Friday, December 02, 2016

COLUMN: Halloween 2016

Well, hello, November. Once again, I've survived another Halloween, and my love-hate affair with the holiday carries on.

Don't get me wrong, I wholeheartedly approve of things that go bump in the night. I live for tales of mysterious supernatural hocum-pocum. When the air first starts to get chilly, there's nothing better than feeling just a little creeped out. You'd be hard-pressed to find a ghost and/or monster-hunting show on TV that I don't watch and buy into at least 90% of the nonsense they spew out.

I'm in no hurry to shuffle off this mortal coil, but when I do, if someone were to offer up the choice of heading to eternal paradise or sticking around in order to knock pictures off walls and whisper menacing gibberish into the EVP recorders of ghost hunters, that'd be a tough decision to make. I think I'd have to check whether Eternal Paradise had wi-fi before making up my mind.

Give me creepy movies like "The Omen" or "Poltergeist" or "The Exorcist" any old time, and Halloween's usually rife with heebie-jeebie-inducing viewing opportunities. But there's a fine line between creepy and scary, and I'm in no hurry to be scared. I'll watch a flick with ominous overtones any day, unless those ominous overtones lead to a guy in a hockey mask leaping out yelling "BOOGITY BOOGITY!"

It's the same reason I always take a hard pass when my friends want to go to haunted houses. I have no desire to deal with some caffeinated 20-something in monster make-up intent on giving me a heart attack. I'm well aware of just how much fast food I've consumed over the years, and I'm pretty sure all it would take is one well-timed "BOO!" for me to face that Eternal Paradise question a lot sooner than I'd prefer.

But this year didn't really bring anything creepy OR scary. I don't know what it was, but I never got into that delightfully eerie frame of mind this time round. Maybe it's the knowledge that anything Halloween could possibly throw at me couldn't be as terrifying as the potential outcome of this week's election. If I had to sum up this year's Halloween in one word, it'd be "meh."

My weekend, like most, was spent DJing at the club. On Halloween weekend, this is usually an exercise in patience and apprehension. Call me an old fuddy-duddy all you want, but I will never understand the fun in costuming up when you're a grown adult. My social anxiety is bad enough as is -- if you make me talk to you while you're in vampire makeup, my brain might very well implode. Plus, if you're already the sort of person with a tendency to turn into a drunken moron, nothing speeds up the process like some facepaint and a silly outfit. I was ready for anything.

I wasn't ready, though, to be bored. When I walked into the club, I was greeted by a polite crowd of respectful folks glued to the Cubs game. Only about were costumed, and most of those looked a bit slapdash if I'm being truthful. All told, it was a pretty uneventful weekend, other than, of course, the greatest mix of music mankind has ever heard (but I might be a touch biased.)

Next thing I knew, it was Halloween proper and time to buy candy for the kiddies. It never fails: every year that I buy light on candy, I am besieged with trick-or-treaters. Every year I go nuts on candy, it's a Halloween ghost town on my porch. If I were a smart, health-conscious human being, I'd fill my Halloween dish with nothing but Starburst and Nerds and other candy I find disgusting.

Instead, like an idiot, I buy chocolate. GOOD chocolate. Did you know they make Caramel Apple Milky Ways? Neither did I. And now I'm trying my hardest to forget they exist by eating my way through them, because sure enough, I barely had any trick-or-treaters this year. The first hour was a complete bust until the doorbell finally rang, revealing the cutest of cute kids.

"Twick tweet?" they adorably asked, melting hearts from blocks away while I wanted to hand them all the candy in the world. Annnnd... that was it for another hour. I was about to give up on the night when my door rang again and I was greeted by a couple kids as tall as me. And I use "kids" loosely. One of them had facial hair. They worked so hard on their juvenile delinquent costumes that it was almost like they weren't wearing any costumes whatsoever.

"W'sup?" one of them asked. "Trick or treat."

Like I said, I'm no big fan of costumes, but come on. If you're gonna commit to begging for candy door-to-door as a grown adult, the least you could do is rock a cheap mask or some bunny ears. But hey, it's a free society, so if you want to try trick-or-treating sans costume when I'm pretty sure you're old enough to drive to Walgreens and buy your own candy, that's your right. Just as its my right to give you a heaping handful... from my leftover 2015 Halloween candy dish. Enjoy the stale Kit-Kats and crusty peanut butter cups, dude.

And that was it. No tricks, loads of leftover treats, and nothing left to do but watch a marathon of Paranormal Lockdown on TLC and hope to have some creepy dreams. Instead, I inexplicably dreamt that I had driven to Chicago on a whim, auditioned for the Windy City production of "Hamilton," was somehow cast in a decent role, and then forgot to show up for opening night and was promptly fired. I call that a creepy success, because the fastest way I know to make anyone's skin crawl with madness is to subject them to my "singing" voice. I'd better start rehearsing now, Halloween 2017 comes way to soon. Do re miiIIIiiiIIiiiIIIiii!

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