Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween: if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

Not a great start to my promise to make Halloween at my house health! Maybe next year. Ha! This is from my weekly column that appeared in yesterday's Moncton Times & Transcript.

Hump Day
Published Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Appeared on page D8, Moncton Times & Transcript

"Have you seen the ghost of John? Long white bones and the rest all gone! Ooh! Ooh! Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?"

When I was in elementary school, this song would echo through the doors of Sister Lorette Gallant's music class and down the creaky, wood-lined hallways of Aberdeen School. Halloween was a good time for getting kids excited with some fun music that would have us looking forward to her class all day!

Of course, we didn't need much prodding for getting excited about the one night of the year when we were allowed to stuff our faces with sugar. Although I've now sworn off the stuff, I remember looking forward to that sugar rush and rifling through our pillow-cased loot so that I could get to all the good candy first.

I always felt sorry for those poor yellow suckers, though. They always seemed so lonely since they were usually the last things eaten sometime in early November.

It's a little-known fact that this is also National Dentists Buy Expensive Cars Week across North America. Wherever children go door to door, dentists will be cackling with glee and their receptionists getting to work extra early tomorrow in order to deal with all those calls from moms and dads (probably mostly dads).

Never mind the sugar headaches, tummy aches and hyperactive episodes that many kids will have tonight, the sounds of parents' teeth breaking on candy and crowns coming off due to those super-sticky candy kisses will be like a symphony of rocks being thrown against a large picture window. "Bang! Crack!"

To a dentist, Halloween is the sweet sound of a credit or debit card being swiped in their office. Cha-ching!

To cut down on the tooth-rotting amount of sugar that will be handed out throughout the area tonight, I decided that I was going to hand out healthy treats this year. I proudly and sanctimoniously announced that fact on my two blogs, to friends, and to pretty much anyone else who would listen. I was hearing rumours that Al Gore was having his Nobel Peace Prize revoked in favour of me.

I was going to personally put the "healthy" into Halloween.

So I trotted off to one of the local warehouse stores. I knew that I'd probably be able to find a 50-pack of organic seaweed surprise bars or something or other. I imagined the teary-eyed children at home, happily eating the pure, healthy goodness that I'd lovingly tossed in their little plastic pumpkins the night before. It would be something you'd see on the front of a Christmas card -- if it were Christmas, that is.

I decided to bite the bullet and shell out the cash for some bars I'd never heard of before. You know they're good when you've never heard of them, right? Unfortunately, by now, I was even starting to annoy myself.

If I thought for one bloody minute that every kid who came to my house was going to write me a letter of thanks after opening up their Uncle Brian's Organic Clump'o'Goodness bar, then I was surely kidding myself.

What was I going to do? Change the entire branding of Halloween with a few over-priced boxes of bars that I'd never try myself?

If I were lucky, I wouldn't find my house covered from head to toe with bathroom tissue the next day along with warnings scratched on my driveway with chalk: "Don't mess around with Halloween, dude. You've been warned, mister."

Ooh. "Dude" and "mister." These guys mean business.

Of course, the astronomical price of those likely yucky bars didn't do much for my desire to change the world. And let's face it, I didn't have the $2.6 billion in my bank account to pay for the 48 organic watchamacallits in my cart.

So, I reluctantly talked myself out of them and picked up a box of 48 full-sized "regular" bars, certainly enough for the 35 or so kids who will show up at my door tonight.

I do feel guilty. I mean, as a member of society, I shouldn't have caved in to the pressure of cheaper junk food. I should have sprung for the more expensive organic stuff.

But you know what? Having a bunch of ghouls and goblins showing up at your door all happy, then arriving back home later only to mock your personal choice in Halloween candy is something that I would never subject myself to.

As a kid, I remember that there was always a house in the neighbourhood that would give out the worst stuff. It was like they read books on what kids hated, then ran out and bought a truck full of it like some evil Halloween haters extraordinaire. I didn't want to be the subject of an Oprah show about bad neighbours who ruined Halloween for small children in cute costumes.

So yeah . . . like I said, I returned the good stuff back to the shelf and grabbed the bad and threw it in the cart.

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

I'm pretty much on the record for despising Halloween. I think it's barbaric and simply an excuse for brats to cause trouble. But there are the cute ones, though, like the sweet little kids dressed up as Winnie the Pooh who don't have a clue what they're doing. "Say thank you, Megan." "Tenku!" little Megan manages to drool out.

So tonight, if you're one of the lucky kids to come by my house, enjoy your treat and be thankful that I decided not to save the world this year.

Otherwise, you'd be throwing some organic clump of something in the garbage tomorrow morning while your father's on the phone with his dentist trying to pronounce "candy kiss" with no teeth.

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