fightin' words

Halloween HAVOC

Make All Hallow's Eve great again


It’s Halloween again–or close enough that you have to start planning—and this week brings us some opportunities to interweave social commentary into our scripted bacchanalia.

Now, I know not everyone in our readership celebrates Halloween—one state representative (Kim Daniels, of course) offered musings on the topic earlier this decade, before she was elected to public office.

Daniels observed that “most of the candy sold during this season has been dedicated and prayed over by witches.”

Moreover, “Curses are sent through the tricks and treats of the innocent whether they get it by going door-to-door or by purchasing it from the local grocery store. The demons cannot tell the difference.”

Indeed. (Of course, this is the same state rep who thought Irma’s flooding was God’s will, a way of sending a message that we have somehow transgressed. But rest assured: It won’t matter next year when she runs for re-election unopposed.)

Giving out candy these days is risky. A kid may have a peanut allergy, rendering Reese’s a dangerous proposition. And even if you sidestep said legume, most kids have aversions to demons.

Thus far, Tallahassee hasn’t offered us a bill to root out/ban/tack a dispensary model on demon-infested candy, but bill slots for most of our delegation have openings, and there’s no time like the present to take a firm stand against sucrose succubi.

However, as a citizen, as a patriot, and as someone who wants to celebrate Halloween the right way, why not consider an alternative?

One option to seriously study: Instead of candy, give out Jack Chick tracts.

In many neighborhoods, kids dash to and fro, hither and yon, and by the time they’re back in the car, they may have a pound of candy. But most of that candy, old Bazooka Joes aside, of course (as well as corporate-brand candy one may or may not have filched from an office event), likely won’t have anything to read.

Reading is fundamental, they say. And while a kid is inhaling candy, wouldn’t a Chick Tract on, say, the perfidy of Halloween be ideal? It’s a ‘choose your own adventure’ one, too; you either repent, or end up like Luckless Timmy, who spent eternity in perdition.

And, folks, you can augment this presentation with appropriate audio files.

One suggestion: If one wants to create cognitive dissonance, put the rosary on repeat. The Eternal Word Television Network probably has the best selection of them on cable, though one suspects YouTube has a bunch, too.

Not into hearing a rosary droning on for three hours? Try backmasked pop songs instead. This method also creates conversation opportunities, when you ask the trick-or-treaters or their ’rents what the “hidden messages” really are in Hootie & the Blowfish’s “I Only Want to Be With You.”

Not for everyone, of course. None of this is.

If suggestions thus far don’t spark with you, why not turn Halloween and its concomitant teeming hordes into an opportunity for performance art?

Let’s say, for example, you’re in one part or another of the city where storm debris piles haven’t been picked up. Use that; turn the natural habitat into part of a Halloween vignette.

If you have standing water (due to tide or whatever), it’s easy enough to take advantage of the elements, and create a “swamp thang” motif that’ll remind onlookers and lookie-loos of horror movies of yore.

Just as some landscapers have embraced xeriscaping (using natural elements in the landscape as part of the yard treatment), it seems fitting that we do the same with what we can call Hallo-scaping.

And if you still have debris piles in your front yard, you’re halfway finished.

While “debris or not debris? That is the question” stands as a tagline I wish to God I’d used in post-Irma coverage, and debris standing and waiting to be picked up creates all kinds of potential public health impacts (rats, mold, et al), debris also creates Hall-o-pportunities.

Imagine how spooky your ghost gimmick will be, say, when you lurk behind a pile of browned branches and yell “BOO!” at church groups and putative locals intent on increasing their sugar score.

Need it spookier still? Many folks, post-Irma, have put bathtubs and furniture sets and other things not remotely yard debris out to be picked up on the city’s dime. Use those elements—there’s nothing scarier than a zombie emerging from a discarded mattress, for example. And if you need tips on how to do zombie, informed sources tell me The 5 & Dime a Theatre Company is doing an “Evil Dead” musical; if you can’t get to that, a City Council meeting’s public comment segment is an appropriate substitute.

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