Multi-published fiction author offers ideas and insights for readers and writers. Drop in for some warm, sometimes even witty observations on life and language and gratitude for the creative life. Please also visit my web site: www.susanaylworth.com. Welcome!
Of all the non-holidays we celebrate, my least favorite is
Halloween. Oh I understand the attraction: dress-up and play-pretend were big
in my childhood repertoire. On Halloween adults can dress up and pretend to be
someone or something they’re not. That’s the beginning of what I dislike: I’ve
known a few adults who pretend to be something they’re not in their daily “real
life.” It isn’t pretty.
Nor are some of the costumes adults wear. Some can be
attractive enough, perhaps too attractive. I live in a college town and I
wonder sometimes—on the rare occasions when I dare to go out on Halloween night—how
some young ladies don’t freeze to death, wandering the streets dressed in
little snips of fabric that would barely tip a scale. The provocative nature of
adult costumes is part of what bothers me. When they’re not dressing in
costumes designed to provoke one interest, adults are often appearing in
another. I detest those that slander good people with look-alike masks or make
light of weighty matters. The fellow dressed as a Klansman makes me downright cranky.
Even worse are the ghouls. While some adult costumes are
clever and draw my smile, others make me turn away in sheer disgust. What’s
appealing about a “zombie” with its eye hanging from the socket? A vampire with
blood dribbling off its chin? A walking corpse with an arm half-missing? If it
were any other day of the year when we saw that level of blood and gore on the
streets, we’d be calling 9-1-1 and starting triage. Why do we put up with it
just because it’s October 31?
Mostly I’m troubled by the kids. From a child’s point of
view, Halloween is fantastic: Get dressed up, then go out wandering the streets doing a
see-and-be-seen among your friends, trying to outdo your buddies with the
cleverness or attractiveness or ghoulishness of your costume. Then go home with
a load of sugar, get pumped on it and spend the next month on a sugar high
while you consume it all. What kid wouldn’t love that?
From the point of view of a mom and gramma, we’re taking
our beautiful, perfect children, dressing them to appear mangled, provocative,
or creepy, and sending them out to beg candy from strangers. This after we’ve
spent 364 days telling them not to accept candy from strangers. Tell me how
this makes sense.
Okay, so I’m growing older and arguably stodgier, but I’m
ready to give up Halloween—just throw it away and pretend it never happened.
Why not? Pretending is what it’s all about.
Susan Aylworth is the author of 13 published novels. Her lucky 13th, EASTWARD TO ZION, is available now. Her recent release, MAGGIE RISING: Adventures of a Part-Time Psychic, has just come out in paperback as well as e-book. Mother to seven, she is "gramma" to 23. She lives in northern California with Roger, her husband of 44 years, and the two spoiled cats they serve. She loves notes from readers. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or @SusanAylworth. You can also follow her on Pinterest and Instagram.