The Reason for the Season
Snide Remarks #14
"The Reason for the Season"
by Eric D. Snider
Published in The Daily Universe on October 27, 1997
Unless you are a stick-in-the-mud or a communist, you will no doubt be celebrating Halloween this Friday. Halloween is a marvelous holiday with a long, sentimental history, but I fear that with the over-commercialization and the hustle-and-bustle of the season, people may forget the true meaning of the day.
No, sorry, forgive me, I have no idea what I'm talking about. Every year people complain about the roots of Halloween -- how it used to be a Druid holiday, or a Celtic cult day, or Charles Manson's birthday, or whatever -- and see that as good reason for not celebrating it, as if the mere fact that Oct. 31 USED to be a pagan holiday automatically ruins it for all other purposes. If we follow this logic, then Christmas should be moved away from Dec. 25, and the stock market should be closed every Friday (Black or otherwise).
I see no problem with Halloween. Trick-or-treating seems like a relatively harmless activity, except of course for the malicious pranks that teen-agers pull that often result in injury and death, and except of course also for the madmen who put poison and razor blades in candy. Aside from these things, though, trick-or-treating seems perfectly safe and sane, except of course again for kids who go dressed as black cats or Darth Vader or Robert Smith from The Cure who get hit by cars because the drivers don't see them.
Generally speaking, I think the most evil things about Halloween are the people who give out lousy candy to trick-or-treaters. You know who I'm talking about; perhaps, through some cruel twist of nature due to pre-mortal unrighteousness on your part, you actually ARE one of those people. I'm talking about people who give out apples, and pennies and nickels, and that awful hard candy from Mexico that the kids sell while you're waiting to cross the border from Tijuana back into California. These people should turn off their lights, lock their gates, and put a sign on the fence saying, "We're jerks, and we hate kids, and we think fruit is candy, and we're jerks. Oh, and we hate kids."
The worst thing anyone ever gave out was a toothbrush. At first I thought this couldn't be a very common occurrence, but then, after asking the reporters in the newsroom, I learned that Chumbawamba is currently No. 10 on Billboard's Hot 100, and that a good episode of "Seinfeld" was on TV (the one where Jerry can't remember his girlfriend's name, and he thinks maybe it's "Gipple"). After a few more questions, I determined that indeed, many people were victims of random toothbrushings during their childhood trick-or-treat days.
What could possibly be going through someone's mind that would make them give out dental hygiene products? Do they think they're being cute? Do they think they're doing kids a favor? And how do we know these toothbrushes haven't already been used, anyway? Suffice it to say that handing out toothbrushes to trick-or-treaters is the worst crime ever perpetrated against humanity, and I include the "Batman & Robin" movie in that statement.
The cause of this lousy candy problem is that we have lost touch with the roots of Halloween. Oh sure, we TALK about "trick-or-treating" -- but do we really think about what that means? If someone fails to give us a treat, do we realize that we are now both legally empowered and socially obligated to play a trick on them? My friends, I fear we do not. I fear that we say "trick or treat" over and over again so much that its repetition has lessened its meaning.
I am encouraging two things here: One, start trick-or-treating again. Some grown-up may have told you that you were too old for it now that you're in college, but, like most grown-ups, they were lying.
And two: Do the tricks. If someone gives you something stupid -- loose change, fruit, dental floss, anything with coconut -- feel free to start a fire. You'll be glad you did.
Copyright © Eric D. Snider.
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