Dispatches from the Suburbs of Hell

Heaven is for the obedient. Hell is for the wrathful. What of the ones in between? We wind up in the Suburbs. Our sin is individuality. Our punishment is boredom. But at least we're in good company.

Location: New England, United States

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween: Bah, Humbug

It's a strange thing to ponder: I SHOULD be a fan of Halloween. I mean, I'm a former Goth - more than "former;" I was Goth before Goths knew what it was - and a current Fiery Hellbeast. This holiday was made for me and my ilk. And yet, as I sit here, gearing up for my traditional annual scary movie-fest, I wonder why I'm just not in the holiday spirit this year. Perhaps I'm getting old. Or perhaps the good old Feast of Samhain has finally gotten too commercialized for me.

When Halloween rolls around, I find myself thinking of Spencer's Gifts, and those seasonal shops that open in black-hole locations at shopping malls (there's something so depressing about those places, isn't there?). Those places are always full of rubber masks of generic monsters, costumes of cheap plastic and flimsy felt, and those little skulls with motion sensors in them that scream or laugh when you walk by. Just thinking about those places gives me a headache; the overpowering smell of rubber and that "scary music" CD on endless loop in the background...ugh. These stores just seem to cater toward the unimaginative. Every year they drag out the same "naughty nurse" costumes and the plastic pitchforks that fall apart the minute you pull one out of the little cardboard bin. Do people actually buy these things? Someone must, or they wouldn't keep making them. It reminds one of a Lewis Black routine; maybe they just made all these pitchforks 25 years ago and are still trying to unload them every year.

But worst of all is the underlying sense of desperation. Everything is so generic and unoriginal. I mean, I understand that you don't want to make a big investment in something you're only going to use for one night. But there have to be better ideas out there than just the generic "zombie" costume in its little shrink-wrap plastic bag. My spirit heaves a heavy sigh when I think of it: Halloween is when you let your inner demons out to play. You can't really BUY that in a store. Call me a curmudgeonly grinch if you will, but that's how I feel.

Once upon a time, All Hallows Eve was the day when spirits walked the earth. One day each year, the dead walked among the living, and the living dressed as monsters to keep them at bay - and sometimes to act like them and get away with it (not that I ENJOY it when my car gets egged every year, but at least that's more in keeping with the true spirit of the holiday). I don't think the dead would be fooled by the stuff you get at I-Party. At least, not any of the dead I've spoken to.

But to those of you who still have the Halloween Spirit, I wish you a happy Feast of Samhain. Guard your home well from the lonely dead...and don't egg my car.


Anonymous Portrait in Flesh said...

::pauses chewing on sugar skull::

An overly commercialized holiday? In Modern America? Oh, surely you jest.

Actually, I think I started seeing the doodads and knickknacks on the shelves probably just after the Back to School sales were over. It may have been a bit before that even...the old mind tends to blur.

I can't remember the last time I had a truly fun Halloween night (and I'm not counting my wedding night, either...the date was chosen not because it's a favorite holiday or anything, but because it would give him an easy date to remember). Sure I had them as a kid because of the eXtreme Sugar Rush, but that sort of thrill's been gone for quite a while.

The way I've felt around holidays lately...for a while, actually...pretty much makes me deserve that lump of coal in my stocking I get every year. Not sure what the Halloween equivalent of that would be. A chocolate-covered onion, perhaps?

::resumes chewing on sugar skull::

3:15 PM, November 01, 2006  
Blogger Marxo Grouch said...

"Goth before goths knew what it was"? My apologies, but I knew goths who knew what they were circa, say, 1986. Which would mean you would have had to have been a goth when you were ten or so to make that cut-off point.

Just saying. ;)

8:09 PM, March 17, 2007  

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