Regular readers might know me as a generally cranky person, not likely to give out candy freely at any time of year. Today, I will not prove you wrong.
The percentage of adults that enjoy Halloween is roughly equivalent to that of co-workers who enjoy staff meetings; there’s the one eager person who likes to hear himself talk and then there’s everyone else, who show up to take a break from playing Candy Crush and to be on hand in case anyone snaps and tells Mr. Talky-Pants to shut up.
Granted, Halloween is widely loved by most children. Small children are awed that, for the mere effort of putting on a cape and mumbling “trick or treat,” candy will rain down upon them like manna from heaven.
Candy is not such a thrill for older kids, but Halloween is still a welcome break from the monotony of high school. If appearing in the cafeteria dressed as a zombie isn’t your cup of tea, there’s always the chance that, as with staff meetings, someone else will say or do something outrageous that you can talk about later.
So, Halloween does have its virtues.
My friend Jill likes going to the parties and seeing which grown woman is dressed like Tinkerbell, and which guy is getting a little too serious about his sexy librarian costume. There are so few publicly endorsed opportunities to channel one’s secret identity.
The jack o’ lanterns can be awesome too. Who could fail to be impressed by a lifelike Steve Jobs carved into a pumpkin?
Still, every time I see two triangle eyes and a circle nose, the environmentalist in me mourns the dozens of pumpkin pies that never had a chance to be born.
But for many adults — and I speak for myself, my alter ego, and my secret identity —Halloween is just the drunk uncle of the holiday family, smacking its backside at its earnest kid sister, Thanksgiving, and thumbing its nose at everybody’s favourite child, Christmas.
There are as many reasons to dislike Halloween as there are plastic lawn ornaments in Wal-Mart — the obesity epidemic, the preschool princess obsession, the door-to-door begging. But those are all garden-variety complaints that dissolve once your children turn nine or 10 years old.
Halloween’s real problem is that it’s a holiday that appeals solely to extroverts. Resolute extroverts.
If you’re even on the border of introversion, the extra effort required by Halloween puts you solidly over the line into gee-I-feel-a sore-throat-coming-on-let’s-see-what’s-on-Netflix territory.
Do introverts like to drink too much and act silly? Absolutely. Do they want to do it while dressed like a French maid? No. Do they want to get off the sofa 30 times in one night to open the door and tell someone else’s kid how cute they look? No. Do they want to be the only person at their office meeting dressed in a full clown costume while everyone else is wearing corporate grey (not that I’m speaking from personal experience)?
Halloween parties become a self-perpetuating myth. Because they attract extroverts behaving outrageously, they become legendary shindigs that people talk about for years.
The poor introverts then think they’d better not miss out on the party of the year and delude themselves into thinking it would be a grand idea to dress like a minor character from a Shakespearean play and spend their entire evening trying to explain why they’re carrying a coconut and an empty bottle around.
So here is my call for inaction to the introverts of the world: Let those outgoing vampire-lovers have their fun. On October 31, you sit down with your door locked, lights off, and a bowl full of mini Coffee Crisps.
Ridding the world of Honey Boo Boo costumes is a responsibility we must all share, but we don’t have to do it together.