Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Hater, Candy Lover

I admit it. I hate Halloween. While everyone else is ransacking Ricky's for costume ideas, I'm usually at home swearing I'm not going out, until the last minute when I hastily throw a lame costume together.

The unfortunate thing about being a Halloween Hater is that I'm a hopeless Candy Lover. Capital L-O-V-E-R. This year, however, Henry is simultaneously providing the perfect excuse for avoiding Halloween parties and a foolproof path to free candy. Double score. Thank you, sweet vampire baby.
You're welcome, Moo Cow. I love you.

I don't know the origin of my disdain for Halloween. Perhaps I don't like to be frightened, and Halloween is all about the spooks. As a child, I would strain each year to recall which house to skip. You know, the one with the guy who answered the door in a super-scary mask and stared at us silently until we were scared silly. Then, apparently satisfied, he would give us one piece of candy each. Douchebag.

Or, how about the razors-in-candy urban legend of the 1980s, when my mom (along with every other parent in the free world) would cut all my Halloween candy into small pieces to check for razors and pins. Way to take a fake holiday centered around costumes and candy and turn it into a lesson on domestic terrorism. To this day, I eat candy by breaking off pieces instead of biting into the bar.

Then there's the basic sexism of Halloween that irks me. I remember my mom dressing up for Halloween parties as a Playboy Bunny, a leotard-clad devil or a French maid, while my dad got to be Zorro, Superman or a Crayola Crayon. Witness:

My parents, October 1982
My mom made that crayon costume. But the greatest thing
about this photo is my dad's hipster mustache and sneakers.

As an adult, I am consistently frustrated by my inability to buy a regular witch costume; it has to be a slutty witch. Or a slutty nurse. Or a slutty pumpkin, with apologies to How I Met Your Mother. It's hard to find a costume that is comfortable and not revealing without dressing up as something dorky and unattractive like, I don't know, Yoda's step-sister.

Slutty Devil, a classic
Photo credit: DivineLegs000
Slutty Umpire??
Photo credit: DivineLegs000

My favorite childhood Halloween memories include dressing up and going around with my sister. When we returned home, we would painstakingly divide the stash.

I think I liked cataloging the candy more than eating it. We would go up to my room -- with the pink walls and red shag carpet -- and spill the contents of our bags onto the floor, picking through the Smarties, Dots, Butterfingers and the occasional apple, which we, of course, weren't allowed to eat in case it had been poisoned.

Me (Halloween slut-in-training), my sister and my cousin, October 1984
Me (slacking in the slut department) and my sister, October 1985

Two years ago, Halloween got a little better. My niece was finally old enough to understand the holiday, so we all dressed up and drove out to New Jersey, where she lives, to trick-or-treat.

Rayne wore the absurdly expensive real lederhosen he had purchased in Munich for Oktoberfest to amortize the expense over every Halloween or costume party for the duration of his life, per my instructions. (But I didn't buy the hat! he had protested.)

I went as a rockstar, using guitars from my Xbox 360 Guitar Hero and Rock Band sets (nerd alert!). I bought Hudson a rocker t-shirt and a pair of doggie jeans and strapped two drumsticks to his back, which he promptly ripped off.

And now, Super-Franken-Double-Probation-Storm Sandy has arrived, threatening to ruin one of the first Halloweens I've actually been looking forward to. The plan is to dress Henry as a monkey and go trick-or-treating in the Jers with the cousins.

What's worse, I may not get to exercise a mother's prerogative and steal his candy while he slumbers. (I know you did it, Mom. No use denying it.) Divine retribution, perhaps, for all those Halloween-hating years.

Am I the only Grinch who dislikes Halloween?