November 1st, 2017


Ghosts of Halloween Past

Halloween was one of my favorite times of year when I was a kid. Yeah, I know Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year for those who celebrate it, and I always liked Christmas, but there was always much more of a sense of obligation to it. Halloween was just fun. Maybe I don't have the proper spirit, as Christmas is about giving to others and Halloween about showing off. But then, since EVERYONE showed off, it wasn't exactly selfish. I think it's weird when people act like Halloween is about the candy, and even more so when anyone complains about giving handouts to kids. Even if you're giving out Godiva chocolates (and who does that?), you're probably still spending less than you do on other holidays. But since I haven't lived anywhere that got trick-or-treaters in over ten years, maybe I don't have room to talk. I always liked handing out candy, though, even when I was a kid myself. And as someone who's pretty nervous and jumpy, it's not that I was particularly fond of being scared. I think a lot of it was the fantasy element, and how it was a day I could be weird without being mocked for it.

Beth and I usually watch a lot of Halloween-related stuff in October. This year, this included several movies, the History Channel documentary we usually see, and some Disney cartoons. There have been a lot of different specials over the years that keep repackaging the same stuff; I remember having one on tape as a kid with Jonathan Winters hosting as a Disney security guard. They sometimes tended to really reach for material. Donald Duck in "Trick or Treat" is pretty much a given, but the Donald cartoon with the escaped gorilla also often shows up, and so do segments of movies that just involve villains in general. I've gotten into Duck comics in the past few years, and it's worth noting how Carl Barks and his successors tended to make Donald and his nephews a lot less nasty than they were in the shorts. Even his adaptation of "Trick or Treat" had them reconcile at the end. But then, I remember reading that Walt came up with Donald partially because Mickey couldn't be as mean at that point. Early cartoon characters generally didn't have moral compasses, did they?

When I was at work on Tuesday, people were saying something about a school shooting nearby. It turned out that they hadn't quite gotten the facts, as there was no school and no shooting. What happened was that someone drove a truck onto a bike path and killed people, then crashed into a school bus. He appeared to have guns, but they were apparently fake. It was really sad and disturbing regardless. When looking for information, I read that Trump was using this to promote his immigration restrictions, because of course he is, not that his proposed travel ban included Uzbekistan anyway.

For Halloween night, we went to an event at the Bell House in Gowanus. On the way, we saw people trick-or-treating at businesses, which I guess is a thing in some areas. The diner where we ate apparently had candy at one point, but had run out by the time we got there, to the disappointment of several kids who showed up.

The event itself was a live performance of songs from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, with the audience encouraged to come on stage and sing. Our friend Stephanie sang "Hot Patootie," appropriate as she's a Meat Loaf fan, even though she's a vegetarian. After the performances, there was a costume contest, which ended up being a tie between a guy dressed as a starfish and one as 1980s Weird Al. Beth and I got our picture taken with the latter.