21 October 2009

Where's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown???

I love Halloween. It's the time of year when I get all giddy inside, because I get to play dress-up and decorate the outside of my house, trying to make it look a little spooky. I adore the ghost story, things-that-go-bump-in-the-night aspect of it all. It's FUN. Usually I pull everything out around Sept. 30, to get it up on or around Oct. 1.

But this year, I was late. My cousin's wedding, plus my freelance work, plus my son's football season all conspired against me to keep me from putting up my stuff. When I finally got around to it, around ten days into the month, I looked it over and said, "I need new stuff." Hubby agreed. So my son and I jumped into the car and off we went.

Yeah. The first store we went to was slim pickin's for anything but costumes. But the CHRISTMAS stuff was in plentiful supply. Now, I know that stores don't like to order lots of seasonal stuff because what they don't sell they have to store. But first of all, WHY is the Halloween stuff out on the day after school opens in early September? And WHY do people rush around like mad, buying it all up then, so that at a reasonable time of year, there's nothing left? It was OCTOBER 11.

That's my first rant. I can't stand that retailers force us into thinking about holidays months in advance, especially Christmas. It's not just holidays, but clothing as well. Don't even get me started about how I see bathing suits for sale in Target...in JANUARY, but I can't find a pair of gloves or a warm hat.

But here's my second rant, and this one is really the issue. I finally went with my son to the local Halloween store to see what we could find. Beyond the high prices ($30 for a styrofoam tombstone? Really? It was nice, but still. One good wind, and bye bye thirty bucks.) was the content. Everything, and I mean every last thing, was blood and gore. Disemboweled victims, with rats nibbling their intestines, zombies with their eyeballs hanging on their cheeks, decapitated heads. In other words, really, really gross.

When did Halloween go from being a kids' holiday (I mean American Halloween, leaving aside Samhain for a moment) about being frightened and having fun to the competition for the most disgusting display we can find? How did we get from The Great Pumpkin to Saw VI??? I love scary movies as much as the next person - I will gladly watch The Blair Witch Project, Halloween, and Scream when they come on TV this year. What I like about them is the fact that you never really SEE the bad stuff. It's all left to your imagination. Like with decorations - creepy spiderwebs and flaming pumpkins and motion-activated ghosts give you the feeling of being frightened. What you imagine is supposed to be scarier than what's there. You don't have to actually SEE it, and that's what makes it scary. Not this gross-out fest that seems to have overtaken the industry.

Eventually I found some nice things, on the single shelf left at Lowe's that had Halloween decorations, including two adorable gargoyles. Next year I'll remember to get started earlier.

Meantime...bring on Christmas. Sigh.
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