It’s time to put away childish things. I really can’t abide contemporaries who cling to the preferences of their youth. Kid’s movies, for example. I fully exempt friends of mine who are parents of children (by the way, most parents are parents of children). You watch what they watch, you can appreciate a girl who says, “It’s fluffy!” or some nonsense like that. But the rest of you! Look at yourselves! What attracts you to this? The bright colours? The funny voices? The fart jokes? Let’s expect more from our entertainment. The other night, I went to the ten o’clock showing of Enough Said, a really smart comedy-drama where Julia Louis-Dreyfus contemplates a summer romance with James Gandolfini as her daughter prepares to head off for college. The theatre was nearly deserted and the sound bled over from the screening next door; Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 in 3D. That theatre was full and, considering the time of night that it was, it was likely full of adults. You know what’s wrong with that situation? Everything.
I digress, and am perhaps, a Grumposaurus. By the time you read this, I will have spent Halloween day at work, informing children that we have, unfortunately, run out of candy. I should mention that I work in an adult upscale clothing store that has nothing to offer children but, because this store is in a mall, children will move store to store in costume, with their parents, asking for candy. Not door to door, but store to store. This is what passes for Halloween now, apparently. I know it’s cold out. I know there are kidnappers lurking behind every rosebush. But do we really have to rob kids of the experience of going door-to-door? Meeting neighbours? Getting cold but powering through because there’s CANDY to be had?!
A coworker at this same store mentioned offhandedly that he didn’t like Halloween. My reaction was an almost visceral disgust. “You don’t like HALLOWEEN?! But it’s so fun! You’re allergic to fun!” I accused. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized he was right. Like kid’s movies, if you’re a childless adult, what is the appeal?
Dream: Create an adults-only Halloween.
Goal: Achievable. I know what some of you are thinking. “But James!” you object, your mouth full of Jello shots, “Adults-only Halloween does exist! And it’s fun!” NOPE. No. I know the Halloween you’re referring to, the drunken, slutty, pay extra at the bar, elbow past three Heath Ledger’s Jokers to get a spot at the goddamn urinal, can’t do it. I’m talking about a truly adult Halloween. Where October 31st is a celebration of maturity, responsibility and good decision-making.
Plan: Upend every aspect of this popular holiday to make it more grown-up (and also less fun). For instance…
Let’s stop eating candy. I read that as you get older, your tastebuds actually change. This transformation accounts for the fact that we crave Kool Aid as a kid and beer as an adult (well, that, and the alcohol content in beer is considerably higher). The same must be true for the sweetness of candy. Have you purchased anything besides gum on the little rack up at the front of a convenience store lately? Like a chocolate bar? Goddamn, what happened to chocolate bars? Religious zealots on campus were handing out Three Musketeers as incentive to go to their God Rally or whatever it was, and I took one while waiting for my bus. Good GOD, the tooth-aching sugar bomb of it all! One bite and I felt it zing to the back of my throat. I don’t deny myself sweets, I like cake and ice cream and sugar in my coffee and stuff, but this was like having a can of frosting thrown at my face. Anyway, I propose on Adult Halloween, that we celebrate the savoury! Won’t it be great to pay a call on your neighbours for a Bloody Mary or small piece of jerky? “Oh, don’t you two look adorable! Here’s some lamb.”
That’s another point, the costumes. Boy, I’d love buy one of those Hallloween Megastores just to burn it to the ground. Where’s the creativity in taking a costume from out of a box? Adult Halloween demands costumes be homemade, witty, and relevant. I will bake and give an entire Duncan Hines chocolate cake to a fat guy tomorrow if he comes to my store dressed as Mike Duffy, for example. A story. One time I worked in an office with a bunch of slovenly writers. Our department was alongside the sales department, which was filled with slickest, dudelist, broliest, dude-bros you ever saw. These were hair-gelled, tailored suited, Glengarry Glen Ross meets the cast of Entourage, all spewing insufferable sales jargon into their hands-free phones every day, while we schlubby scribes wrote marketing copy for the very deals they were hoping to score. Anyway, we writers planned Dude Bro Friday, where we planned to dress and behave like our salesman neighbours for the entire day to see if anyone noticed. Man, was that fun. I slicked back my hair and wore a blazer. My friend Marisa wore heels, a pencil skirt, and too much makeup. Pat stuck up his hair and wore dogtags (he may have misunderstood the assignment). Anyway, no reprimands were issued, the sales team didn’t even notice, but I don’t think I had a more enjoyable working Friday. The point is, by rote costumes are boring, but dressing up can be so fun. Let’s all work a little harder.
Finally, I’m going to keep Halloween alcohol-free. It’s on a Thursday, after all. But even last weekend, the Doc and I begged off a house party we were invited to, partly in fear of gay drunks (the worst kind of drunks). I wonder about my need for booze, and whether I could simply go without it (but that’s another blog). I also wonder if I’m allergic to fun. What do I care if people my own age go to kids’ movies, get sloppily drunk, and unimaginatively dress like pimps and hos? Maybe it’s because we get so few chances as grown-ups to pretend to be something that we’re not. It’s so easy to play into our roles, consume whatever we’re being spoon-fed, and not ask more of ourselves than we do of our children. Maybe that’s the scariest thing of all.