Thursday, November 1, 2012

Children Of The Candy Corn

My daughter has been walking around all morning caring for a small pumpkin.

Why? Because - she tells me - now Halloween is over it's going to die. Which frankly is scary and ominous. Here they are having breakfast -:


And snuggled up on the couch.


And lest you think when she goes to school that I can just put it on the driveway and drive over it with the car (which I thought was a cracking idea to be honest) I've been given strict instructions on what it likes to eat, drink and the games it likes to play.


Children Of The Candy Corn indeed.

On the bright side she is very on board with the notion that Halloween is over. A good example being her annoyance at the morning television. She watches a show on PBS in the morning before school - and usually about 5 minutes of the show before it. Yesterday it proved itself to be run by childless people. They didn't broadcast the Halloween episode of either show. Which my daughter felt was a big let-down. This morning though it's wall-to-wall Halloween. Which my daughter is righteously aware is completely wrong now that Halloween - like her precious pumpkin - is fast dying and worth nothing to anyone of note.

Actually about a week ago I secretly escaped-off to the local grocery store to buy something covered in chocolate that I could pretend had something to do with Halloween. But upon arriving at the store the Halloween aisle was already dismantled and the Christmas stuff was out. Same when I popped down to Lowes last weekend to buy a new rake (my astounding manliness literally caused me to snap the other one in half). I should point out here that if you are reading this from outside the US that Lowes is a massive hardware/DIY/garden center thing. And yes - of course it has a huge Halloween section. Where else could you buy the many 30-foot high inflatable Halloween sculptures that everyone litters their lawns with over here? Actually that's a trick question - you can buy those pretty much everywhere. But they had scrapped Halloween well before the actual day because if you aren't fast enough to buy a $250 45-foot wide Halloween ghost-spider then you don't deserve one. But hey - here's a 25-foot high animatronic snow-globe for $180 on sale!!!

Anyhoo - the point is that like an old man I'm going to make the tired, boring cliched point that they don't even wait for one holiday to finish these days before wheeling out the next one. And as well know the next one is The Flu. I know - you thought I might say Thanksgiving or Christmas. But no I mean The Flu. I did take a photo of the road outside the store but it's rubbish. I'll get another one next time I go by. They've had promotions for products and holidays - none of which come close to the maddening level of BUY PHARMACEUTICALS!!! madness they have for The Flu. There are signs all over the road, stuck to the front of the store and tucked in the weekly ad. It's weird. Mind you it is the only promotion that isn't emblazoned with the Stars and Stripes to suggest that if you don't buy it then you aren't a real American. Mind you Halloween isn't like that so much. Although the guy down the road from our old house did park his pick-up truck that he'd spray painted naked women and the flag on in the middle of his alarmingly graphic Halloween massacre. That's good enough I suppose.

Actually Halloween is one of the great dividers. It really reminds me that I'm clearly not an American. The sheer scale of it is astounding. And the tone is completely different to the UK. The very fact that the whole thing is cutesy and kid-oriented is just a culture shock. Add that a Halloween costume can be a football uniform or something someone boringly wears to work (nurse, construction worker, UPS delivery driver) is strange. I remember a Halloween event at university in Swansea when the American girl in my student house came dressed in a Blackburn Rovers kit. That was it. She found that perfectly normal. That's like saying you've dressed up for Christmas but implausibly you're dressed as a jockey. They're just different clothes than you normally wear. Mind you - again I say this as someone who is from a country that thinks a legitimate Christmas advent calendar can just have a boy-band on it and barely any mention of Christmas at all.

Yesterday though I went to my daughter's school Halloween parade. Which was completely bewildering. I felt enormously foreign in a sea of very American Halloween fanatics. An entire school dressed up for Halloween is really weird for one. Secondly going on a parade - or more accurately walking in a loop down the road and back - is just odd. I was asked by the lady in the office if we did our parade outside when I was a kid. Nope - no parade or anything like this. Because it's weird. I didn't think bringing up Guy Fawkes was a good idea at that point. Pretty Catholic area and all that. Thirdly - it seems the epitome of irony to close a school on Monday due to the possible weather on Wednesday, but then to have an outdoor parade in the rain on that same Wednesday. I struggled with the fact that we just walked down the road in the drizzle then back to the school and called it a parade. But then the idea that the kids also walk around the school gym and that's a parade is even weirder. Just a cultural thing I can't get my head around I'm afraid. It also doesn't help that all I kept thinking when I walked into a building filled with hundreds of people dressed up was, "I am surrounded by serial killers right now."I'll stick to kids burning an effigy of traitorous Catholics thanks. 

Makes much more sense. 




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