It’s as if there’s a whole generation of people who have grown up thinking Halloween is real. Or at least something like a real thing for adults. Or maybe a real chance to let something that lives inside of them come out for a day. Or a night. Or a weekend. Something that they don’t let on to throughout the rest of the year, but let sweep over them each October along with millions of others who feel this way. Yes, it seems as though Halloween has become something like Mardi Gras for people who don’t live in New Orleans. A global celebration of – I’m not sure what. I don’t get Halloween. I mean, I did as a kid. I was great at busting ass running through the neighborhood with a pillowcase on October 31st. I always scored big. As I got older, I was bummed I couldn’t do it anymore. There’s an unwritten rule about when children are no longer permitted to ring doorbells on Halloween night. I think the cutoff is facial hair for boys, and breasts for girls. Except, there are more hormones in food these days and so now 3rd graders are sporting stashes better than mine. So I don’t know when the cutoff is. Forget it. Anyway, that’s all Halloween was when I was a kid – getting candy.
Then something happened. The kids who actually enjoyed dressing up, kept doing it. And they banded together to have lavish Halloween parties. And people had fun. So the word spread and then these grown-up kids in other towns who liked dressing up started throwing these grand masquerade-type parties. And then that was that, and the idea caught fire.
If social media is anything – it’s revealing. Yes, there are some people here who are always in character and talk only about business and never about life, but they don’t count. They’re automatons. But for most of the people I follow, these new ways to share are like portals into the psychology of individuals. Or at least it is for me. I like studying people. For example, since Friday night I’ve seen so many people in my Twitter stream post pictures of themselves dressed up in various garb that I’m convinced that I’m in the minority when it comes to thinking about Halloween strictly as a children’s thing. It’s not. It’s a massive business today – and not just for the candy companies. Especially not just for the candy companies. Think adult beverage companies. And costume companies. And land owners of dying strip malls who have tenants for a month or so that turn empty box stores gore palaces where people pay money to soil themselves.
No, I don’t get Halloween like most of you guys do. I don’t dress up – but for a werewolf mask and gloves that I bought a few years ago to wear at my kids’ Halloween party for 7-year-olds. We had a magician too. And a piñata.
So happy Halloween. And please, drive carefully through your neighborhoods tonight. Because whether you realize it or not, Halloween is still mostly about children running around with bags of candy. Or rocks.