I just found out that Halloween is cancelled this year.
I am floored. My kids are distraught slightly disappointed. My husband and I have dropped everything we were supposed to be doing today and are scrambling to find some way to save Halloween for our boys. We had signed them up for a party followed by trick-or-treating at specific, pre-approved homes where folks had granted permission for kids to knock on their doors. Kind of like one of those historical house tours but without the history and with more candy. It’s not going to happen.
My husband is tying his cape, putting on his helmet, and choosing his weapon. I am donning some kick-ass boots, a long black cloak, and cat mask. Don’t scoff. Whiskers aside, I am ruthless.
My kids will have Halloween.
There should be a holiday cartoon about us—The Year Halloween was Cancelled or Captain A-scare-ica and Cat Mama Save Halloween.
Thing is, we shouldn’t have to be saving this holiday in the first place. When I was little, we dressed up, left our house, and walked around the neighborhood. We knocked on doors, got candy, and went home. Simple. Costumed kids flooded the streets every October 31st. You can’t cancel a day.
Ah. But you can cancel an event. Nights of moonlight, magic, and Milky Way bars are becoming extinct. I recently wrote a column about how Halloween has turned into a pre-planned evening. There are costume contests and parades held on the 31st. Clearly these are meant to be an alternative to roaming the streets, in the dark, in your zombie costume, knocking on neighbors’ doors. Goodbye spontaneity, hello scheduling.
I don’t want to go to the town hall, local hotel, restaurant, or shopping mall. I don’t want pizza parties and goodie bags and bored employees handing my kids Skittles.
I want the kind of darkness only Halloween night can bring. I want pretty, dead leaves scraping driveways, chilly autumn air filling my lungs, shadows of bare tree limbs edging onto the road. I want to see the moon and stars.
Back in the 70s in my day, kids ran wild on October 31st. There was no plan, we just went out. If we were alone, we soon found a group of kids. If we were with a group of kids, we formed a larger group of kids. You get my point.
As parents, we should be performing last-minute costume fittings and checking to see if last year’s face paint has dried out but, instead, we are emailing, texting, and making phone calls, desperately trying to find a place for our kids to go on Halloween. It’s pathetic. And weird. You shouldn’t have to search for a place to trick-or-treat.
Although Halloween is here, there are no lawns covered with headstones. Where are the hanging bats, giant spiders, and jack-o-lanterns? (This was rhetorical but, if you must know, they’re in stores and restaurants.) Oh, won’t somebody PLEASE think of the children?!
I had (more or less) resigned myself to the fact that this is what Halloween has become. But I didn’t like it. And, as I’ve said, you can’t make a day disappear. Unless you’re a warlock or some sort of time-traveler which would be wicked cool. Anyway, what you can do, if you’re evil (or if you have the flu or the water heater in the building exploded or something), is cancel an event.
I miss the days when all I had to do was dress up as a witch and walk out my front door.