It’s here again; my favorite time of the year. I am of course talking about Halloween. This wonderful time of year when you walk around the neighborhood, leaves crunching under your feet, and stop at a particular that has been painstakingly decorated in honor of our favorite Druid holiday. Most people don’t know that that’s what they’re celebrating, but Halloween has it’s origins in the Celtic New Year as far back as two thousand years; that’s like thirty-five hundred years metric.
Back then, they used to celebrate with bonfires and animal sacrifices, but today Halloween is a $6.9 Billion Dollar industry. And if you’re anything like me, when you heard that figure you thought: “$6.9 Billion? That’s Chump Change. Heck, $6.9 Billion won’t even buy a Golden Parachute.” And then you pulled the covers back over your head.
But this year my wife and I decided to do our part and contribute, so she sent me out to buy some Halloween decorations. Now, even though we’ve only been married about two and a half years, normally my wife and I communicate very well. One notable exception is the phrase: “Please clean the bathroom.” With this phrase, it’s like one of us is speaking another language, like Druid.
For me, cleaning the bathroom is just an ongoing process of attempting to improve my aim. For her, it involves no end of scrubbing. Get this, she actually scrubs THE SHOWER. All that we ever do in the shower is get clean. Hot water, soap, shampoo. Doesn’t that automatically make it the cleanest place in the house? Did she actually expect me to know that I was supposed to go in and clean the one place where all this cleaning already occurs? Your honor, Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case!
Well, apparently the second phrase with which we don’t communicate very well is: “Why don’t you go get some Halloween Decorations?” Of course I didn’t know this when I went to get Halloween decorations, and she went to off to a baby shower. Sure, I suppose I’ll have to scrub that shower, too.
I’m sure when my wife said: “Decorations,” she expected to see hay bales and cornstalks, a wreath of colorful leaves and a miniature pony perpetually pulling a tiny wagon around the yard full of gourds and rosy-cheeked children. Imagine her surprise, then, when she returned home and I proudly showed her what I had bought: A plastic pumpkin and a rubber bat.
By the way, when I showed her, the wind had blown the plastic pumpkin into the yard and up against the fence like it was trying to escape. But the bat came with this little metal ring so I could hang it up right where that wooden wind chime thingy had been. My wife’s shoulders slumped and she went back inside while I went to collect the run-away pumpkin. I’ll know better next time.
But what I lack in decorating, I think I make up for in my costume. I’m one of those guys who puts on a costume and takes a very active role in the Trick or Treating transaction. Without giving it away, it’s not a particularly scary costume, but it’s definitely not something that a child would expect to see as he bolts around the corner, and I’m about seven feet tall. So while I’m not terrifying, I certainly do freak out a kid or two. And I’m not ashamed to admit, I kind of dig it. I think we all do. That’s why we decorate our yards with headstones and skeletons and motion-activated monsters. It’s why we put huge ghouls on pulleys, hang them from trees and drop them when the moment is right. We love to hear the screams of frightened children; their fear sustains us. Of course we buy the right to do this with candy. And in the process, we teach them a valuable lesson: Once you get past the terror, life can be pretty sweet.
Stop by tomorrow for some advice for prospective Trick or Treaters and the makers of the candy that they love so much.