Dear Halloween Kid,
Welcome to my private property. I’m sure you look very scary or funny or like someone from Frozen tonight. Good work.
Here before you I have placed a large tupperware bin filled with various treats. It is an honour system. Take one, and only one because there has to be enough for everyone, so that we can evenly distribute the Type 2 Diabetes and child obesity throughout the neighbourhood.
All that I ask for in return is that you read this note to its completion. I know you’re not used to reading things and that you prefer to have your information yelled at you by colourful three-dimensional animals, but I’m not feeling up to it tonight, sadly, as most of my yelling and colour were used up watching the Maple Leafs’ lacklustre powerplay. But I digress…
Kid, I’m going to be honest with you: I’m not a fan of Halloween. It’s a horseshit holiday, and I want you to understand this now before it’s too late. We don’t need it, Kid, and I’m going to tell you why.
Don’t get me wrong, I used to be into it. I have lots of lovely childhood memories of trick or treating. Of dressing up as a wizard or a ghost or an Indian – not to date myself, but this was of course before Indians were from India. I remember walking around the neighbourhood, loot bag over my shoulder, as my father would chain-smoke and speak in double-entendres to the young mothers of our block. I remember, after arriving home, experiencing such a violent post-candy sugar-crash that I barely had enough remaining energy to remove my racist face makeup and headdress before bed. And then the next day at school, with our backpacks overflowing with candy, we would all trade our sweets with each other, quite literally establishing a drug trade during the lunch hour – one which would make afternoon learning near impossible for our sucrose-infused little minds.
But then, as we became young adults, Halloween turned into something different altogether. It turned into something much darker and insidious… Teenage Halloweens. Teenagers are the most loathed group of people on the age-spectrum, you see, and Halloween is their annual coup d’etat. It is a night of sheer anarchy – only without the required principles and rules to be defined as such. Teenage Halloweens are hopeless, depraved exercises in delinquency, shot in the style of a Baz Luhrmann acid trip. It is a night of fireworks, vandalism, boob-grazes and alcohol abuse. But we, the rest of society, allow them to carry on this way year after year. We don’t mind getting out the ladder the next morning to pick the toilet paper from our trees or Windex the raw eggs off our living room windows. Why? Perhaps because we know that without this momentary lapse in adult supervision, this briefest of tastes of untethered freedom, most teens would not be able to carry on. So we let them have one night a year.
But then, in your late teens and on into your twenties, Halloween turns into the worst of all its incarnations: Just a bad night. The only way to enjoy it, much like watching CBC television, is to do so ironically. Everything is deeply steeped in irony: your costume, your choice of alcohol, even your vocal enjoyment of Republic of Doyle (“He’s so sassy!” you’ll shout gaily to your loved one who isn’t actually there.) But then you’ll look out the window of the mediocre house party at which you’re getting drunk and see the children with their candy bags and costumes and you’ll long for a simpler time. You’ll feel excluded from this day. You’ll realize that Halloween is no longer for you. You’ll think of all the money you wasted buying the belt and the bowling shirt for your Chandler Bing costume, and feel profoundly ashamed and alone.
But I don’t want you to ever feel that way, Kid. And you won’t. Because I’m going to let you in on a little secret:
Every day can be your Halloween.
You like dressing up and you like candy, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. You know what? I like those things too. But here’s the thing:
Halloween is for the weak, Kid.
It’s for the people who need permission to eat and dress and act in a way that makes them feel alive and spontaneous and silly.
But we don’t need anyone’s permission to do those things, Kid.
Y’know why? Because you and I? Know what we are? We’re free spirits. If we’re moved to dress up like astronauts or princesses or bunnies, we don’t need the condonance of these fucking cowards! We can dress up whenever we want! We can eat candy whenever we want! This isn’t our night of self-expression! This isn’t our fucking Facebook album that we’ll poach pictures from to create the illusion that we’re interesting people on our dating profiles! We’re too punk rock for that! Our whole lives are for self-expression! Not just tonight!
So go forth into the night with the glee and the fun that you associate with Halloween. Go get your candy and be adorable while doing so. But then tomorrow, when your mother or father wakes you up for school, I want you to remember that glee and fun from tonight. And I want you to never expect any less from yourself or from the world.
I don’t believe in Halloween, but I DO believe in you, Kid.
The world is yours. Don’t ever forget it.