Reflections on Halloween Hell

It’s mid-November. Time for me to take down Halloween decorations. And as I do I’m reminded of the nightmare that was the Halloween carnival. It haunts me still. Really, on what other day can parents dress their children up as murderers and whores and think it’s fun? Or moms can dress as shipboard wenches with cleavage prominent and distribute candy to neighborhood kids?

The Halloween fair is a long tradition in our community. Hometown parents participated when they were students. It goes way back. It’s a fundraiser which has lost it’s charm. We should all just write a check for $50 and be spared the ordeal. Lame games, a haunted house of screaming fifth graders, and the death trap of pizza and cotton candy.

Plus, the whole thing takes place on a football field with rented stadium lights. The lights are high up and blinding which means deep, dark shadows. It’s a buffet for the pedophile. Kids and parents dressed up in costumes and masks, kids screaming and running in every direction and lighting suitable for lurking. Who would ever know if a kid was nabbed and carried screaming off to a dark colored van under those glaring stadium lights?

No one. So I brought the boyfriend candidate with me. I have three boys, excellent pedophile bait, and really needed an extra set of eyes. Except my guy, who is 50-something and doesn’t have kids, is completely hypnotized by the event. “Do people really enjoy this?” His first question. My response, “I don’t care, where is my Jedi son who looks like every fourth kid I see?” He decides he’ll look around while wandering to the food court. He returns, sans child, but with pizza and commentary. “This food is crap. Do people really eat like this?” My mild infarction is caused by the missing son, his from the pizza, it’s not looking good.

After the longest hour of my life, we’re done standing in game lines and we’ve got all the kids. We take our tickets to Prize Stand Hell to exchange for goodies. Kids jammed around tables three and four deep frenzied to grab some of the cheapest ick ever made - the 18-inch long pencil! The sponge dinosaurs that expand in water! A single toy soldier! A remote control car connected to the controls by a wire (can you say oxymoron?)! My guy and I stand back for safety. He yells, “Jesus Christ, are they giving away lap dances in there?” He’s a salty guy. I adore him. But never again.


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