So I am sure you’ve noticed that I have changed the look of this place. It’s my little black and green and orange tribute to all things October. I wish I was better versed in HTML. Good for all of you I’m not though, because you’d probably come clicking to my page, calmly checking out if I have recently posted anything about dog pee or car fires and BAM! You would have to avert your eyes due to all of the SCREAMING HALLOWEENness that would jump out at your face through your computer screen. I love Halloween.
It used to be my favorite holiday for obvious reasons: the candy, the parties at school, the dressing up and painting my face green. I was a witch for 4 years straight, varying my attire a little each year—witch in black ballet slippers with pointy hat, witch in army boots with pointy hat, witch in short skirt and army boots with NO hat, witch in black tights and back dress with mary janes and pointy hat—always with the green face. I think I was trying to channel the Wicked Witch of the West, but the absence of flying monkeys always fucked it up.
And then they axed Halloween at school. I was talking to SK’s mom, a pre-K teacher, the other day at her house while SK and his dad built a bed in the back room and she was telling me that she can’t do anything “scary” for Halloween with her kids. No mention of Jack-o-Lanterns or witches or ghosts. Something to do with the school district saying that people are offended by the “worshipping of the occultness” of it all.
I laughed because it was cut out at MY California elementary/junior high/high school for very different reasons: the school district thought that people would be offended by the “gang riot shootings” of it all. Halloween, with its enticing offer of being able to dress up as whatever you wanted for a whole day caused big problems in schools that strictly regulated our wardrobes to non-gang colors. Blue, red, purple, black and silver in mass quantities and in specific combinations were all gang related and not allowed at school. You can imagine what this did for the sporting goods stores around our neighborhood, considering all of the California teams were combinations of those colors—LA Lakers, LA Raiders, Dodgers, Angels. All the schools eventually went to uniforms, but not before exchanging Halloween for Story Book Character Day!!
I swear to God. Story Book freaking Character Day. And the only reason this was different from Halloween dress up day was because the teachers had to approve your costume first. AND you had to do a book report on the book your character came from. My brother was Pecos Bill for like, 3 years because he didn’t want to do a different book report, it was that big of a joke. And, let’s be honest, Kevin didn’t grow a damn inch between the ages of 6 and 10. I was Kirsten from the American Girl series the only year I can remember participating. Shut up.
My favorite Halloweens have been the years I was in college, when no one had money for elaborate costumes and just dug through closets to find anything to put together for the evening. I’ve seen a SpongeBob costume made out of an egg-crate mattress from someone’s bed, a walking stick (some dude that painted himself brown with a girlfriend’s bronzer), a black-eyed pea (a friend who blacked out an eye and wore a shirt with an iron-on “P” on the front), and—my personal favorite—a walking mammogram machine, which was a box on a guy’s head, lined in aluminum foil with a sign that read “Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month—Free Mammograms Here!” I feel like those costumes, created in times of major poverty when getting an extra scoop of mashed potatoes in the dining hall felt like winning the lottery, were the most creative and funny. Now that we can afford to go buy costumes packaged up at Halloween Express, it feels a little like cheating.
Not that I don’t still love Halloween. I do. But now that parties are restricted to the weekend before the holiday because of work, it’s lost some of the magic. I still enjoy dressing up and checking out what everyone else is wearing, but I find myself looking forward to Thanksgiving more and more every year. At least that is an ACTUAL holiday that I get 2 days off for.