Jeff Ward: Put the Beer Down, and Step Away From the Halloween Decorations! (Jeff's 5 Rules for Oct. 31)
What is wrong with you people? Please allow me to suggest five simple rules that will make all of our pumpkin fests more pleasurable.
As my lovely wife and I were enjoying a lovely evening stroll, I caught a bright orange glow out of the corner of my left eye. Turning to face the abomination, I sneered, “Would you look at that! Some overzealous Genevan already has their blanking Christmas lights up! Why, there oughtta be a law ... ”
But before I could finish my inspired rant, my sainted spouse interrupted it with something even more terrifying than Christmas in October. When she said, “Those aren’t Christmas lights, you idiot. Those are Halloween lights,” I almost ran home to hide in the crawlspace.
“Halloween lights!?” I exclaimed. “They can’t be Halloween lights because there’s no such thing as Halloween lights. Why, when I was a carefree young lad in Evanston, no one dared to have Halloween lights. That would have made them the laughingstock of the entire neighborhood.”
But when I went online in hopes of issuing that final and triumphant, “Ha!,” to my utter dismay, I discovered that Halloween lights actually do exist. “Mother of all things holy,” I wailed.
It already takes me months to recover from the psychological damage inflicted by optic-nerve-shattering yuletide displays, and now we have to deal with this crime against humanity? Isn’t it horrifying enough that we give ill-mannered costumed urchins license to infest the neighborhood with their insatiable demands for a sugary tribute?
And even the unplugged variety have gotten completely out of control. While we’ll collectively gasp at any teenage Eminem wannabe with the temerity to flash the top of his boxer shorts, we have no problem exposing 2-year-olds to the most graphic scenes of blood, gore and dismemberment you could imagine.
My family’s lone October decoration consists of that ubiquitous witch who received bad flight instruction. There’s no blood, a lot of humor, and a wonderful Zen-like quality to a nefarious female sorceress who somehow managed to barrel head first into your front lawn.
Here’s something to consider. If after completing your Halloween display, you’re either temporarily blinded or you can’t see a single blade of grass, then you need to dial it down a bit.
Please don’t tell anyone this, but even this cold-hearted curmudgeon can’t help but find some solace in the annual trek of local rugrats in their more imaginative costumes. But that small pleasure is summarily shattered when a pack of tween girls show up in something that truly makes what’s left of your hair stand on end.
And it ain’t scary in the good way, either! As friend and Lisle School Board member Anne Blaeske likes to say, “Girls’ Halloween costumes come in three sizes: baby, toddler and slut.”
Do we really have to sexualize every aspect of teenagers' miserable middle school lives? Can’t we let kids be kids just a little while longer?
Oh! And here’s some advice for you mature ladies considering a Halloween costume. If you don’t have the good sense to avoid the slutty nurse/policewoman/teacher theme altogether, then please try to remember that putting 20 pounds of sausage in a 10 pound casing is never a good idea.
Before you hit the send button, I’m well aware (and thankful) that no one’s asking me to pose in a Speedo, either.
Not that it takes all that much, but when did Halloween become another drinking holiday? I’m not talking about partying in your basement—though that’s getting out of hand, too—I’m talking about parents’ inability to escort their treat-seeking miscreants without a beer in hand.
Last year, I actually considered handing out Bud Lites instead of candy, but then realized I'd have to come up with bail money again.
And just when you think your end-of-October ordeal is over, dressed only as themselves with a pillow case in hand, the 6-foot-6 high school seniors show up at your front door. And if you dare to scowl at them disparagingly and refuse to fork over the goods, odds are, the next morning, your house will look like a giant roll of Charmin or the early stages of a Denver omelet.
This is exactly the kind of thing our “bigger is always better” hyperactively competitive culture loves to do. Take something simple like youth sports, school events or an autumnal celebration and blow it so far out of proportion it becomes unrecognizable.
Halloween was once a modest and fun fall experience for elementary and middle school children. But once adults got their grubby little mitts on it, just like the vampires their children portray, they sucked any remaining vestige of childhood pleasure right out of it.
So! In the spirit of comedian Bill Maher, here are some “new rules” to make Halloween a far more pleasant experience for everyone—and especially me.
(1) Turn off the lights or the party’s over! The only thing more heinous than Christmas lights are lines of little lighted smiling orange pumpkin faces. Stop it! Any violation of this blatant disregard for civilized behavior will result in the perpetrator having to repeatedly watch this video provided by Glen Ellyn Patch Editor Samantha Liss until they beg for mercy.
(2) Step away from the Halloween decorations! I’m unilaterally decreeing a two-figures and two-gravestones-per-household limit. Failure to comply will result in having to explain to your children why your skeletons and monsters have been placed in some rather compromising positions.
Whatever happened to that magnificent Taoist concept of “less is more?”
(3) No inappropriate costumes! Let’s take the “allow” out of Halloween by encouraging our daughters to dress appropriately for their age.
(4) Please leave the beer at home! I understand how difficult upscale suburban subdivision living can be, but why not consider writing a blues classic instead? Even I’m convinced you can make it around the block at least once without an Old Style.
And lastly, (5) If you’re old enough to drive, then you’re too old to beg for free candy! It’s never too early to have a little class. The last thing this planet needs is another hopped-up-on-sugar teenager.
I feel much better now! You may now proceed to enjoy your Halloween!