Woody needs to make a confession here: I'm not a big Halloween fan. As holidays go, it's always seemed more of a trumped up excuse to saturate kids' blood with sugar than anything else. Oh, sure, the kids look cute 'n' all in their costumes, but here's a hint to you parents out there: the kids stop looking cute in costume after a certain age. In fact, teenagers in costume just look like teenagers in costume. These days there's very little distinction between what teenagers choose to wear on Halloween and what they choose to wear at school, except perhaps the presence of a bit more blood on Halloween. Also, there's just something pathetic about kids who are old enough to shave running up to doors and looking askance at the pitiful offering you drop in their oversized pillowcases.
Now, admittedly, Woody's kids are still young enough to be in the "cute" category. We'll be having "Trunk or Treat" at the church tonight, and they will be dressed up as a colonial girl and an indian princess. Cute. No; very cute. Right off the Cuteness Scale, truth be told. Daddy will walk them around the parking lot after the ward dinner and games, and remind them to say "thank you" after they get their treats, and then look forward to putting his feet up on the recliner afterward and nursing his sore back. That's Halloween.
In fact, as a teenager myself, I was more interested in passing out candy at the door than I was in dressing up and escorting younger siblings around the block. Not that I was shy about sharing in the bounty, you understand. Even at 47 I'm able to consume up to my weight in sugar in a single night, although at this age I'm also more likely to pay certain, um, consequences later on. Probably while I'm trying to sleep later that night, for instance.
Woody's philosophy on costumes is that, after about age 10, costumes are for stage. It always amazes me when people try to dress up for Halloween at the office. Mostly they just embarrass themselves, as when one gent tried to dress up as a sumo wrestler last year. Had a hard time negotiating through cubicleville with his inflatable body suit. Or a former boss of mine who used to dye his beard brown and dress up like a hippy. He was just dating himself more than anything else.
I grew out of the "scary" phase of Halloween years ago. Time was when I could go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood and visit the house where they always turned their garage into a haunted house. They always grossed me out when I stuck my hand into the bowl of pork and beans that was supposed to represent someone's innards. And, of course, these days Halloween is really just an excuse for networks to trot out their entire collections of every horror film ever made and make sure we get to see previews during commercial breaks for the entire month of October. Thanks, guys.
In the meantime, I have had no desire in the last couple of decades to visit anything like the haunted fun-house type venues that spring up during this time of year. Knott's Berry Farm does one that's supposed to get scarier every year. Why? Seems people like to be scared. I'm not one of them.
I guess I just have a low threshold for Halloween. I'm not really sure why, but I'm always glad when it's over. Then I can get on with anticipating all the turkey goodness of Thanksgiving, and the sights and sounds that represent Christmas beyond that.
On the other hand, Halloween has given me one thing to look forward to every year: Dinner-In-a-Pumpkin. That's become a tradition in the Woody household since the Woodyettes were tiny. Maybe I'll post the recipe here later.
After I recover from tonight.