Sunday, November 04, 2007


Halloween is no longer for kids.

300,000 adults paraded in a Halloween parade and party in W. Hollywood, CA this year. And don't tell me they were gays who just love to dress up.

I was told of a story about 50 adults who were trick or treating in one neighborhood in California, and were offended when they knocked at doors and were refused candy because "the candy is for kids". They pouted as they walked away.

There all no more adults.

Everyone is a kid. Oh, there are some kids who want to play at being grown up (check what kids are wearing lately); but, more insidiously, the grown-ups all want to stay kids (check what THEY'RE wearing--or not wearing--lately.) Face lifts. Liposuction. Belly-buttons sticking out. Be 'buddies' with your kids; not parents. Never even mention the 'p'-word!

It makes me wonder: Is today's yearning for perpetual 'kid-dom' some sort of overwhelming delayed adolescence? The product of a few generations that didn't get enough kid time when they were young? Too busy from the age of four to sixteen playing in organized soccer leagues and doing homework to ever satisfy their intrinsic--and healthy AT THAT AGE--need to be kids?

Maybe none of us believe we are going to heaven anymore so we've got to extend the pleasures of life. We want to stay young forever because age equals eventual nothingness/death.

Or maybe everyone today hates their work. There is no fulfillment in it. So: Play, play, play...whenever you can. Never work.

The manager of my favorite pub, when I attended on Halloween for a glass of wine with a friend, commented on the scores of adults in full costumed regalia: "Everyone likes to dress up and pretend they're someone else." My first thought: "What? Nobody likes to be themselves anymore?" My second thought was: "Okay. But...Pooh Bear? A witch? Spider man?"

Halloween is a $5 billion industry. Now there's a trick and treat...for the corporations!

When I was a kid in my (perhaps perverse) neighborhood, on Halloween, we didn't trick or treat; we just tricked--we hung people's front gates hung on telephone poles, filled our mother's nylons with talcum powder and smashed them against people's clothes, suck straight pins in doorbells, especially in the bells of fifth floor tenants who'd then have to walk all the way down five flights of stairs to remove them...and...we'd stand across the street at a safe distance and watch and laugh at their florid faces filled with chagrin before we ran away.

We saved treating for Thanksgiving...before and after the football game: on that brisk Fall day we'd (some of us in costume) take our mother's brown shopping bags and knock on doors (some of them the very same people we took off their gates on Halloween!) and, with cherubic faces, asked: "Anything for Thanksgiving?". And 99% of the time we were rewarded with candy, cookies, apples and walnuts...Halloween tricks were over; Thanksgiving-Halloween treats were on.

I miss those good old days (is it the perpetual kid in me?). When kids were kids, adults were adults, and tricking and treating, Halloween and Thanksgiving were separate days and distinct occasions in people's lives.


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