Halloween is a big deal where I live. I suppose it’s probably a big deal everywhere, but my house is in the boonies and we are hard pressed for thrills up here. People think that those of us in the ‘burbs are sexually frustrated yuppies who spend our days kvetching to our therapists all day and drinking good, inexpensive wine all night. They are right to think that. That is exactly what we do. Except that we also take a shitload of anti-depressants.
So when Halloween rolls around each year, it’s a great opportunity to get together with our small circle of friends and wander around strange neighborhoods with our kids in tow making nasty comments about other people’s houses. While drinking. Halloween in the ‘burbs is basically a big booze cruise. Sure the kids get dressed up in adorable costumes, blah blah blah. But while they’re off gathering candy for us to eat after they go to bed, we’re getting completely fucking sauced. Usually a few grown-ups stuff multiple bottles of good, inexpensive wine into knapsacks and we spend the evening stumbling around playing grabby ass with each other. Which is all fine and good until halfway through trick-or-treating when the mood starts to turn.
Kids start getting sore feet and those of us who don’t handle our liquor very well start to get a little boisterous. For example, I found myself sending my kid back to the house he’d just gotten candy, saying to him, “What is this? Daddy doesn't eat fucking Laffy Taffy! Go back and get a goddamned Snickers bar!” Were there tears? There were. On my part. Because I tend to not only get angry when I’m drunk, I also get a little weepy. So after he came back with the Snickers bar, I found myself sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of the street, getting monster make-up all over my Timberland down vest because I was crying so hard, asking for his forgiveness. All of this was before I realized the kid I was hugging wasn’t mine.
Did the cops come? That depends on what you mean. The police were patrolling already and happened to stop at our little party after a couple of us decided that our costumes were “The Moon,” which entailed having our pants not exactly on. But that’s one of the great things about living in a small town. Rather than arresting us, they just asked us to cover up and told us that Child Services would be paying us a call. But I think they were probably kidding. After all, small town cops are just as bored and drunk as we are.
There was a little bit of controversy regarding my daughter’s costume. Here’s the thing: my opinion is, if you’re going to go around asking for free candy, at least make your costume as good as it can be. Show a little effort. Okay – so my daughter wanted to go as a mermaid this year. A little trite, but better than some of her previous ideas (princess, witch, etc.). When she showed me her costume, I said, "It's very cute but I have a suggestion: lose the top." My wife said that it was too cold to go topless and also that it was inappropriate. I didn’t disagree with her on either count, but we got into a big fight because my point was that if she wanted to go as a mermaid she had to understand the consequences of her decision. If I have a pet peeve it’s that mermaids are always shown with bathing suit tops, which I’m sorry, is bullshit. Why would mermaids wear bathing suit tops? They wouldn’t. Don’t believe me? Just ask yourself this simple question – where would a mermaid get a bathing suit? At the underwater swimsuit store?
Anyway, before too long my daughter was crying and my wife was furious. In the end we compromised. I allowed her to wear a top but I had to escort her to each house and explain that the top wasn’t my idea and that I was letting her wear it “under protest.” Once that was resolved, everybody had a great Halloween. Even my son who got lost in the woods for a couple hours. Eventually he wandered to the road and a car stopped when the driver saw Frankenstein walking on the side of the road, cold and weeping. Funny stuff.