Halloween Is A-Coming...

...and I know because three months ago they started selling decorations and costumes...

There was a time when Halloween was the be-all/end-all… The excitement slowly grew more and more tangible and we couldn't wait until we could put on our plastic or polyester costumes (guaranteed to melt to your skin instantly in case of fire) with those plastic faces (guaranteed to cut your lip or ear at least once on this hallowed night) held onto our heads with a little elastic band (guaranteed to pop out or break at least once.)

It was a great time to be a kid. There were little plastic Supermen and little plastic Batmen, and little plastic Star Wars characters, and little plastic KISS band members, all wandering down the street with their little paper grocery sacks or plastic pumpkins, in blissful search of sugar.

Back then, the costumes sucked. If you had a Superman costume, it would have a picture of Superman in some furious action pose on the chest, and not just the Superman symbol. Back then, they hadn't figured out that kids wanted to look like the characters, and not like walking advertisements for the characters…

Still, we knew our place in the world. We knew that, as a little plastic superhero, we were entitled to walk up to any house with a porchlight on and ritualistically beg for candy. And the ritual was important. We would actually say the words, "Trick or treat." And we almost meant it. We very nearly meant that, should these kind homeowners advertising their possession of candy by the ritual porchlight not hand over sugar upon our ritual request, we would perform some dire act of ritual retribution such as GASP! soaping their windows, or SHOCK! toilet papering their trees…

Of course we knew that these tricks were only for the kids who deemed themselves to cool or too old to trick-or-treat. We were just there to get the candy.

Now, years later, after urban myth needle-in-the-candy scares, x-raying candy bags at local Fire Departments, and the transition of Halloween from being a fun family night to Satan's Subversive Recruitment Evening, the costumes are finally cool.

And I get to see some of them, too, on the kids who aren't forced to ignore Halloween altogether, or on the kids who aren't forced to "trick-or-treat" at the mall, or go to a church-sponsored Fall Costume Party (not officially affiliated with Halloween or Satanic Recruitment…) But mostly I see pre-teen girls dressed like Britney Spears (next year they'll go as 'Unwed Teenaged Mothers') or kids in black street clothes with black and white clown makeup who swear they're ICP. Kids who don't even have the decency to say, "Trick Or Treat." One kid came as a "teenager." That's right—he wasn't wearing a costume at all. I told him my costume was "child abuser" and to get the hell off my porch. Then I told him that, thanks to his lack of effort, I knew his face, and that if anything happened to my yard, house, or cars, I'd find him and hold him personally responsible.

I wanna go back to those halcyon days of facial papercuts and crappy costumes, back to when Halloween didn't blow...