I’ve had the benefit of enjoying this adopted holiday since I was seven year old. It didn’t take long for me to don a costume, grab a bucket and recite “trick-or-treat” to a bunch of strangers for candy back then. The payoff was great, lots of free candy. And for every year that I have scrounged around for a costume, dusted off Halloween decorations and dealt with the innards of my pumpkin I can’t believe that Halloween lives on. We’ve become a society that fears strangers, a world where you won’t want to walk the streets at night, a place where we lock ourselves away from society and keep to our own familes. And then comes Halloween. The one night a year (or two if you live in the West Michigan burbs) that you throw all caution to the wind and embrace those old traditions.
Let’s set aside the history and the traditions and focus on a few simple thoughts.
Things we do on Halloween that would be frowned upon during any other time. When logic is set aside, so let’s review, shall we?
1. We decorate our houses. We decorate our houses with ghosts, goblins, witches, mummies, vampires, werewolves. The one time a year when it’s okay to proudly display rotting corpses on your front lawn and to stretch large quantities of flammable fake spider webs across our home. But they look so real.
2. We create jack-o-lanterns. Again, let’s set aside the history of the jack-o-lantern and focus on the fact that we buy pumpkins, scrape out the mush, goop, and miscellaneous innards. We hunt through the muck to fish out seeds that we then season and bake. We put candles inside our newly hallowed out gourds and light them on fire then leave them out there. Gulp. Alone.
3. We dress up. We wear torn clothing, fake blood, fake chins, fake ears, fake noses, fake boobs and take on a persona of our own. Worse yet, we encourage our kids to do the same (minus the fake boobs, they really are too young for that.)
4. Trick-or-treating. Whether we collect the candy or we hand it out, it seems to be the only day a year that it is ok to go to a stranger’s house and get candy. At night, by ourselves.
5. We eat the candy. A lot of it. Yep, after we get candy from strangers we come home account for our winnings and eat large quantities. Amounts that we couldn’t get away with any other time of year. We do so without a second though. “Ohhh, is that a Twix. You gonna eat that?”
Let’s recap the Ramseyer Halloween experience.
Halloween 2010 was no exception in our house, we decorated the place in all kinds of creepy crawlies, fake spider webs, orange lights, we carved the obligatory pumpkins, scooped out guts, carved some scary faces and then put lit candles inside and left them unattended on the front porch. Next we dressed up as Mad Men characters, filled a large bowl with play-doh and candy bars and left our door unlocked and we stood in the doorway freezing our butts off waiting for kids we don’t know to come running up. (It was awesome) We had a two-year old trip over our front door and fall into our house. I ended up picking him up and setting him back outside. Fun, “where are your parents?” We had kids cheer for play-doh, cheer for Reese’s peanut butter cups, cheer for being jacked up on sugar. More groups of kids stopped by, on and on it went. My candy stash was diminishing. In fact supplies were gone by 7:37PM. Halloween 2010 was a success.
Next year we’ll cover our house in flammable spider webs, carved pumpkins and witches and repeat this tradition all over again.