It’s Official: Halloween Now Sucks

Halloween sucks.

There, I said it. It used to be cool; now it’s jumped the shark.

Trick or treating is great. What kid doesn’t love dressing up, going door to door and getting candy! What adult doesn’t love seeing the kids in their costumes. You have to be Halloween’s version of the Grinch not to love trick or treat.

But the rest of it is rot.

Let’s start with the modern alternative to trick or treat: Trunk or treat. Instead of social time of neighborhood candy-soliciting, the kids can head to a PARKING LOT across town to grab handfuls of sugar from car trunks. Who thought this was an upgrade? No talking to the neighbors.  No walking and talking with friends and siblings as you enjoy the jack-o-lanterns and decorations. No comparing notes about which houses give  out the good stuff. Nope. None of that. Mom and Dad throw you in the minivan, you spend 8 minutes in a PARKING LOT, then return home with more candy than your little body can handle in a month. Again, WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS AN UPGRADE??

Besides, is it just me or doesn’t trunk or treat sound strangely menacing?

Next is the lawn decorations. Now, I’m not really a big fan of lawn decorations as a whole. I could live happily never seeing another half-inflated Santa flapping in the wind. But the Halloween decoration are getting out of hand and are often tasteless. This is a picture of a yard in my neighborhood.

You know, I had someone I loved dearly DIE THIS LAST YEAR. And LOTS of people driving past displays like this could say the same. Do you really think we want to see death made light of every time we drive down your street?

Death sucks. It’s real, yes, But it sucks. Seeing yard after yard filled with tombstones, the grim reaper, skeletons and other paraphernalia of death is, at worst, glorifying what should not be glorified. At best, it is making a joke out of what is not a joking matter.

Lastly…the costumes. Now, costumes themselves, especially on kids, is awesome fun. But whatever happened to homemade costumes? They, at least, took thought and creativity. Now four out of five kids are wearing some copy-righted, consumeristic pop-culture figure. Doesn’t Disney make enough money? Do we really need four Ironmen and six Wonderwomen soliciting candy on the same street? Do parents not know how to make a good pirate or ghost anymore?

Speaking of adults and costumes…when did Halloween turn into Whoreoween? The pervavacation [I just made that up] of America is complete. Think of the most unsexy thing imaginable…and someone will be selling a sexy version of that.

Sexy Corn? Of course: image

Sexy Skunk? Why not? image

Sexy Mr. Rogers? Who wouldn’t want to be a neighbor: Image result for sexy mr rogers

Sexy Donald Trump [my PC refused three times to type that]? Here ya go: image

Can we just stop???

Can we go back to a time where Halloween was a day, not a season? Can we return to a time when it was about making kids happy, not making corporations money? Is it possible…Is it even conceivable to remember that “een” part of Halloween means the night before something: the night before a holy day?

Well, maybe I’m just getting old and cranky. I suppose pretty soon I’ll start yelling at clouds and warning kids off my lawn.

But for now I’ll just watch and enjoy the kids in costume as I hand out candy, and try to ignore the the parts I don’t like.

But if anyone shows up as sexy Donald Trump I’m turning the sprinkler on ’em.

49 thoughts on “It’s Official: Halloween Now Sucks

  1. Had to work late this Halloween, so here’s what I observed while driving home. Swung by the older sections of Anaheim (between the 5 freeway and downtown, built up during the 1950s at the latest) to see what was going on:

    Lotsa traditional Trick-or-Treat activity (about half homemade costumes) on sidestreets in the OLDER residential areas, tapering off in the newer sections of town. (Lotsa pillowcases still in use for the candy haul.) Next to none in the recently-built urban apartments and condos or along the major streets except for Broadway (in “The Colony”, the real old part near downtown, built up around 100 years ago).

    MAJOR Trunk-or-Treat going on in parking lot of First Christian Church; no visible activity at Grace Lutheran next door (or the ex-Baptist one on Broadway that’s always changing its More-Trendy-Than-Thou quasi-Mega name).


  2. (tap tap)
    “There’s No Place like Home…”
    (tap tap)
    “There’s No Place like Home…”
    (tap tap)
    “There’s No Place like Home…”
    (tap tap)


  3. I remember seeing an article on that in a Fifties-vintage National Geographic. (I read a lot of them as a kid.) I think there they spelled it “Up Helly A-A”.


  4. Down the road there are a couple of mermaid skeletons (proof they exist!). One of them on a pile of lobster traps, the other climbing a tree. And I saw a bunch of dog skeletons on sale at Home Depot last week.


  5. HUG, thankfully that church is defunct. So is the K-12 Christian school that the pastor ran. I think his predatory lending homeownership scheme is still intact, but the state attorney general is on his case. Like a few years earlier when his predatory car loan / repossession scheme got investigated by the AG.

    But he’s still trying to bring as many people into the kingdom as he can.


  6. cool !

    bucket list for me: buy and wear ruby slippers (they only make them for little girls in my price range) 🙂


  7. Between 50 and 60 years ago (yeah, I’m that old) another Halloween tradition was the showing of “The Wizard of Oz” on TV a couple of nights before the holiday.You could always tell because all the boys would be marching down the hallways the next day singing the Wicked Witch’s soldiers song – Moh wo, mo WEE oh, moh wo, mo WEE oh… And yes, I own the DVD of the movie and will be watching it tonight!


  8. I once wrote a terrible comment about a REAL (not real, but close) witch who was so mean-spirited it hurt to read what she wrote (it literally gave one a headache and heart-burn);
    and although I didn’t mention any names, it got back to her through ANOTHER ‘witch’, and I got in trouble, which I deserved.

    So, come Halloween, I try to control my commenting, but there’s something ‘in the air’ the closer I get to Halloween night that adds a little spark of life for me . . . memories of younger fun days long ago where people weren’t afraid of their own shadows and neighborhoods were safe, and people were kind to children. (sigh) 🙂


  9. I’m pleased to say that “sexy” whatever costumes are pretty much confined to adult Halloween parties around here. We do get teenagers trick-or-treating, but it’s generally too chilly to be comfortable in skimpy outfits.


  10. That was very much what Halloween was like when I was a child, in the brand-new suburb of Washington, DC, called Arlington. There wasn’t much to buy in the way of pre-made costumes, so our parents helped with “dress-up” clothes or slightly more elaborate costumes, and a pillow case worked fine for a candy bag. There were parents on the streets, watching out for us, but nobody felt that it was necessary to accompany anybody older than six or so–we traveled in groups. Candy and freedom from parental control. What kid could ask for more? Good times!


  11. To be fair:
    – Harvest festival way, way, way predates Halloween; way, way, way predates Christianity, for that matter… (Which Halloween does not.) It is also over a month before it.
    – Reformation Sunday is also a Lutheran thing celebrating what is (probably) the anniversary of an actual historical event.
    So neither of them can really be said to be somehow “reclaiming” Halloween.


  12. In my rural small town in Tennessee, we have very few sidewalks and many houses are farther apart so Trunk or treat is considered safer than kids walking rural roads at night…not to mention a child was hit and killed a few years ago while trick or treating in a nearby town when she ran out in front of a car and the driver couldn’t stop in I definitely support trunk or treat in my area but that’s just me….


  13. I dress up pretty much every year as a witch–pointy hat, black skirt, black sweater, long black cape, and bat earrings, with a couple of big rubber rats on the ground beside my chair, a small cauldron for the candy, and a lit jack-o-lantern on the side that doesn’t have the rats. It only scares the wee ones.

    The neighborhood is all townhouses, and we get a lot of kids, so most people sit outside for a couple of hours to hand out their goodies. It looks as though Halloween may be a bust this year, though. The weather reports are calling for thunderstorms. I hope not, since we stocked up on candy.


  14. –> “Death sucks. It’s real, yes, But it sucks. Seeing yard after yard filled with tombstones, the grim reaper, skeletons and other paraphernalia of death is, at worst, glorifying what should not be glorified. At best, it is making a joke out of what is not a joking matter.”

    I’ve found this is really dependent on the stage of life you’re in or what you’ve recently experienced. For instance, there are times in the past when I’ve found dark humor and “death” humor kinda funny, case in point the death of George’s fiancée Susan in Seinfeld (licking tainted envelopes). I then saw that same episode following the death of my father-in-law in a motorcycle accident and decided that Susan’s death was decidedly NOT funny anymore.


  15. And if he’s doing Zed from Zardoz, I’d point him at a church that’s doing Second Amendment Sunday and tell him to go to town.


  16. Depends on the context. If he’s doing an actual costume of, say, Leonidas AND he has the physique to make it work, I’d give him some candy and steroids.


  17. “If I hear the words ‘Milk Duds’, I’m gonna barf…”
    — Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) the day after Halloween

    CALVIN: Two bowls of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs and I’m incoherent and hyperactive the rest of the day!
    HOBBES: Does it work?
    CALVIN: No brothers or sisters so far!


  18. Too busy hiding in the basement on The Devil’s Holiday(TM) peeing their pants in terror of all those DEMONS and SATANISTS out there.

    And the opposite: passing out Chick Tracts (most likely the anti-Halloween one) instead of candy. The blog where I heard that said “If they give you a Chick Tract instead of candy, you have my blessing to punch them in the junk.”

    Oh, and they HAVE “reclaimed the holiday” with the usual Christianese tact. “Reformation Day”, “Harvest Festival”, “Trunk or Treat at Church”, and the abovementioned hiding in a box in the basement.

    When he was hosting “Talk from the Heart” on weekday afternoons in the Eighties, Rich Buhler could tell it was October when all the phone-ins would be about “What About Halloween — What should we do to fight and Witness for Christ on Satan’s Day?” A whole month of Full Moon Days until November 1 when the phone lines would start lighting up about “The War on Christmas”.


  19. some special breed of ‘Christians’ (booooooo ‘) have RUINED the most fun night of the whole kid year by poo-pooing all the fun stuff

    fifty years ago, Oct. 31st, it gets dark . . . . warm coats and a mask and a pillow case for the candy and out the door en mass to prowl the neighborhoods . . . .. pillowcase full? . . . . . go home, drop it off, grab another empty one and head out again

    finally home: piles of candy, siblings ‘trading’ each other for favorites, and much consumption of the sugar that will lead to the sugar highs of the next school day: the most dreaded day of the whole teacher year: the day after Halloween when the students are all sugared up

    a week later, all was fairly back to ‘normal’, but what good memories of an innocent time of fun when you could be a kid in a more civilized and peaceful world and it was OK to raise hell for one night, which we did with joy and remembered with fondness 🙂


  20. I’d shut the door on him.

    Rostlre’s Rules of Masquerade (from LASFS):
    “Nudity is already copyrighted and appearing nude will get you disqualified for copyright infringement.”

    But in the annals of SF con masquerades (costume shows), there is the legend of “The Turd”. Fat guy wore a flesh-colored speedo and nothing else, smeared himself with chunky peanut butter, and went onstage as “a Turd”. Ruined two or three other contestants’ expensive presentation costumes with peanut butter smears and added another Rostler’s Rule: “NO PEANUT BUTTER. NOTHING that can smear or rub off.”

    Over 20 years ago (when San Diego Comic Con was in the old convention center), I was sitting in the audience waiting for the SDCC masquerade to start and struck up a conversation with the guy next to me, telling him about con costume legends such as “The Turd”. Then the MC for the masquerade (a Type 1 Fannish Build) began with his story of how once he entered a masquerade at such-and-such a con in a speedo and smeared with peanut butter…

    I pointe and went “THAT’S THE GUY!!!!!”


  21. Trunk or Treat —

    Who thought this was an upgrade?

    CHRISTIANS, Who Else?

    Keeping their CHRISTIAN Children away from All Those SATANISTS on The Devil’s Holiday(TM).


  22. Me, I’m putting on my Hulk makeup and my Pocahontas miniskirt and I’m getting out there!

    My goal every year is to scare the living crap out of at least one kid. Never been arrested yet!


  23. In my neighborhood the last few years have seen a proliferation of skeletons, often in humorous poses. Skeleton wearing an old cap while fishing off the front porch. Skeleton climbing a ladder to get the cat skeleton off the roof, while dog skeleton sits patiently below.

    Lighthearted, rather than macabre, and I kind of enjoy it.


  24. If a man showed up at your door in a speedo and a two sizes too small tank top and said trick or treat, would you judge him? I would, and I would probably call the police. This whole “you can dress anyway you want to and not be judged” stuff isn’t real and shouldn’t be. Some things just aren’t right.


  25. Great article. I agree 100% — the ghoulish and horror aspects are also sick and sad. As in so many aspects of our society just another consumer event.


  26. Trunk or treat: I agree that this is kind of silly. My understanding is that it is intended as a “safe” alternative for the paranoid, but at least around here it ends up being Round One: a preliminary to the real trick or treating.

    Sexy costumes: Love ’em or hate ’em, they are hardly new. They have been around as long as I can remember.

    Making light of death: as others have pointed out, this is a feature, not a bug.


  27. I’m with you on the ghastly costumes, less so on the “making light of death” thing. Halloween was originally exactly about making light of death: Christians (and it is in origin a Christian festival) are supposed to make light of death, to tell death it can go [whatever] itself because Jesus has beaten it and we’re not afraid any more. Likewise of demons and devils and witches and whatnot. My understanding is that Halloween has common origins to Mexico’s “Day of the Dead”.
    The shame is that (perhaps due to Protestant and particularly US Protestantism’s hostility to religious dates and festivals) it has become entirely secularised. All Saints Day the following day ought to be a time to remember loved ones etc who have died in Christ, and if churches don’t like where Halloween has gone, or for that matter want to take Christ’s triumph over death for all of us seriously, maybe they could look at reclaiming the holiday?


  28. “Can we go back to a time where Halloween was a day, not a season?”

    Sure, once the consumerist economy collapses… :-/


  29. “Death sucks. It’s real, yes, But it sucks. Seeing yard after yard filled with tombstones, the grim reaper, skeletons and other paraphernalia of death is, at worst, glorifying what should not be glorified. At best, it is making a joke out of what is not a joking matter.”

    So… I take it you’re also not a fan of Dia de la Muerte?


  30. Women dress whatever way they choose; it’s none of my business to render judgment on the way they costume for Halloween, even less to judge the way they costume as turning the holiday into “Whoreoween”. It would be better to decry the increasingly large part alcohol consumption plays in adult Halloween celebrations, and the resulting increase in drunk driving incidents on the nation’s roads, on a holiday the observance of which fills our streets with children.


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