Wow. October 29th. Two more nights until the ghosts and goblins are out and about.
Oh, wait. I think they’re generally about all the time, these days.
Everywhere you look people have decorated their front entrances, lawns and porches with pumpkins, skeletons, witches and all manner of ghoulish creatures. Not me.
Call me the Scrooge of Hallowe’en. I just don’t see the need for all the fuss it gets. Once upon a time I didn’t mind it, but as the years have progressed I’ve actually come to hate it.
Like all occasions — I can’t call it a holiday, because it’s just not — it’s been over-commercialized to the point of ridiculousness.
We can send Happy Hallowe’en cards to loved ones, for Pete’s sake. Honestly! Why?
The proliferation of pop-up retailers in the two months before Hallowe’en is testament to the fact that there is big money to be made for this one night of fright. I absolutely refuse to give them one red cent of my hard-earned money.
When I was a kid we looked forward to Hallowe’en for about a week — not months. Costumes were cobbled together from our parent’s old clothes, worn out bed sheets and pillow cases, and our makeup was shoe polish, some of Mom’s lipstick and flour dusted in our hair. And it was all we needed. We used the same stuff from year to year and it got passed down from brother to sister with no problems.
Now? You’re looking at about 50 bucks for a store-bought costume that will see one year’s wear, and, because they’re so cheaply and shoddily made they’ll be garbage by the end of the night. And why? To go out and collect candy that kids don’t even really care about anymore.
Candy was a big deal for my brothers and sisters and I when we were little. There wasn’t a lot of extra money in our household and it sure wasn’t spent on buying us treats. It was that way for most families. A treat was exactly that — an occasional chocolate bar, bottle of pop or bag of penny candy. We treasured it, we fantasized about our favourites, we suffered agonizing anticipation on those occasions that we knew would bring us our hearts’ desires.
Today kids get ‘treats’ on an almost daily basis. I honestly don’t think they give a hoot about the goodies they get trick or treating.
Meanwhile, retailers are laughing all the way to the bank.
And, sadly, our poor environment pays the price. Candy wrappers, chip bags and juice boxes are littered up and down streets, in school yards and at bus stops for weeks afterwards.
Discarded costumes and all that plastic that makes up the bulk of Hallowe’en decorations gets dumped in the garbage where it will languish in a landfill for eternity — if it isn’t just allowed to blow away on the next big wind.
I know that this kind of waste isn’t specific to Hallowe’en — it’s the same for Easter, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Canada Day, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day, etc., etc. For some reason it just bugs me more.
I think it’s time we really examined how and why we celebrate things like Hallowe’en. Is it because it really has meaning for us, or is it simply because the retail industry has done such a great job on selling it to us, and convincing us that we’re cheap and ‘no fun’ if we don’t buy in?
You know what I did like about Hallowe’en? Watching It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with my family. It was sweet and simple — and we loved it.