“Mom, since it’s Halloween, can I have candy for breakfast?”
Logical question, but no dice.
“We go begging for candy tonight, I don’t have any now. Tomorrow’s the day you try to sneak candy.” Halloween is the largest consumer holiday outside of American Consumer Christmas. Americans spend billions on Halloween, a holiday stolen from natural religions by some pope bent on controlling the world in the Middle Ages.
Dancing around a fire? Satan. Being grateful for the harvest? Satan. Black cats? Satan. Best to avoid these things and pray to your favorite “can you get me out of a jam” saint. Just like that, another age-old holiday–stolen and repurposed by the Church.
But Americans being Americans, we one-upped the Church by stealing the stolen holiday and re-repurposing it for our own caloric and festive greed. Instead of staying home praying–either for the harvest, the changes of seasons, or to honor our saint de jour, we pray to the god of diabetes.
Americans spent over $67B on Halloween over the last decade, and this year $2B will be on candy. I know this to be true, because I’ll see it in my classroom. The pop tarts and energy drinks I abhor will turn into Kit Kats and Hershey bars for a solid chocolate week.
Sure, food isn’t allowed in classes, but these are kids at Halloween. Have you tried to take candy from a kid on Halloween? They’ll watch drug smuggling movies to get it past you. Scarface’s got nothing on these guys.
But I’m not all “in my day we bobbed for apples and ate fruit.” I’m not a fun spoiler. I love the costumes they spend weeks creating. I love when teens trick-or-treat because they still have that fun spirit, and even though I yell at them constantly to eat some healthy food, I wish I had candy to give out today.
Alas, the week got away from me–flying out the window like time does for adults–and here I am, festivities barely prepared. Good thing Declan insisted we decorate at the end of September.
The bare minimum is done. The jack-o-lantern is carved, the wood stove is lit, and fake gravestones decorate the yard. Halloween is here.
The boy is pretending to be asleep, unable to rest at the prospect of running around the neighborhood with a box over his head begging for candy. He made his costume himself.
“Mommy, you don’t have a costume.” He forced me to make one. I made one of those lame adult things we put together because we don’t really have a costume–an outfit of black with a witches hat. It’ll give me an excuse to wear yoga pants and a sloppy shirt to work, then dodge cars on the back country road collecting candy.
Funny thing is, we never eat the candy. Sometime in spring, most of it gets thrown away to make room for the Easter candy I’ll toss at Halloween. That much makes me happy. We eat pretty well, as we should, and the candy is just a symbol–patriotism, as it were–that Americans can steal and co-opt any holiday we want, and sell stuff, dammit.
I think I want to invent a holiday, too. I’ll turn my witches hat to a marketing hat, recruit some Hallmark flunkies , and tell you what stuff you have to buy.
Oh, and Happy Halloween.