By A.J. Llewellyn
Growing up in Australia, I grew up without the benefit of Halloween. To us back then, it was one of those holidays we envied as kids since anything that involved getting loads of sweets was a fantastic thing. I had cousins here who lived on their Halloween hauls for weeks…
Perhaps those years of deprivation have caught up with me because I am now obsessed with candy.
Last night I went trick-or-treating for the first time ever. I escorted my friends’ kids around the block and really got an eyeful, as the saying goes.
Since I moved her in 1984, I’ve largely ignored Halloween. I am still hurt that my beloved black cat, Winnie was stolen from my backyard two days before Halloween that year. I still think about her and hope her demise was not as shocking and grim as my mind insists it was. I had no idea people did such disgusting things. I’ve never let a cat of mine outdoors for any reason ever since. Whoever took that beautiful animal knew me and knew I had her. She never ventured out front….
See, I torture myself still.
It’s taken a lot for me to semi-embrace Halloween. We Australians still think it’s all pretty bizarre but what I saw last night made me realize just how bizarre. I saw families wielding baby buggies up and down neighborhoods they don’t live in, just to grab free sweets.
I saw kids in great costumes and kids in lame costumes. I saw kids whose parents had no money for costumes, but still took them out prowling for candy. I pitied these kids because they felt the need to protect their parents when people questioned their lack of a guise and believe me, they do.
“Who are you supposed to be?” I heard over and over again…
“A little kid,” one girl said defensively.
I don’t care how poor you are, even a sheet thrown over the kid and claiming him to be a ghost is better than nothing. Just my humble opinion.
I saw a woman balancing her kid and his plastic orange jack-o-lantern in one hand and a can of pest spray in the other.
“Is that part of his costume?” I asked her.
“No,” she replied. “Somebody sent me an email saying this is the best self-defense tool a woman can carry. Spray this stuff in somebody’s eyes and they’ll regret every trying something.”
Oookay, then. Nice way to approach a total stranger asking for free stuff…
I was astounded at the pushiness of people, the rudeness when parents felt that homeowners were being Scrooges by handing out only one or two pieces of candy. I thought this was just…unreal.
I saw people trick-or-treating late into the night, hammering on doors of homes where it was obvious the occupants were done for the night.
Where was it written that the world owes these people candy?
I thought about this last night as I watched the new episode of Hawaii Five-O. In the opening seen Danny Williams takes his daughter trick-or-treating around the seedy hotel where he’s staying (really??) and when one guy opens his door and insists -twice – that he has no candy, Danny gets aggressive.
“Get her some candy, man,” he says, then acts irate when the guy caves in, slopes off to the kitchen and comes back with mini-bottles of booze and plunks them into the kid’s candy bucket.
What the hell did he expect?
I saw this behavior over and over again last night. People grading the size and quality of candy. Griping over bubblegum not being an acceptable candy…
It’s funny that at the annual Gay Halloween Parade in WeHo last night, the predominant theme was the government’s greed.
We are all guilty of this, my friends. Even on an individual scale. I saw adults act like spoiled children over little pieces of candy, setting a very bad example for their kids.
We want, we want, we want. And, we expect. Wah wah wah wah wah...
I like candy as much as the next person, perhaps more. I don’t think I am any closer to adoring Halloween than I ever have been, but at least I do know it hasn’t and never will turn me into somebody I would be ashamed to be…the morning after candy.