The high holy days have begun.
OK, I’m not a pagan, but it’s widely known in gay circles that Halloween is considered one of the most festive times of the year. If you’re gay. And you like to dress up.
Which I don’t.
I’ve never been into the whole costume… thing.
Oh sure, when I was a kid, I relished the idea. I couldn’t wait to put on those plastic-mask deals that looked like Popeye or Superman or some other cartoon character, with the eye holes so small you could barely see out of them and the mouth holes so tiny you nearly suffocated yourself. Fun times!
And when I was a kid, Trick-or-Treating was COOL. It was dark outside and we got to wander out amongst the other kids and freaks. Yeah it was a great time. People would jump out of the dark and scare us shitless and kids would be screaming all over the place. We’d tell scary stories and try to freak each other out.
The search was always on for the house that gave the best candy. Word would spread throughout the neighborhood. Snickers at 1406! Five Twizzlers at 2201! A FULL-SIZE Peanut Butter Cups at 1908! Of course, by the time you got to those houses, all the other kids had been there and they were all out. So it was SweetTarts and Dubble Bubble for the rest of us. Oh swell.
And each year, we couldn’t help but wonder what the creepy old lady three doors down would give us that year. One year she gave us five pennies. (Remember UNICEF boxes?) Yeah those were put to good use… not! Another year it was one tiny Tootsie Roll. Oh wow, thanks, glad you went all out this year, ya creepy old hag.
My favorite Halloween candy were the Smarties that fizzed. I can’t find them anymore, anywhere. I don’t even remember what they were called, but they weren’t Smarties. Oh I liked Smarties too, but the fizzy ones were my favorite. Next were cherry Twizzlers. Not the licorice flavored kind, either, ONLY cherry. And of course, anything chocolate. We’d have half the stuff gobbled up by the time we got home, so our parents couldn’t weed anything out that was “bad for us.” We knew better.
But as the years passed, the paranoia about Halloween set in, and the fun started to disappear. Reports of razor blades in apples started to come out. Then poisoned candies. Then people snatching children during the dark hours. And, of course, car accidents with children in dark clothing.
So the hours changed to daylight hours, parents had candy scanned at hospital X-ray rooms, and the selections dwindled down to a few handfuls of over-sugared junk.
And we got older. Trick-or-Treating just wasn’t fun anymore. If we wanted candy, we could ride our bikes to the store. Why bother putting on a stupid costume and walking around the neighborhood? That’s for little kids.
As a teenager, I had more fun handing out candy to little kids. They would come up to the door, so cute in their tiny costumes. But I felt bad for them, because the excitement of Halloween that I remembered had changed. It used to be fun to run around after dark like a hooligan. Now the sun shone bright and didn’t set until the hours for Trick-or-Treating were over. The adventure had gone out of Halloween. It just wasn’t fun anymore.
Today, as a gay man, I know that Halloween is popular because it gives the boys an excuse to dress up in the most outlandish outfits and try to outdo each other. Bars hold costume contests and give cash prizes. Drag queens flaunt their newest creations, from the beautiful to the sublime. And for those who dare to bare, you can catch some skin if you’re looking at just the right moments.
But I just can’t get into the dressing up thing. I like to consider myself creative-minded, but I just don’t have the energy, time or money to spend on a costume that I might wear only once.
So I go to Halloween parties, but as “The Boy Next Door” or “Your Co-Worker.” Or if there’s a theme, such as Superheros, I might go as “Clark Kent” and don a pair of old glasses. Simplicity is the key. OK so maybe I’m being boring, but hey, it’s my choice.
So Happy Halloween to you all. May your costumes be clever, your candy be razor-free, and your heels stay intact. I’ll be over here, enjoying my Snickers bar and Peanut Butter Cups.