The Dead Are NOT A Commercial Enterprise!
I'll admit, October 31 is a pretty cool night for kids. They get to dress up as fantastic creatures (or as benign things like pirates if their parents are lame), fail to scare people but be told they succeeded, and get candy for it. Next to Mexican kids beating the shit out of paper mache animals and getting candy for their work, it's probably the sweetest deal around. Unfortunately, a lot of people suck at Hallowe'en.
First of all, the people who turned it in to a commercial enterprise need to be shot in the face with a spike. October 31 is Samhain in the Celtic religions, and is the night when the dead walk the earth. The roaming dead would be a pain in the ass to the living by doing things like destroy crops, but they would also allow Druids to see the future. The Druids would dress up ceremonially while they did this, and when they were done they had some vague idea of what to do for the next year.
Hundreds of years later, Christianity was spreading like the plague, and enveloped most of the Celtic areas. They merged some Celtic holy days with their own, and Samhain (pronounced sow-in) became All Hallows' Eve. There are two things conspicuously absent from this remarkably abridged history of Hallowe'en that you should take notice of: children, and fucking candy.
If the Druids are to be believed, dressing up in a costume on October 31 indicates a wish to commune with the dead. It makes a lot of fucking sense to invite the dead to talk to your children, don't you think?
The general perversion of Samhain in to a commercial holiday aside, suppose we were to agree that it's suitable to dress your children up like fools and take them knocking on the doors of the very strangers you warn them not to talk to. And let's discard the fact it makes you a giant hypocrite. Given that you are going to participate in the commercialization of the dead (zombie keychains for everyone!), you may as well not suck at it. I will teach you how to be awesome.
There are basically two ways to participate in Hallowe'en: You can take your kid out and walk them around the block collecting candy you're just going to steal from them anyway because it's "bad for them," or you can stay home and distribute sugary death to unsuspecting trick-or-treaters. Quick tip: poisoning the candy is not a valid trick, you sick bastard.
If you're going out with your kid, the rules are simple:
- Don't give them a lame costume. They want to be out having fun after their bedtime and then gorge themselves on candy, keeping them up until 2 in the morning and making them vomit all over the new carpet because they're sick after all that sugar, and it's a lot easier to enjoy the whole process if they're dressed up as something awesome while they do it. Giving them one of your beat-to-shit t-shirts and painting them grey does not make them a zombie. It's your kid, don't be fucking lazy.
- Set an example. They're more likely to enjoy being dressed like a moron if you're dressed like one too. You're putting all kinds of supposed effort in to their costume, you should make one for yourself too. Not to target all women, but dressing like a whore and putting on bunny ears does not a rabbit costume make. And people wonder why their kids dress like sluts when they're 12...
- Don't skimp on the trick-or-treating time. They want to be out late, and 8PM doesn't qualify. If you get home before midnight, you've done it wrong. Likewise, if your kid is able to carry the candy without your help, you are a miserable faiure. If nothing else, think of the people who bought the candy; trust me, they want to eat it themselves, and it's your duty to deny them that pleasure.
If you're staying home to hand the candy out, there are two routes you can take, and one is a whole lot more awesome than the other. The first way is to feign interest in the costumes, say shit like "Wow, that's a scary sheet you've draped over your head," and hand out the candy to them like a robot. The ridiculously awesome way is to completely out-do the people who come to your door by being better than them.
Rather than do something lazy like put on a hooded sweatshirt and claim to be a serial killer (they look just like everyone else, you know), spend some time, creativity and money and dress yourself up as something unnaturally scary. The more fake blood you litter your front hall with, the better. Here's what I would do if I felt like participating in this dumb holiday:
Get some manequins, put wigs on them, chop them up and paint them up as severed heads and limbs, and dot them around my yard. You know those pumpkins you're supposed to carve funny faces in and put a candle inside? Do that, but then cut it in half at an angle with a chainsaw, and give both halves a healthy amount of fake blood. Take another carved pumpkin, and just embed an axe in it and leave it outside the front door. Pull all the lights half out of their sockets so they blink randomly, and leave the outside lights on and blinking, the inside lights off except for one randomly blinking bulb overhanging the inside of the front door, and the inside door open with a bloody handprint at kid-eye-level on the screen door.
That's the set up. All that's left now is how I dress myself up. Remember how I said the more fake blood the better? Make a diagonal cut in the front of a shirt, and use a lot of fake blood to make it look like I've been genuinely cut. Cover myself in fake blood and fake scars, especially on the face, and drench an axe in blood to the point where it easily drips. I'd actually keep the axe head-down in a bucket of the stuff, and whenever I need it I'd pull it out so it's always freshly dripping. The floor and walls would be covered in bloody plastic, with more severed manequin limbs inside. When the kids knock on the door, I'd grab the axe, and approach the door like I'm going to break it down to get to them, yelling AH, FRESH MEAT!!!
There is truly nothing more satisfying in this world than making children scatter in near-paralyzing fear. Bonus points for every kid who noticably pisses themselves. The real key to what I've described in this article? CREATIVITY. It's not like the holiday catches you by surprise. If you're going to participate, don't half-ass it; go all out, and make it awesome.
(Yes, I know those are Christmas lights, but that doesn't diminish how awesome they would be for Hallowe'en)