Read at Evermore Nevermore's Halloversary Bash on October 29:
Halloween must hate itself.
On October 31, millions of innocent children dress in brightly colored costumes and are welcomed onto strangers' doorsteps with the promise of candy. Goblins and witches are just harmless mascots, fashioned from yard ornament plastic, and the living dare to wear bedsheets as the skin of ghosts that ironically will never know rest. Families carve happy triangle eyes and toothy grins into pumpkins, illuminating them with candles . . . like birthday cakes. Brimming with the boundless energy of youth, fueled by a stirring of community spirit, Halloween is everything Halloween should hate.
So, of course, Halloween's favorite holiday starts on November 1, at 12:01 a.m., when the last porch light goes out, and the vitality of All Hallow's Eve becomes a shadow of its former self. Now, the specter of celebration haunts discount shelves, staggering though department store aisles like zombies, howling, “Barrrgaainsss! . . . 90% off baarrgainsss!” Under the morning sun, the stench of rotting pumpkin meat fills the streets, and, best of all, children are startled by the empty eyes of the masks they wore the night before. They gasp in horror at the limp, hanging jaws and the seemingly severed rubber maws, that scaly shed skin. Their churning stomachs feel infected by chunky, gooey confections, an aching of their own making from succumbing to temptation.
Today, Halloween drags the whole neighborhood into its fetid tomb, wrapping serene, picket fenced front yards with toilet paper like rotting mummies. Candy wrappers ride the autumn breeze as rising, hollow demons, their old souls eaten, now reminding the good people of Suburbia that this is the hell they mimicked just yesterday, with incantations of happy holidays and a seance of Styrofoam cemetery displays – reminding these helpless victims of the horror that comes with the concept of tomorrow, that all scary movies have a knife-welding maniac waiting around the next corner –
– and in that revelation, Halloween finds satisfaction. As civilization sees the monster it has created, Halloween's ravenous hunger is satiated. For one precious day, Halloween is pleased, and for the other three hundred and sixty-four, it can rest in peace.