For many, October is a time to celebrate autumn: the changing of the leaves, the crisp air, the gradual transition from hot summer days to cold winter nights.
For others, it’s a time to dust off their goblins and skeletons and bring out the fake fangs and eyeballs.
I have long marveled at this country’s obsession with Halloween.
I don’t know why, but we obsess over all holidays, large or small.
Brought to the United States by the Irish during the Irish famine, Halloween was originally a Celtic observance called Samhain.
It was believed that once a year, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead would thin.
The dead would then cross over and look for souls to collect. The living would dress up to disguise themselves, so they wouldn’t be discovered by their dead counterparts.
Thus was born the annual American tradition of dressing up in weird and bizarre–not to mention insanely expensive–costumes.
Oh, but Halloween costumes are cute on kids.
My personal favorite–a baby in a pea pod.
But when adults start spending the equivalent of a week’s worth of groceries on a single costume, it’s time to start worrying if we’re taking this holiday too seriously.
A clown jumpsuit for $49.95?
A gorilla suit for $89.95?
But you can’t show up at a Halloween party with such measly costumes.
Try a Stars and Stripes Lady Liberty for $199.95, or the ultimate, deluxe Uncle Sam for a whopping $249.95. Hey, it’s all at anniescostumes.com.
And if you think that no one buys these costumes, think again.
The site is up and running, complete with a link for pet costumes.
And that’s just the costumes.
For some reason, after people decorate themselves, they find it necessary and proper to punish their houses and impart on them the same ridiculous ornamentation.
Adults actually take the time to spread cobwebs on their shrubs and hang plastic skeletons from their windows.
It’s like putting bumper stickers on a new car.
Don’t do it.
The concept of Halloween and its images–death, horror, fear and darkness–are hardly a laughing matter.
When people start decorating their front lawns with tombstones and their trees with ghosts, you start to wonder where we draw the line.
What is so appealing about a cemetery in your own front yard?
Doesn’t an issue as serious and as mysterious and as frightening as death deserve a little more respect?
The candy is the only good thing that comes out of this holiday.
But that’s not enough compensation for all the time, money and effort wasted in preparation for Oct. 31.
That’s millions of dollars, minutes and brain cells better spent elsewhere.
The concept of Halloween is disturbing, but the amount of money and effort put into the occasion is what’s truly scary.