Monday, November 1, 2010

Boo in review

I don't really like Halloween. I usually admit this quietly, afraid to wake a sleeping baby or tell a child that there's no Santa Claus. So many people seem to get wrapped up in the revelry in a way I rarely do. Once, a few years ago, I got a set of my friends to dress up as the Gashlycrumb Tinies and by all accounts it was a success. I say, not really joking, that I should be exempt from coming up with a costume idea for the next twenty-plus years because I came up with all of those.

The excesses of Halloween veer from the absurdly cutesy (a little dog in fairy wings, gleefully trampling her skirt underfoot) to the creepy (children in Scream masks) to the extra-creepy (adults on the subway wearing hardly any clothes, or clothes best not spoken of). And I just can't deal with the crowds. Even passing through Union Square station underground was enough to ensure that I'd stay far far away from the Halloween parade.

There are, to be sure, a few fun moments. Maybe I was just meant to be an adult all these years, since I had more fun handing out candy (at 826) than I ever did dressing up. Children were big-eyed afraid to come into the store; we coaxed tiny pirates and elephants in so we could give them ring pops. My favorite was the girl who wasn't dressed up for Halloween but gleefully helped us old folks hand out candy, often rushing to the door so quickly that we didn't even get a glimpse of the trick-or-treaters ourselves. It's funny: at both places I went on Halloween night, 826 and Alice's Teacup, dressing up is commonplace, superheroes and winged rabbit-hole-goers every day of the year. In a way this mitigated the (to me, negative) effects of Halloween; Alice's in particular was strangely underpopulated, as its fairies and such left the enchanted realm on the one night of the year their costumes made sense in the wider world.

On the way home I did find one costume that won my heart--a man dressed so perfectly as this fellow that I wanted to applaud. And the spooky strains of Sweeney Todd in the tiny market as I picked up a sandwich made me go home and curl up with my own holiday-appropriate songs. Stars and Jeremy Messersmith and I did not have as raucous an evening as some, I suppose, but I really can't complain.

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