Tag Archives: traditions

Why Halloween Is Just Really Weird

It’s just about Halloween, that time of year when tricks and treats and spooks and scares dominate stores and social media. It’s a fun fall tradition—mostly if you’re a kid, of course—but have you ever really thought about how weird most of this stuff is?

Of course you haven’t, so I’m here to do it for you.

hauntedhouse

Haunted Houses

Let’s start here because the fact of the matter is that people are paying a minimum of $20 to wander through a darkened establishment in which aspiring actors dressed as creepy clowns and ghouls jump out and attempt to scare them. Any other time of year this would most likely result in attempted assault/harassment charges and a stint in a much scarier house—the big house.

But in October? Fun! Let’s pay strangers to freak us out! I don’t need to do that. You know what scares me in equal measure for no cost at all? The psychotic level of excitement parents have in eating their kids’ Halloween candy, Facebook notifications that I’m tagged in a picture, sneezing while driving, or losing the Internet for more than five minutes.

In other words, if I want candy, costumes and creepiness, I can go to WalMart and wander among the shoppers any day of the week.

Apple Bobbing

Let’s fill a giant basin with water, throw in fruit, tie peoples’ hands behind their backs, and shove their face into the water in an attempt to force them to grab the apples with only their teeth.

In other words, it’s waterboarding for fruit. Let’s move on.

Decorating

I covered Halloween décor last year, but in October those cobwebs in your house normally considered something to be removed are now festive and fun. And while hanging a skeleton or ghost from a tree in August would put you on the Neighborhood Watch list, it’s now a sign that you’re a house that probably passes out candy come Oct. 31 instead of turning off the light and hiding behind the couch to ignore the doorbell (hypothetically speaking.)

That’s right. You can dress up as a sexy nurse and hand out candy to children and not wind up on “To Catch a Predator.” Just put a wreath on your door and leave your porch light on for the little beggars.

Corn Mazes

My internal GPS is MIA and I get lost in a walk-in closet. In other words, the idea of wandering through a maze of maize with strangers bumping into me while we all try and find our way out before desperately gnawing on a corn cob in desperation for our survival isn’t at the top of my list. I’ve done it before, and the only way I’ll pay money to do it again is if at the end I’m awarded with an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet and luxury spa.

Pumpkin Carving

The fact that they sell pre-cut apples and butternut squash, pre-hardboiled eggs, and “Uncrustables” at the store proves that people have become ridiculously lazy when it comes to prepping food.

However, when it comes to Halloween, people round up the troops and often trek through pumpkin patches—pumpkin spice latte in hand— to pick out a giant fruit they will festively disembowel over the span of several hours, bent scooping spoons, and broken carving knives.

They will then shove a candle inside and leave it neglected on the porch until it looks like a toothless meth addict before throwing it behind the fence for the squirrels to enjoy.

But with all that said, tradition is important and Halloween kicks of the holiday season—for better or worse with that whole statement—and gets you prepared to fist a bird carcass for Thanksgiving and hang old socks on the fireplace for Christmas (or whatever it is that you celebrate.)

For now, Happy Haunting!

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Low-fat Lent

Close your eyes for a minute and…wait, no.

Pretend to close your eyes for a minute and think about the holidays throughout the year—Christmas, Easter, Lent, St. Patrick’s Day, etc.—and what you associate with them.

Now pretend to close your eyes and—I can’t believe I’m about to say this—take out the food. What do you associate with them? Does it change the holiday for you at all?

Let’s get this out of the way and say that I’m a fan of food, albeit of the vegetarian variety, a phenomenon that my Polish kielbasa-loving family has yet to comprehend. Holidays and food are forever linked together for good reason. Food is a wonderful way to bring people together, to keep traditions alive and to share in the bounty of the land blah, blah, blah. I’m all for tradition and food.

Disclaimer done. 

Looking past the paczki, this ramble stems from the fact that quite a few people use food in connection with faith in odd ways.

Let’s take a look at Lent.

I’m not religious, but from what I learned in years of catechism, Lent isn’t about picking up diet habits that were left by the wayside (three weeks after New Year’s resolutions were made) so you can look a bit better for Spring Break.

lent_card

All around me people who haven’t been to church in months claim to be giving up sugary drinks, dessert, foods that come from restaurants with arches, etc. in the name of the lord.

Call me crazy—it’s been done—but I think religion would prefer you indulge in a daily Frappuccino rather than push someone out of your way as you rush to get the new $500 iPhone (whatever number they’re on now) or “forget” to volunteer an hour of your time once a month.

I know chocolate Easter eggs and helping old people cross the street aren’t mutually exclusive, but isn’t the point of Lent—and the spirit of most religious holidays—more about a pledge to help other people rather than a pledge to avoid certain foods?

If it’s really about self-examination, devotion and focusing less on yourself and more on others, will not eating cookies for 40 days help with these goals?

So just for a minute, remove the food and render it a non-factor for Lent or the like.

Would it change an attitude, an action, the spirit of the season?

Would people be posting Facebook updates about how they’re going to do one nice thing for someone every day instead of how they’re on day three of no donuts? Would they be as excited about giving something as they would be about taking a “bad” food away?

If you want to give something up, I completely understand and respect all those traditions. It’s not about that, as I hope I made clear, but rather about the motivation behind the actions. If I didn’t make that clear and you’re ticked, perhaps for Lent you should give up being oversensitive and lighten up—and I don’t mean give up donuts.

Just some food for thought.