As a writer and consumer of genre fiction, now should be the perfect time of year for me, right? After all, Halloween is just around the corner* [Ed note: Mur was very bad in getting this up, so consider Halloween having just passed us by…] and every sci-fi blog, podcast, and show is extolling the virtues of Halloween.
To me, though, Halloween… just doesn’t matter.
Now, maybe when my daughter is a little older and she starts going door-to-door asking for donations of unhealthy food** while wearing an amusing costume, I might care a little more. I might also care more if more trick-or-treaters came to my door, but I think we get an average of five per year. I’ve taken to putting out a bowl and being done with the matter.
Halloween holds no special place in my heart. Which is weird, because I write some pretty dark, disturbing fiction when the mood strikes. But I don’t care about costumes, decorations, scary movies being more relevant now than in February or June, candy (except Nerds Rope, which is awesome), or parties. I don’t dress up (I might wear a funny wig to work), I don’t gorge myself on sweets, I don’t watch The Ring or listen to a reading of “The Cask of Amontillado”. This year I’ll probably be asleep before the trick-or-treaters even arrive because I have to be at work before 6am the next day.
And it’s not just being old and crotchety. I’ve never crocheted in my life. In college, I didn’t make it a point to go to Halloween parties. When I was a kid, I trick-or-treated, but I wasn’t one of those who kept it up as a teenager. I stopped dressing up at about age 11, and that was that.
I just don’t see the point of making such a big deal out of a holiday that you don’t even get off of work or school. Maybe that makes me weird, or an outcast in the community, but I can’t be the only genre person who doesn’t care that October 31 is supposed to mean candy, costumes, parties, and scary media — I think we were all really sick of ER‘s Halloween episodes after a couple of seasons.
These days, sadly, Halloween exists to sell stuff, and so the media can trot out their “razor blade in the candy” and “check over your kid’s trick-or-treat bag” stories that they’ve been brushing off for the past few decades. Good space fillers. Good ways to sell things people don’t really need to eat. Good for kids (unless their parents object to the holiday, which kind of makes “write your favorite Halloween memory in your writing journal today” assignments pretty hard).
I’m sorry. I don’t get it.
Go and have your fun this Halloween. Enjoy your movies, and your candy, and your parties, and dressing up like Sexy Elmo, or Sexy Avatar Blue Person, or Sexy Chilean Miner’s Wife, or just your average angel or devil. Spend your money, consume your media, enjoy the hell out of it.
I’ll be sleeping.
* Or, at least, it was when I wrote this. I’ve been woefully delinquent lately.
** Come to think of it, most canned food collected in food drives is absurdly high in sodium, which isn’t good for you either.