Sunday, October 28, 2018

Where we bring back the True Meaning of Hallowe'en!

before cameras were invented.
Here's how old I am: When I dressed up as a hippie for a Hallowe'en, I didn't even know what a hippie was.

I was probably five, maybe six.

The costume idea came from my older-by-15-years-or-so brother Tom.

Believe it or not, the word "hippie" was not yet a household word.

But Tom always seemed to know about stuff before the rest of us. My older-by-29-months brother Ed and I have discussed this mystery many times. We've no idea how Tom managed to stay ahead of the curve.

We grew up in the dark ages in a mining community called Sudbury, Ontario, with two TV stations, and two maybe three radio stations, one of which was French. We had no FM radio. Yet somehow, Tom was the hippest guy in our universe. He brought home Argosy magazine and Bob Dylan and Smother Brothers albums. He told us about hippies.

My best guess is that he received--and still gets to this day--messages from outer space. But I digress.

Like every other costume of the time, the hippie one was decided at the next-to-last minute. Tom fashioned a wig from one of  my mom's mops (a.k.a., he sawed the handle off) and made a protest flag with "MAKE LOVE NOT WAR"--whatever that meant--on it. The only thing missing was the requisite pillowcase for the loot, and I was good to go.

Back then, almost everyone's costume was made on the fly.

resolved--"Two Eds are better'n one."
Hallowe'en was completely different. We  may have had jack-o-lanterns, but they were all the same.  Nobody decorated their houses. And no kid with any dignity would have gone trick-or-treating with--gasp--parents.

And you know what?

Hallowe'en, when it was a simple and unplanned affair,  was way better.

I mean worse.

That's right. Hallowe'en--more than half a freaking century after I donned that hippie mop--has morphed into one of the only annual obligatory holidays that I look forward to.

And here are half a dozen reasons why.

1) Adults get to play along! My mom and dad thoroughly enjoyed candy and beer and parties and would have leapt at the chance to be involved in Hallowe'en all those years ago. But they were too busy. My mom had 10 children.No microwave. A wringer washer. You don't think she'd have given away her jewelry and her youngest child to join in a mid-week party like lucky young parents nowadays do?

BE IT RESOLVED: "One side effect of
Hallowe'en decor is it likely keeps the
J.W.'s at bay."
2) People go to great trouble and expense trying to make houses look haunted. We're no slouches in that department neither though a few years back, Eddie said we could save ourselves a lot of trouble; if we really really wanted to scare the kids, he and I could just shell candy out from the open side door of our minivan. Did I ever tell you Ed's a brilliantly funny man? I thought not.

3) Speaking of, most Hallowe'ens, Ed comes over and we along with my wife Helena and whoever else is visiting, have a front porch party. The street turns into Mardi-Gras lite.We average more than 150 trick-or-treaters plus they drag all their parents along and everybody's in great moods. Best of all, it ends nice and early.

4) Nobody ever talks about "the true meaning" of Hallowe'en. That's because the true meaning of Hallowe'en is having fun and eating candy.  End of story.

5) Well, almost the end. Another thing about Hallowe'en is you don't have to cook and clean for it. And it's not like Valentine's, a day designed to make half the population feel miserably lonely and another quarter of the population feel guilty and a very very tiny part of the population feel stupid for forgetting to buy his Polish wife a gift until the last minute so the only thing he comes up with is the equivalent of an airport souvenir.

6) Or St. Patrick's. Talk about offensive. As somebody whose roots are in Ireland, I take considerable umbrage at this annual ritual. Around the world, millions of non-Irish people think it's perfectly appropriate to pretend to have roots in Ireland, so what do they do? They put on goofy hats, drink beer and make fools of themselves. Is that what they think Irish people do? Well, now that you mention it, that's exactly what Eddie and I will be up to come Hallowe'en.

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