(On the advent of Halloween.)

Posted by Job O Brother, October 24, 2011 02:16pm | Post a Comment

Worst... lollipops... ever.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! It’s almost time for Halloween! And you know what that means? Stressing out about costumes, making the Sophie’s Choice over which parties to attend (basically an exercise in letting your friends know who you like most) and experiencing undue suspicion of apples. (Is an apple stuck with hidden pins healthier if it’s organic? And do child-killers have a preference between Braeburns or a Cox’s Orange Pippin?)

Halloween: the scary holiday. You know what’s scary? How my body can turn two, tiny Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups into a week’s worth of adult acne.

If it sounds like I’m anti-Halloween, know that I’m not. It’s just that, unlike Walrus Day, this holiday bears with it certain responsibilities, just like all the other more pious celebrations. Granted, one usually isn’t pressured to hang out with family members on Halloween (I actually like my family, but a lot of people have to settle for loving theirs), and no-one’s expected to cook lavish feasts (unless you count opening a fun-size Snickers “cooking”), but you are expected to have a lot of fun. This presents someone like me with real challenges.

Fun? That’s that thing you do with people you like, right? Explain to me the rules again, please.


I do love the trappings of Halloween. I like scary movies…


…and I love organ music and horror sound effects. I even love children dressed in costumes, though it makes me uneasy when I see adults dressed up at their workplace. Something about a bank teller in witch’s garb depresses me, and the Starbucks barista trying to up-sell me an over-priced, stale “mini-muffin” with my coffee isn’t any cuter because they’re dressed like a giant tampon. 

“Oh, you’re a mummy? My bad.”

I go through the same panic every year. I don’t want to settle for some generic costume, but can't get it together to assemble something awesome. Typically I end up staying home, watching a horror film, and upping my chances of getting diabetes.

People are fans of telling me not to worry so much about the costume.

“Just go as a cowboy, or a pirate,” are frequent suggestions. That’s great advice if I was four, but I’m at an age where I should be more crafty.

Please don’t tell me to go as something based on a movie that came out recently. I hated everything I watched on the silver screen in 2011 – the last thing I want is a sequel in every mirror.

The other danger is being too conceptual. One year I had no costume, so I piled every article of clothing I owned on my person and claimed I was “a thrift store”. [Cue polite chuckles from fellow party-goers.] Costumes that require an explanation are awkward for everyone, no matter how witty the explanation is. You’ve got a Cyclops eye, a watch stuck at 5:30 PM, surgical tools, a grey fedora and you’re telling friends you’re “a segment of the Linati schema for James Joyce’s Ulysses”. Ugh… Quick making everyone work so hard! This is a costume party, not a book club.

And, in anticipation of what I’m sure will be in abundance, I’ve decided to automatically hate any costume that stems from the phenomena of Occupy Wall Street. On the flipside, I’m officially okay with Princess Di costumes now. Color me fickle.

I still don’t know what this year’s Halloween will bring. One thing I can count on: my love of spooky music will actually be appropriate for the jukebox. Here’s some songs that would get my Valentine, if only that were permissible this time of year…


? One of the greatest horror film directors of all time: Dario Argento
? Atmospheric, melancholic brilliance from the enigmatic Scott Walker
? If you want your Halloween with a little edge, try some Polly Jean Harvey
? Nico, the perfect mood music for the damning of your soul
? Korla Pandit is make-out music for haunted houses. So good.
? Plus much, much, so much more available at any one of our three retail stores.

Relevant Tags

Halloween (85), Holidays (95), Horror (213), Disney (36), Dario Argento (8), Apples (1), James Joyce (2), Occupy Wall Street (4), Alessandro Moreschi (1), Castrato (2), Scott Walker (17), Pj Harvey (17), Nico (5), Korla Pandit (6)