Scattering the final sweet remains of Halloween

Her name was Lucy. And her father picked out her costume for ‘trick-or-treating’ that Halloween.

Her name was Lucy.  And her father picked out her costume for ‘trick-or-treating’ that Halloween.

Forget the fact that gruesome customs behind Halloween have been thinly baptized into some Christian churches.

Forget that pirate costumes  used to be the nastiest in the neighbourhood.

Neglect to mourn the funds spent on single-use costumes.

Overlook dates that delight dentists, and wistfully recall the days when safety escorts were not needed.

Moms still fill their cupboards with lunchbox treats that last for months, and kids continue to tussle over who’s been eating what out of whose pillowcase!

In Lucy’s day, my handyman Grandpa worked as maintenance man for a city hospital, so it was no challenge for him to set up a locally famous scene on his front porch.

The rocking chair creaked mechanically “by itself,” while ghoulish noises emanated from a record player beneath the ghastly, ghostly character.

No one would miss Grandpa’s porch if they could help it!

This went on for years, until Grandpa finally tired of it, and a fresh idea took hold.  That particular year he replaced the lanky ghost with his tall, skinny self and waited for the porch to fill with fairies, lumberjacks, princesses, cowboys and Disney critters.

When the porch was full, he slowly got up from the chair, and with his deeper-than-deep voice began a haunting narrative just behind the best costumes in Los Angeles.

Screaming in delicious terror, the kids fled the porch, scattering the sweet remains of candy corn, lollipops, Double Bubble, clove gum, wax lips, lemon drops, and Necco wafers for blocks.

A few minutes later the bravest of them returned to investigate, collecting the debris along the way.

Halloween has always been scary!  But what scares me now as I open the door, is the preponderance of death, blood, vampires, zombies and fork-tailed-nasties stalking the neighbourhood.

It’s tough enough already to teach kindness, self-control and altruism!  And sadly, tarts aren’t just pies anymore.

There are many objections to Halloween, but few that reach out toward sense.

If modelling death-culture is a good thing, why not search the Internet now for a hot new look for Halloween — a “blood facial?”  Or add a gory smartphone burn to where our pockets should be?

However, if “by beholding we become changed,” might it even be true that how we amuse ourselves impacts behaviour?

Can we really give a little boy a sword and expect him not to try posturing and fighting?

Perhaps it is the adults, not the children, who have departed reality for a netherworld where thought is absent.

I’d love to scatter the final ashes of this un-hallowed ‘holy’-day.

Can we sweeten our play by having kids pretend something good?

I still recall Lucy’s costume — a simple yellow sheet, sewn into an angel shape, with a necklace of carrots — seven in the front, and seven in the back.

And while we puzzled … her father knew Lucy was 14-carat gold.

Rita Corbett is a freelance columnist with the Tribune/Advisor.


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