According to Charlie Brown's friend, Linus, “On Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises out of his pumpkin patch and flies through the air with his bag of toys for all the children.” It's also the time of year the Great Autumn Scrooge awakens.
If you haven't guessed, yours truly is the Great Autumn Scrooge, and I am less than thrilled with the holiday of all things spooky.
The most obvious reasons I detest Halloween are the pushy, costumed children who attempt to snatch as much candy as they can from me with their grubby, little hands. I abide by the “old-school” Halloween tradition: say “trick-or-treat”, open your bag, receive your candy, say thank you. Every year, however, fewer and fewer children are following the “old school” rule and more and more little monsters (seasonal pun intended) are sticking their hands into my bowl of candy in an attempt to grab as much as they can. Not a Halloween goes by that I don't have to correct some child's selfish, nasty behavior. Doing so, of course, is the parents' responsibility, but year after year, less and less parents accompany their children to my door, an alarming trend to be sure.
Another thing I dislike about Halloween are age inappropriate costumes. I do not appreciate a preschooler dressed as Lady Gaga or Edward Scissor Hands (I've seen both), nor do I appreciate teenagers without costumes who ring my bell holding a pillow case into which I am expected to drop candy. Teenagers are too old for trick-or-treat, and if they insist on trading their maturity for candy, they should at least make an effort and dress up. Whether it's Baby Gaga or hungry high-schoolers at my door, on Halloween I quickly tire of the incessant parade. One year, I followed a neighbor's example and put a bucket of candy on my porch; foolishly, I had far too much faith in the honesty of children. My kids and their friends took only a few pieces of candy from such outdoor buckets in our neighborhood; whoever came to my door helped themselves to all the candy – and took the bucket, too. Admittedly, I should have known better; someone had stolen my pumpkins the night before.
This is the part where I should say I wasn't always an Autumn Scrooge and offer examples of my childhood enthusiasm that sadly waned through the years. Can't do it. I never had any enthusiasm for Halloween and cared little for the occasion as a child. Every October, I helped my mother stuff bags with candy to dole out to the neighborhood children and thus questioned the logic of begging for candy from neighbors when there was plenty of it right there on my kitchen table. You might argue Halloween is about more than candy; it's about dressing up and having fun. True enough, I suppose, but as a kid, I thought the whole dress-up thing was downright dumb. While everyone was oohing and awing at little “Susie-Q's” costume, I was the one thinking, “Man, she looks stupid.”
My son says there are two types of people in this world: those who like Halloween and those who don't. He is the former; I fall squarely into the latter, but I'll do my part. I'll buy the candy. I'll answer the door. I'll prevent pushy kids from swiping more than their share from my bowl and compliment/reward the polite Disney Princesses and adorable little super heroes. I'll smile. I'll be nice. Nobody will ever suspect that the woman giving out the full-size Hershey bars rather than the bite size candies is actually the Great Autumn Scrooge.
And when it's all over, I'll breath a sigh of relief, replace the Halloween ghost hanging on my front door with a Thanksgiving turkey, and as always, march forward to the beat of my own very unique drum.