On her last visit to the States, my dear friend Helen of Leeds (Leeds is a town in northern England where The Who recorded their epic album “Live at Leeds”) commented on the absurdness of the whole concept of Halloween, which is apparently not celebrated in England. But then the Brits don’t celebrate the Fourth of July nor Thanksgiving either…go figure!
Adding to the absurdity, said Helen, is the presence of Halloween stores that seem to pop up in shopping centers, often months in advance of the holiday – well, actually it’s not really a holiday, but you’d think so, judging by the amount of money people spend on candy. By the way, in England holiday means you’re going on vacation, as in “We’re going on holiday to France.” I don’t suppose Helen would approve of the Halloween Hangout on Thursday, Oct. 26 at the Lake Gregory Education and Community Center or all the activities at Knott’s Scary Farm.
So, just how much is spent on celebrating Halloween, you ask? OK, so you didn’t ask, but if you had, I’d tell you that, according to the National Retail Federation (when they’re not on strike), Americans spend $5 billion, or about $60 per person, to celebrate Halloween. Now that is absurd; no wonder some kids have so many pimples.
I’ve never spent anything approaching $60 on Halloween. In fact, like Helen of Leeds, I don’t celebrate it at all. Well, I used to but, in my family, we never bought costumes, we just made our own. And, as far as candy goes, I’ve never spent more than $25 on Halloween treats. And why should I? For the past 15 years or so, no one has crossed the alligator-laden moat surrounding the stately Motley Manor, nor my threshold on All Hallows Eve – except for one year when the grandkids showed up, one of which had a rip in his britches from an alligator encounter.
Anyway, as usual, I plan to stock up on about $25 worth of candy on the off chance that some goblins brave the alligators and show up at my doorstep. And I get the good stuff, too. No candy corn…do people really eat that stuff? I’m talking Tootsie Rolls, Peppermint Patties, Snickers, Butterfingers and dark chocolate…“Mmmmmm, chocolate!” (Homer Simpson from the 1990 “Krusty Gets Busted” episode of The Simpsons)
For all you little monsters and goblins that do intend to trick-or-treat, the best place is Crestline’s Trick or Treat the Merchants on Saturday, Oct. 28, from 2 to 5 p.m. Be sure to wear a non-flammable costume and carry a flashlight when it’s dark, so motorists (and alligators) can watch out for you.
I was working in the lab late one night when my eyes beheld an eerie sight. For my monster from his slab began to rise, and suddenly to my surprise, he did the mash, he did the Monster Mash, it was a graveyard smash. He did the mash, it caught on in a flash. He did the Monster Mash. (“The Monster Mash” – Bobby Boris Pickett – 1964)
Keep it Flyin’,