They say that ignorance is bliss, although some of the most ignorant people out there seem to be pissed off all the time. Still, there’s something to it. There are all sorts of things I remember enjoying more when I didn’t know as much. And not just pâté de foie gras.
So while I generally approve of the effort involved, now it just looks like more consumption, with all that entails. It’s a lot of oil. It’s plastic. It’s fun, and it’s trash. Turns out the polyester cobwebs even snare birds. I would never scold anyone for it, but I wouldn’t buy it either. Thirty years ago, if I’d seen a Tyrannosaurus skeleton, I might have wanted one, but I think twice about every such thing now. The kids’ costumes are troublesome too. Lots of plastic masks. Glitter: microplastic. The coolest costumes I ever see are all homemade and have a lot of thought in them. Couple years ago we saw the most compelling pint-sized girl in a voluminous long white dress and prim collar, her hair bundled into a bun, carrying a small white book and a candle. I had to ask.
Well, one of the over-decorated yards in our neighborhood is at a house that gives me shivers all the rest of the year too. It’s not haunted. It’s just not nice. The people who live there make a point of turning away as you approach, when everyone else smiles or pauses to chat. Their lawn is an unholy green in August with the tell-tale brown patches that betray there is no healthy life therein and the only thing propping it up is frequent infusions from Chem-Lawn. Their dogs are out in a kennel. And the Halloween decorations that aren’t completely plastic require power to inflate.
I mentioned the dogs to their next-door neighbor once and she told me she finally went over there one night around 11pm, in her pajamas, when their dogs had been barking non-stop. She knocked at the door, and the lady of the house appeared in the window, jutted out her lower lip and bobbled it with her finger–the poor-baby mime–and withdrew. Really? Holy shit.
Yeah, I prefer when people use taste and imagination (which is admittedly in short supply these days) when decorating for holidays or coming up with costumes.
When I was little, my mom used to create whatever costume I wanted (she was a great seamstress.) I've been a gypsy, rabbit, hula girl, harlequin, angel, princess, and a ballerina. The costumes were all well thought out and fit me perfectly. (I used them later to play "dress-up."
As a young adult, I would dress up with my friends — usually a theme. When Interview with the Vampire was popular, we all dressed as characters from the book. My very last Halloween in costume, Paul and I were Patsy and Edina from AbFab. But the bars started getting crazy during Halloween, so we stopped. My friends and I all got our costumes via thrift shops. The hunt was sometimes more fun than the actual bar-hopping.
The last one I did was decades ago. I went as Portland Mayor Bud Clark (in trenchcoat and nude-color onesie).
Hmm.. in Frankenstein's time, the local villagers gathered pitchforks & torches to draw the monsters out, which sounds about right for your neighbors! Anyway, I enjoyed your comparison of yesterday's Halloweens to today Murr. I'm not that old (just turned 60 on Halloween) but I miss the days when houses just had a choppy, glowing pumpkin on their front porch. All this other dreck is for the birds… I mean bats.
Even the contemporary DIY Halloween stuff (heck, any holiday stuff) is likely to be rely mostly on more microplastic, made-in-China crapola than real, true made-it-from-what's-on-hand.
I'm sure it was more than one Halloween I went as a hobo. Stick, bandana, metal cup hanging from my belt. I guess we didn't have much what's-on-hand.
The very last Trick or Treater we ever had, somewhere around 1998 I guess, must have been in high school. He drove up the driveway, parked, put a mask over his face, came to the front door and said the required words. We handed over the Kit Kats and he got back in his car and drove away, never to return. At least, I don't think it was the same guy who 6 months later got sneaked into a downstairs bedroom where he impregnated our teenager. Different guy, I think. Different tricks. Different treats. Also, escaped on foot, as I recall.
You know how to tell a story, ma'am.
"Stick 'em up"?
Arugula is a great idea. I would add kale as an additional dig. Back when toilet paper was more plentiful it could have been another way to mess with them. Alas, those days are gone.
Yeah, these days TP'ing a house or putting coal in a stocking is kind of doing people a favor.
I too highly resent the vehicle-in-nature car ads. I would encourage the men and women in Glasgow at the moment to think up penalties for that sort of thing – maybe a class of treasonous activities? And I remember when Hallowe'en wasn't a decorating and dress-up competition. This year we even had an inflated dinosaur. Don't know how the little human inside got down the front steps. I thought for a minute he/she was going to have to just bounce down.
I feel more thst way about Christmas. Killing trees in the "spirit of the season"? Bah, humbug.
I do like twinkle lights though.
Well, heck, I go easy on my judgement of Christmas. After all, a real tree is organic and can be recycled somehow. And the plastic trees? Well, they'll never end up in the ocean because people hold on to them and use them for about 50 years. And also, I'm a sucker for twinkle lights as well….
Thank you! I’m grateful to know I’m not alone in my dislike of “processed” Halloween decor. I admire creativity and I appreciate clever uses of make-up, duct tape, hot glue, paint, and old clothes. And I’m very fond of All Hallows Eve, Day of the Dead, and Samhain traditions that mark the Fall equinox. But the big box lawn decorations, at any season, give me the bah humbugs. This year, I scared myself by unearthing some old Flannery O’Connor short stories. Very effective!
Ooo, my friend lent me her big fat Flannery book and I've only gotten halfway through. Hmm.
I think the commercial halloween decorations aren't so bad IF they are stored and reused for years and years. It's the ones that get tossed out each year and replaced with new that are worse.
I think most of these get reused, but they'll still end up in the ocean eventually (Ed!)
Well, in my own defense I will say that I have never disposed of an artificial tree in the ocean. (Does that get me out of the doghouse?)
Don't they get put into recycling bins or taken to plastic recycling centres?
No, River, they don't. Not all plastic is actually recyclable. You know how they have the numbers in the triangle on plastic stuff? It tells you what kind of plastic it is. They go all the way up to 7, but we only are actually capable of recycling 1 to 3. And even then, odd sizes of stuff will clog up the machinery, so out to the landfill it goes.
(I know all this because Paul takes our recycling to the local recycling center in his truck. They give you a list.)
I am thinking also of much greater units of time. I think everything gets everywhere else eventually. Rumpled up in mountains and slabbed under the ocean.
I think that most people think that because it HAS a number on it that it's recyclable. (Paul did.) But it is just that if it's plastic, they HAVE to identify what it's made of. Just in case it is someday recyclable. And even if it IS recyclable, it has to be washed out thoroughly, otherwise it contaminates the other plastics. So the eczema lotion that works so well for me, but comes in a pump bottle that you cannot open? Nup. Have to just chuck that. The olive oil bottle that you can't possibly clean out thoroughly. Yeah. No. It's disheartening how many things that COULD be recycled that CAN'T simply because they can't be cleaned out properly.
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