By Jeff Girod
Happy Halloween everybody—the one night a year we teach kids that it’s OK to take candy from strangers and put your underwear on the outside of your pants.
We also let cobwebs grow and call them “decoration,” hollow out pumpkins and toss away the good parts and don’t start celebrating the holiday until it’s dark outside and almost over.
But Halloween is also a great self-esteem builder, because for one glorious night we finally do away with the charade that everyone is handsome and good enough. And instead we put on costumes and pretend that we’re someone truly badass like Spider-Man or G.I. Joe or Magnum P.I.
You get to pretend you’re anyone you want—unless you’re an incredibly hot woman. Then apparently you’re legally obligated by Victoria’s Secret to dress up like a slutty cop or a slutty nurse or a slutty pirate. I wonder if, in the whole history of seafaring piracy, anyone has actually showed up for work in stilettos, hot pants and a gold lamé half-shirt. Because I think it sends the wrong message to young ladies everywhere who may actually want to grow up to be pirates. And I’d hate to imagine their first day “on the job” when everyone else on the docks is dressed all salty like normal pirates, with peg legs, striped long johns and talking parrots, and the new recruits walk in looking like first-class passengers on a Spice Girl pleasure cruise.
But for everyone else, Halloween is magical. Put on a mask, a cape, or some face paint and presto! You’re not just wearing a cheap polyester costume anymore that could completely incinerate and permanently melt to your body if you stand too close to a jack-o-lantern. Oh no! You’ve assumed an entirely different persona. “What’s that, kid? You say that ballerina tutu transforms you from a dumpy, Kool-Aid-stained midget into a fairy god princess? Sure, I’ll buy it. And here’s a bite-sized Snickers for your troubles. Now run along from my doorstep and stop trampling my azaleas.”
Children don’t understand it, but that’s why we, as adults, pass out candy every Halloween: We do it because we’re afraid of them. We are terrified of kids and, more importantly, of what they can do to our houses, apartments and condos. They know where we live. It’s like a three-foot, Toys R Us mafia and every Oct. 31 they ring our doorbells and pay us a visit for protection money:
“Hey Mrs. Miller, I couldn’t help but notice you just put in a new aluminum garage door. It would be a shame if someone were to boot a Baby Bouncies Kickball right through the middle of it. Now fork over the Hershey’s full-size candy bar. And it better not have almonds like last year!”
What’s worse is all the kids are wearing disguises so you can’t tell them apart. It’s the perfect crime. You can get away with almost anything when you’re 6 years old and adorable. Enjoy it while it lasts. When you’re 35, try walking into a Circle K dressed like SpongeBob SquarePants and taking a Nutter Butter without paying for it. You’ll get shot at, arrested or worse: Wind up with a Nutter Butter-y nickname in prison and your own cult following on YouTube.
But even on a mystical holiday such as Halloween, the one thing I cannot endorse is the dressing of pets in costumes. It’s inhumane. And if God had wanted a wiener dog to look like a fuzzy centipede or the Starship Enterprise or to tow a miniature chariot carrying a Ken doll dressed as a miniature Julius Caesar, well sir, he wouldn’t have given dogs and cats all those sharp teeth and claws. When I see those When Animals Attack videos, I think: Now there’s a pet owner who tried to glue a platinum wig on Kitty Gaga.
Enjoy the frivolity of Halloween while it lasts, with its Superman foam muscle chests and rubber hobo cigars, because Thanksgiving, then Christmas, will be here soon enough. And you know what means: Holiday pullover sweaters.
I think I’d rather have my eyes clawed out by Kitty Gaga.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.