Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011: More Trick Than Treat

Some spooky things have been happening to Halloween in recent years.  But this year seems to be a seminal year for taking the “treat” out of trick or treating.

First, there are the politically-correct school districts that have banned school Halloween parties because Halloween is based on a  Christian holiday (which is based on a pagan holiday, but never mind about that – it’s a Christian holiday now).  Not that the fundamentalist Christians have ever been particularly fond of Halloween with its ghost, ghouls, and devils.

Other progressive schools, knowing how popular Halloween is with the kids, have taken another tack – the all-inclusive Halloween.  Boys in traditional girls’ costumes.  Girls in traditional boys’ costumes.  Oh look:  here’s Michael Smith in his pink ballerina costume.  Girls more easily can get away with boys’ costumes; it’s easier for Mary Smith to dress up as a football player than it is for Michael to dress up in a cheerleaders’ costume – a girl’s costume.  Although college boys have been known to do dress in drag for Halloween, and to very funny effect (think South Pacific, the musical). 

I defy any parent to wrestle their 8 year old son into a Dorothy costume, though.  Small children shouldn’t be thinking seriously about cross-gender dressing.   They shouldn’t be thinking sexually at all at that age.  If they are, they’ve got a problem and so do their parents. 

Which brings us to another aberrant trend – the “sexy” Halloween costume.  While it’s okay for adults to want to dress up for Halloween parties, the holiday is still meant primarily for children.  The supplier catalogs have been advertising ever-more risqué costumes for adults and inappropriate costumes for children, particularly teens.  If the costumes are any more revealing, they’ll have to come in brown paper wrappers.

Then there’s the problem of real-life Halloween horrors – that is to say, perverts and contaminated candy.  The public has never recovered from the Halloween scare of the early Seventies when parents were said to have found tainted candy in the goody bags, razor blades in apples and such.   Most of the reports turned out to be false.  In any case, candy today comes well-wrapped and protective.  Candy also comes with a high price tag.  What’s more, there are fewer trick or treaters running about in the neighborhood than in the old days, and they’re more likely to visit only homes they know, or go straight to parties. 

We haven’t seen Halloweeners in years.  If any kids do come to the door, they’re going to get Piggy Bucks and Bailout Coins rather than candy.  Every year, I buy the candy and it sits in the bag unopened and uneaten.  No one’s going to play that trick on me again.  The Piggy Bucks will last from year to year to year and never lose their value (unlike the U.S. dollar).

Mother Nature has played those of us in the Northeast one last trick.  She dumped anywhere from six inches to two feet of snow from Pennsylvania to Maine.  Power is still out in many towns, meaning no streetlights tonight.  The roads and sidewalks are still icy because the temperature is so cold, so towns are postponing Halloween until Saturday, by which time the weather will have warmed up a little and the snow will have melted.
It’ll be a great night to stay indoors and watch one of the classic horror movies.  The Wizard of Oz is a great, classic Halloween movie, as is the Lord of the Rings, and the series about that other wizard, Harry Potter.  There is also Glenn Beck on his GBTV network, who can’t be recommended enough.  For those of you have cable, it’s out here in northern N.J. and you’ll be out of luck watching anything except DVDs.  For those of you with a Wifi receiver, or better yet, Roku or Boxee, you can tune in to Glenn’s 5 p.m. Halloween broadcast.

For a few years now, Glenn has done a radio version of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Telltale Heart.” Glenn is a sensational storyteller.  His version of Telltale Heart is just spine-tingling.  He’s a truly gifted, artistic storyteller.  How this man could say he doesn’t know anything making speeches and public-speaking can only be attributed to misplaced modesty.   Don’t take this as cheerleading but as the literal truth.  No one tells a story, particularly TTH, quite like Glenn Beck.  If you’ve never heard it, download it and listen to it sometime today.  He’s making it available today on his website.  Whatever the fee is, just pay it; it’s well worth it, especially since he’s not available in the metro New York area anymore, except through his website.

For those of us with access to GBTV, his televised take on Halloween will probably become a classic, just like his Telltale Heart and all the other favorites we’ve come to love on Halloween, like “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown” and The Wizard of Oz.  I make it my business to listen to his annual Halloween Broadcast for Telltale Heart.  It’s that good.

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