FIFTY-SEVEN, MARCH 1, 2001
(Copyright © 2001 Al Aronowitz)
A HALLOWEEN STORY
, an online 'zine that features travel stories, short fiction and pop culture analysis. NEPENTHE can be found at http://www.freespeech.org/tumbleweed.]
[Paul McKinnon is a 42-year-old Canadian living in the southwest corner of his country. From 1984 to 1994, he lived in Victoria, Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal, Banff National Park, Tokyo and The Yukon. During that time he also visited the U.S. (Hawaii, Alaska, Seattle, San Francisco, The Grand Canyon, Los Vegas), Mexico and parts of Europe (England, France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Greece, Spain and Portugal).
During that time he worked as a dishwasher, a waiter, a cook, an English teacher, a groundskeeper, a courier, a hotdog salesman, a chauffeur and, of course, a writer.
In 1995 he became a father, cut his hair, and got a real job. He continues to write, and is currently the co-editor of THE NEPENTHE JOURNAL
you survive Halloween?
don't know about you, but I have a thing for Halloween. As a kid it was
obviously one of the more interesting times of the year.
since I was born on the 28th of October I'll always associate it with my
birthday. (For those of you who forgot to send cards and best wishes---too
late! Money Orders, on the other hand, will still be excepted---but hurry!)
few years back I realized something else about Halloween. It was getting
BIGGER. Have you noticed that? Some people simply chalk it up to that force of
the universe that seems to rule so much of our day-to-day living
---Demographics. Your know the drill---Baby boomers have kids then get
nostalgic about their own childhoods and, being the spoiled brats that they
still are, carry Halloween into adulthood.
enough. But I'm pretty sure that there's MORE to it than that.
believe that Halloween has become one of our culture's biggest rituals. And
that it will continue to grow because we NEED it, and we need it bad.
fact, Halloween may be the ONLY real North American ritual in which EVERYONE
Yesterday, for example, I had lunch at an East Indian Restaurant, and they were offering free "treats" to their customers. I took my candy and walked over to Chinatown to buy my fireworks. There was a line-up. Some of the fireworks were
Bank tellers dressed up as criminals; a lady who came over from England didn't know what to make of kids ringing her doorbell and saying, 'Tricker Tree'
in my hometown. Others were made in Taiwan.
the Public Library dozens of Government Workers were having a contest for best
costume. Bank tellers were dressed up like criminals (Insert your own obvious
snide comment here). Some of the street people were wearing funny hats
(ditto). Pumpkins and Skeletons were EVERYWHERE!
was a sense of celebration- and boy oh boy we can use as much of that as we
can get these days.
of the many things I like about Halloween is that it is all-inclusive. Anyone
can join in. It is not exclusive to any one specific religion/ethnic
background/political stripe/gender/age/class/economic background or sense of
taste. It somehow manages to cut through all the borders and barriers we set
up between us. How many things, besides natural disasters and airline crashes,
are able to do that? (OK---we'd have to include music in there somewhere.)
not to say that everyone is "into" Halloween. Take my Landlord...
please. He just doesn't "get" Halloween. So we don't put any
pumpkins on the steps, or leave the porch lights on, or hand out any candy. He
grew up in England, so didn't experience Halloween as a kid. Not that that
should stop him from doing so now, but hey, it's a free country. He just
doesn't know the fun he's missing.
the CBC featured a true Halloween story by woman who came over from England
and didn't know what to make of the strange children on her doorstep asking
her about the "Tricker Tree". One of the kids opened up their bag of
candy and the woman took one! She figured perhaps these kids were members of
the "gangs" she kept hearing about. By the following year, she had
figured it out and was looking forward to giving out treats to the
neighborhood children, only to find that word had got around about what had
happened the previous year, and the kids stayed away.
year was the first year my daughter "got" Halloween. She was four.
And I don't think I've ever seen a more excited human being in my life. At one
point she stood in the middle of the road in her princess costume and declared
in her loudest excited little girl yell:
I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!”
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN FIFTY-SEVEN
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ