Monday, October 26, 2009

Growing Up: Trick or Treaty

You know, I have to admit something. I hate Halloween.

I know, I know. Deputy Downer. And no, I don't have those "Halloween is so evil" religious arguments, especially in light of the pagan rituals that have made their way so cleverly into Christmas mainstream. And, really, I don't care if people believe in ghosts and goblins, ghouls and poltergeists. All power to you freaks, uh, folks. (No, seriously, I don't care.)

I just find it weird that people like dressing up in weird costumes. All I can think of is the movie Eyes Wide Shut and that creepy piano music. If ever there was a piece of music that so completely illustrated my attitude toward costume parties, that crazy one-finger melody of stone-cold suspense is it. Strangely, everyone at those costume parties was either a poser or a sex fiend. I'm not sure if Kubrick was trying to say something or not.

My hatred for Halloween stems from the weirdness I had as a child walking up to strangers' houses and asking for candy, when my parents kept telling me not to take candy from strangers. I was confused by this contradiction, especially since they made no attempt to show their faces behind a mask that Medusa would be jealous of.

I never trusted a neighbor who would put an apple in my candy bowl. The apple was commonly thrown in the neighbor's garden, where it would rot and poison his own property rather than mine. Clearly, some neighbors knew I had no love for licorice. And what about this taffy business? The goal actually is to be able to chew and digest the candy, right?

Why did all of the girls dress as ballerinas and the boys dress as devils? Most of the girls I knew were more devilish than the dudes. I still shiver at the death stares the girls in my class had whenever I walked into the room. Typically on days when I forgot to look in the mirror while combing my hair, but I'm positive that was purely coincidence.

I think I wore a devil outfit in first grade. This was shortly after my "pirate stint", where I had a patch over one of my eyes thanks to my fourth eye surgery. People who would later be capable of beating me up on the order of milliseconds were afraid of me in early elementary school because my eyes were genetic mishaps. By fourth grade, I would dress up as a ghost, which metaphorically represented my status once everyone realized I was not capable of pillaging boats.

I always wondered why no neighbor would trick me. Why did they always treat me?

By sixth grade, I had had enough. No more costumes, no more asking for candy from people I knew didn't wash their hands. So, a new phase of Halloween began. Babysitting.

If there is anything worse than trick-or-treating, it is supervising kids trick-or-treating. My first year of babysitting, temperatures were in the twenties, and the wind was howling. The babysitter never got candy, not even the taffy that no one liked. All I heard was, "Come on, Chad! We're going to the next house!" Sadly, I had no car to keep me warm. Age fifteen was still quite a ways off, and I could only dream of running into garages at that point. (That will be a separate "Growing Up" story.)

Five hours of hearing, "Oh, hey, Chad!" from the neighbors who knew what hell I was enduring all too well.

By eighth grade, I finally was selfish enough to say "no" to babysitting Halloween. So I used the best excuse in the book: studying. Who knew that being lame could be so cool?

However, the price I would pay for this educational indulgence would be high. Enter phase three of Halloween childhood: answering the door.

The horror. The horror.