Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Halloween Weekend Begins

For the past week or so, nothing has delighted Natalie more than putting on her Cinderella dress and dancing in the living room. Since Kara went back to work yesterday after her much lavished month off, Natalie oscillated between the two ends of the fashion spectrum, wearing next to nothing and donning her full-length Cinderella costume. Most definitely, Natalie is taking a liking to this Halloween business, and I’m not sure where she gets it from.

Me, on the other hand, I’ve always abhorred dressing up for Halloween, and what I like even less about Halloween is Halloween parties, where there’s a bunch of people trying to be somebody they're not; the world is too full of phonies as it is, and we certainly don’t need a holiday celebrating that fact. I seem to enjoy Halloween when it is on a Wednesday or Thursday, too far away from either weekend to make an excuse for an extended holiday weekend of costume-clad kids trolling the neighborhood for candy and costume-clad adults doing things they probably shouldn’t only because their anonymity derides them of any morals and inhibitions. This way, most of the idiocy is confined to one day and not a whole weekend, and since it is a school/work night, usually there are less kids getting into trouble and less adults blowing a 0.08 or better into the breathalyzer.

Sure, call me a killjoy or a fuddy-duddy or an old man, I don’t care, but I like to think that maybe I’m one of the last few people in this world who have a shred of dignity left in them that they don’t need to put on face makeup and pretend I’m Dracula and drink myself into a sullen stupor all in the name of Paganism.

It’s not that I’m particularly religious, for my hatred of the holiday, but it is mostly because finding the right costume stresses me out and I’ve spent too much time as an adult around other adults that don’t partake in the festivities. Of my last 10 years working in an office, if I were to dress up as something for this God-forsaken holiday, I would have been the only one, and there’s one thing worse than dressing up like an idiot for Halloween and that’s being the only one that dresses up like an idiot for Halloween.

I took her to dance class that morning and it was a “wear your costume to dance class” day. It was cute to see all of the little three-year-olds dressed up for Halloween, and we had everything from Supergirl, Darth Vader and a butterfly to all four of the Disney princesses, Pocahontas and Ariel. The uber-moms that seemingly don’t have a whole lot of things better to do with their stay-at-home-mom time but pour affection on their children came bearing “goodie bags” for everyone, making us lesser parents look like slouches for not ponying up with the treats. I’m not talking a bite-sized candy bar and a themed pencil; these are small Chinese take-out sized boxes full of various plastic Oriental Trading Company rubble themed for All Hollow’s Eve… for each kid. It amazes me. Even if I was apprised of the fact that they bring treats in for the holidays, I wouldn’t have even taken it that far. I can’t wait for Arbor Day so we can each get a redwood for the backyard.

Of course, it figures: The one day I don’t bring my camera to dance class (where picture taking is strictly verboten by the dance instructor) is the day everyone brings their cameras to dance class, where there’s a free-for-all photo session of all the darlings lined up in their Halloweeny best.


Last night Kara, the kids and I went to their school for the Halloween festival they have there every year, and at first I didn’t really want to go. It’s like going to a work party; you spend all day with these yahoos and then you have to spend an additional evening with them, trying to find something social to talk about that isn’t work… and you end up talking about work anyways because the only thing you all have in common is the fact that your paychecks have the same signature on them. Natalie, on the other hand, was all for going because she got to dress up in her Cinderella costume, and even wear the glass slippers and crown to boot. She looked like… well, a princess, and she was excited about going. Once we got there, it was a different story, and when we made our way down the hallway toward her classroom, she burst into tears the moment she saw her teacher, all the while thinking that we were going to leave her there for the night. Assured that we were there for a party, she sniffed it up and said, “Oh,” later exclaiming, “I was crying when we came here but I’m fine now.”

In her room, there was a pumpkin decorating table set up, and Natalie covered hers with a variety of things, and we set it aside to dry. The room was full of strangers. With the exception of one of Kara’s coworkers and her daughter (also Natalie’s fellow dance classmate as well as a school classmate) and Dan and Janeal and their son Maxwell, we knew nobody there, so we might have well have been by ourselves putting glue on a gourd. So much for holiday cheer.

Later, the creeps were well handed to me when I was forced to watch the beginning of a marionette show, a spectacle 10 times more horrifying than a normal puppet show and 100 times more creepy than that wooden McCarthy fellow. Child entertainers are a rare breed and I’m happy to state that I don’t personally know any of them… I don’t think I could once I found out what they did for a living. “Oh, so that explains why you carry a pocket full of sticky candy canes.”

Natalie loved it, and since she was well amused and in the company of her good friend (and dance mate) Christina, it gave me an out to sit in the other room, eating hard tack shaped like cookies and drinking slightly warmer than room temperature fruit punch, the kind that gives you a red mustache for the rest of the night, telling everyone you meet that you have an inability to sip liquids; they all must be pounded.

The end of the story leaves us with the fact that Natalie is a cute Cinderella, she loves nothing more than to dance her heart out in her costume, but if you were to ask her, she’s a “Butterfly Mermaid Princess.” Okay?

I shouldn’t be so hard on Halloween or those that really have a lot more spirit and a lot less inhibitions than me. It can be fun, and under the right circumstances, I’ve had my fair share of good Halloweens…not that many, but a few worth remembering. The rest were just various psychological studies of an introverted person forced to turn on the limelight and aim it in his face for everyone to look at, and my worst fear walking into a Halloween party is someone asking me: “What are you supposed to be?” Either you have poor costume planning, or you hoped nobody would notice you.

The real heartbreaking thing about Halloween is driving through the neighborhood the day after and seeing the occasional smashed pumpkin in the street. As a kid, I think I would have cried if that happened to my pumpkin, but then again, if I carved a face on it, that meant it had a personality and if it had a personality, it had feelings.

Never mind that a pumpkin is merely a vegetable, and not much good for anything else.

Hey, kind of like Clinton (either one)! Hahaha.

Remember to vote on Tuesday, folks.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Errata: I got my dates a little mixed up (it's a side effect from working at home). However, if you're going to vote Democrat, vote this Tuesday; if you're voting Republican, wait until the following Tuesday please.


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