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Boo!

00:00 October 13, 2014
By: Debbie Lindsey

Halloween—I am not that connected to this particular holiday but I get it. When I was a kid it was great fun but now I focus only on the candy corn—really love that stuff. And while orange is a fabulous color and I own enough black clothing to become a professional mourner, those two shades together just don’t work. And what’s with all the dreadful spiders and those fiberglass tacky webs? Jack-o-lanterns I do like but man, do they smell after a while. 

Again, this is me and I do think any excuse to deviate from our everyday concerns and worries is healthy.

There is a part of me that loves to be frightened, yet I do not need Halloween to get my goose bumps roaring. Give me a Stephen King book and I am in escape-reality mode. I have spent many nights turning a blind eye to my woes and worries in the company of my favorite serial killer, Dexter. Then when he left me I rode shot gun with a handsome U.S. Marshall and together we dealt with some nasty and dangerous nutcases, white supremacists, and gun-toting drug dealers. Oh those were happy times. Yes, from the comfort of my LazyBoy, armed with a glass of Chardonnay I could forget my job, love gone haywire, and all the realities I have no control over. Netflix and a good book beat Xanax every time. 

For many, watching the evening news is just too overwhelming. However, somehow the everyday boogie men (work, money, sagging butt) that infest my well-being become so minor as Brian Williams walks me through the world’s wars and woes. Every hurricane season Margaret Orr puts me in a tail spin over a little thunder storm and Bob Breck presents an approaching hurricane with high camp and did-he-really-just-say-that enthusiasm. And the off-the-chart antics of our local politicians and scofflaws are infuriating comedy. My tourists reading this certainly have their fair share of hometown bad guys and frightening weather alerts but it’s only fun and games until someone gets hurt.  Because things that strike close to home feel too real to be simply an adrenaline rush and the distraction of breaking news can and often does become quite personal. But scary movies and sci-fi books can give us that healthy escape from the horrors of the mundane—like that sink full of dirty dishes that is just too terrifying to approach.

With all this said, Halloween should be right up my alley, yet it has become so contrived, commercialized, and consumerized that it has lost its eerie and stand-alone quality. It has become a “season” that begins in the sterile aisles of box stores everywhere. Thank goodness only a few Halloweenish songs exist or we’d be forced to tap our toes to The Monster Mash in elevators and grocery stores for a month.

 Adults now celebrate Halloween more than the kids. It has become a “party” with New Orleans becoming a big time destination; a runway for the half-naked and creative with parties and parades. And all this is fine; however the magic seems to have been lost along the way.

This symbolic day of souls and spirits, witches and warlocks, tricks and treats is just that – one special day that should be indulged and feared on October 31st, All Souls Day, and not a month in advance. Kids used to take to the streets on Halloween night but now you might see these little goblins hamming it up for candy just about any night prior to the real night. And what about those daytime trick or treat costumed outings—now that’s just plain wrong. I understand safety but for god’s sake how can they ever understand or feel the mystery and magic that night brings to the ritual under the glare of florescent lights.

Okay, it’s not the way I remember it as a kid, but then very little else is. And maybe letting us adults jump in and share in the festivities is just what we need. We may botch it up a bit, forget its roots, put profit ahead of traditions yet still we take the time to escape, to act like kids and scare reality away for a moment.

So this year Boyfriend is trick or treating as an Entergy worker threatening to turn off power off and I will dress as a meter maid and walk the streets of the French Quarter. Be scared, be very scared. 

Happy Halloween. 

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