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Tricks and Treats

Oct
31
2006

We’re getting all ready for Halloween here. The local bus service has added an extra stop for the holiday this week – at the cemetery. Bwa ha ha …(spooky laugh sound).

No, that stop’s not actually so little trick or treaters can go scare themselves silly. It’s so people can celebrate All Saints Day and All Souls Day on Nov. 1 and 2. Halloween celebrations are growing here (though it sounds like Italy is making a bigger deal of it), but the more traditional Spanish holidays are not forgotten.

These celebrations are more for grown-ups and kids, like Mexico’s Days of the Dead celebrations, which are getting more attention in the U.S. as the Hispanic population grows.

It’s all related. Days are getting shorter, nights longer, the world is getting darker and colder as winter’s about to settle in; it’s a natural time to remember the dead, to light fires against the dark, to recreate those ancient Celtic rituals of begging candy from your neighbors and stuffing your face with chocolate until you feel like throwing up. Because when those ancient Celts were all passed out around the fire, surrounded by Snickers wrappers and with Jujube’s stuck in their animal skin robes, they didn’t give a darn anymore if winter was coming as long as it meant they could sleep off the blood sugar roller coaster until March.

Well, really the candy stuff is for the kids. Adult parental types are reduced to the role of shepherding their kids around the neighborhood and sneaking candy the parents hope won’t be noticed. So non-shepherd adults seem to be claiming more and more of the holiday for themselves. Which probably explains why Halloween has become a huge party night; San Francisco’s and New York City’s celebrations are emblematic, but public and private parties are all over the place.

And then there’s those other sexy pagan rituals grown-up Halloweeners are harking back to. If you’ve been planning a costume, you’ve read about you’ve noticed that women’s costumes being sold are meant to be sexy these days. Across the board. With short skirts and low cut tops you’ve got the old favorites like French maid and cheerleader, as well as newly sexed up costumes like a witch or a cafeteria lunch lady (maybe).

Apparently the days of relaxing in a stuffed pumpkin costume are over. Which is too bad there aren’t other options for sale, but at least these are for semi-consenting adults.

But now the sexy costume obsession has moved down to girls’ costumes too. And that’s really too bad. Adults already claimed much of the holiday. Now, celebrating for kids (girls at least) is sliding into the adult sphere. Boys, naturally, get to do the superhero thing, and good for them, But girls lose another play space.

Adults these days like to play as much as they can. Sixty’s the new 20, right? This traditional adult stuff – still for our parents. But there’s more spillover for kids, who on their side, as always, are aiming to seem as grownup as they can. For my money, there’s nothing wrong with a few years – er. decades – of celebrating Halloween by seeing who can haul in the biggest stash of candy.

As long as you share it with your mother.

Share  Posted by Deborah Klosky at 7:48 PM | Permalink

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