Another Halloween come and gone.
This used to be a favorite holiday of mine; but for the second year in a row, instead of handing out candy to the few kids who braved the cold damp wind, I was huddled under a blanket in the TV room with the lights out.
I have been having such a difficult time dealing with people, conflict, meaninglessness, that I just couldn’t bear the thought of waiting and waiting for kids to trek down the cul de sac where most of the houses were dark. Even when they came onto the street, they don’t always even go to all the houses with lights on.
I opened the door one year and called out to a kid that we were giving candy and his reply was that we didn’t have enough decorations for him to make the journey from the curb to our door for free candy.
Seriously, the kid would not take 20 steps to get free candy.
It was disheartening and another half hour before I saw another trick or treater, a young girl, perhaps 10 in some sort of Disney fairy princess outfit.
I smiled at her brightly and said she was my last kid of the night, and I turned over the candy bowl, with 80 some odd chocolates and candies, into her bag – she’d have the best Halloween story the next school day.
But that was three years ago, and I just noticed this morning on our front windows, you can still see the clean areas of the windows where Halloween window clings had been applied. It must have been, because I didn’t decorate this or last year.
Last night, we made sure the front window drapes were pulled and all upstairs lights were off and we watched the middle two of the four Futurama movies while our golden retrievers cried and cuddled, distressed by the fireworks.
I hadn’t realized how distressing the fireworks were for me too – I was actually shaking with distress at the frequent bangs and booms – it sounded like everyone was firing at our house.
It hadn’t occurred to be that I would be distressed, after all it was Halloween, fireworks are expected. But, as someone who’s experiencing general anxiety disorder and panic attacks, it was just an onslaught of scary sounds, one barrage after another, until I was worse off than the dogs who don’t understand holidays and merrymaking.
I have become aware of a sensitivity to sound, especially violent sounds. You can’t tell what all the sounds are fireworks, cars backfiring or gun shots. People hopped up on sugar and the sense of lawlessness that Halloween brings – the impact on a person who already has problems in predicting behaviour of other people, it’s a wonder that I didn’t just take tranquillizers and call it a night by 6:30.
My world has become so small, the sphere of events and people that I can process and cope with, probably hasn’t been this small since I was a baby. As a toddler, I was always wandering off to find elderly people to entertain with a song and dance or a recreation of whatever Grover did that week on Sesame Street. Sesame Street came on the air the year I was born, so we go way back.
The last time I watched, Snuffalupagus was still Big Bird’s secret friend and Mr. Hooper was still alive. Bert and Ernie were still in the closet, as they are now, rumours of their being out have been quashed.
What a nightmare Halloween must be for those of us in the shut-in, agoraphobic and general anxiety community. Wait, can you be a community if it’s a collection of isolationists with trust issues?
Strangers coming to your door to extort threats through trickery, loud noises, costumes – how are you supposed to know what’s really under the mask or make up or what the actual intention of the disguised folk trawling the neighbourhood.
More than that, Halloween is just one of those holidays that is undergoing dramatic changes. People are opting for private or community (ie in the shopping mall) parties rather than door to door. As more single family homes are torn down for higher density buildings, there’s fewer and fewer doors to knock on to get candy.
Considering that in 2010, there were many cases of candy tampering across Canada and the US, I can’t blame parents for not want to risk exposing their children to the random crazies who generate random crazy.
Maybe Halloween should morph into an adult slutty/decadent holiday and separate the kid’s portion to the afternoon and private or open community center/shopping mall parties.
Plus, I think that shopping malls and merchants need to get behind and figure out a way to exploit other holidays of other religions – see what sort of blow up lawn ornaments, light strands and new flavours of cakes, cookie and sweet delights.
Why limit to just exploiting Christian holidays for cash? Surely there’s no end to how many blow up lawn ornaments, light strands, blinking LED figures and garlands…