  By then, I had lost so many false fingernails, I took them all off.  I also removed–yes, in a fit of pique–my witches hat and hair.

For the next hour, I answer the door dressed as me, but with outlandish makeup (turquoise eyeshadow–and those lashes).  I didn’t count the kids, but I can tell you they barely made a dent in the candy bowl.  At 8:30 I turned out all the lights and sulked in front of the TV for the rest of the evening.

I blame the media for this.  The news is so full of tragedy, drama and trauma that the simple pleasures of trick or treating become seen as gateways to child pornography and murder.

KCRA, the Sacramento NBC affiliate, helpfully featured two stories on the local newscast: one was about a church that was having a party for the children of their congregation so that the sweet young things would not be exposed to the hazards of The Street.  This party came complete with flyover of a local helicopter dropping candy for the kids to scurry after and pick up.  Sort of like the starving children of Africa scurry to pick up the food parcels the Free World is sending them.

The other news story was one advising parents how they could ensure that their kids didn’t trick or treat at the home of a sex offender.  Definitely a wise use of the database from Megan’s Law; what parent would have thought of that on their own?

My Patch column last week was about Halloween’s past and present.  Yes, I understand that the world is a different place from when I was a kid and we roamed the neighborhood on our own eating homemade popcorn balls.  First there was the idiot that put razor blades into the apples he handed out (bad enough that he thought apples were a treat).  Then there was the idiot who put poison in the homemade treats.

How many of either of those idiots were there?  More than one?  Ten? Fifty? Any number that would make the odds impressive?  Enough to justify the dire warnings that now are the adult chorus burbling just below the children’s melodic, “Trick or Treat”?  I think not.

The end result, as the Sexy Firefighter (who is barely in her 20s) lamented, is that Halloween as we knew it is now gone forever.  So sad….

  • http://remarkablewrinklies.com/2009/halloween-glimpses-into-a-kids-mind/ Patti Winker

    Ditto. Although my daughter’s neighborhood offered some fine fun for my granddaughter, it isn’t the same as the ol’ days. I wax nostalgic, again, about going out AFTER DARK on Halloween or “Gate Night” back then, around our neighborhood, without parental supervision. NOT the Saturday before, between the hours of 2:00 and blah blah blah…

    I, too, get so tired of the saturation of scare stories just before Halloween. Can we just have a little sense thrown in? When we were kids we didn’t go trick-or-treating at the ‘scary houses.’ And we knew which ones they were without someone on TV telling us what to look for.

    Okay, naysayers… I know. These times are a changin’ But COME ON! It’s Halloween! Can we just have some real fun?! Okay, walk your kids around the neighborhood. Only go to houses you know. Dress in light clothing. Don’t wear masks. We were told not to take candy from strangers since we were old enough to know the word ‘candy.’ So why all the hysteria at Halloween?

    And don’t even get me started on the church groups that want to ban Halloween altogether. And yes, some are even pushing for a Jesus-ween instead. Yes, you read that right. Now THAT’S creepy, scary stuff.

    That’s enough. I’m through. Thanks for allowing me a chance to rant.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_T2VLJMCW2W33DJKX2ELZSSIJPY Gadfly Granny

    It was nice to meet you last night Jane, I’m enjoying your ‘rants’ and totally agree about Halloween not being nearly a fun… we didn’t get one trick-or-treaters this year… so my husband and I had to eat all the candy ourselves… Oh well, hopefully we’ll get at least 1 next year.

    • Jane

      Gadfly Granny,
      I’m trying to stay out of the leftover candy!

  • Jeanne Estridge

    Great post! We never get trick or treaters–busy street with no sidewalks. But several people at work reported big crowds. Maybe the kids in your neighborhood have just outgrown trick or treating?

    • Jane

      I’m wondering if it isn’t a religious thing. There are six young kids across that street that stayed in all night, and I know they’re a very religious family.

  • taryterre

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I agree completely. HALLOWEEN is my favorite holiday and it’s sad to see what’s become of it.

    • Jane

      When we used to walk ten miles to school after milking the cow, it was much better!!!

  • Shani Ferguson

    There was plenty of Halloweening around here!

    • Jane

      I’m envious. What did yours go as? And how do you deal with the candy?

  • Jenny

    We had a crowd here in Falls Church, but I agree with you that so many of these simple childhood rituals have either died on the vine or been blown all out of proportion (hence, the trick or treat flyover at the church in your area.)

    By the way the “witch” of the tribe was traditionally the “wise woman” or crone. She was the great spiritual leader of the community. I think you pull that off nicely.

    • Jane

      I have several books detailing the storied history of the crone.

  • Pjpusser3

    Thought it was terrific. I remember Halloween and my costumes and I think it’s fantastic that Jane Gassner took the trouble to wear an outfit and makeup and fake finger nails. I like her determination. It’s the rest of us that have fallen off.

    • Jane

      I have to be honest–I only put the fingernails on one hand. I don’t know how people actually live with those talons (some of my relatives too). The older I get, the shorter my nails.

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