Yesterday was a weird one. I was this roiling mixture of depression, anxiety, awkwardness, fear, hope, annoyance…hell, I’m running out of descriptors. Part of the reason for this was that it was the Friday nearest Halloween, which means celebratory shenanigans at the office. As a rough estimate, I’d say about 30% of people dress in costume. But in the part of the building I’m in, the percentage has to be encroaching 80. It’s annoying and awkward for me, because the exhibitionists and attention-seekers descend on each office one-by-one, seeking oohs and ahhs. And some of them get particularly and vociferously miffed with those of us who don’t participate.
My reader is filled with Halloween-lovers, and I’m glad to see so many of you happily enjoying yourselves. I mean that with no sarcasm or malice. But I just can’t get into it. And I don’t get the fervor (of course, I don’t get the fervor surrounding most fervor-inducing things). I have various reasons for skipping out.
Hypocrisy at the Office: Most of those people are not my friends. Hell, I don’t have any full on friends there, but most of them aren’t anything more than “hello good morning how are you happy Friday” kind of coworkers. We have nothing in common and don’t associate with each other aside from those times we pass in the halls or at the water cooler. So why would I want to party down with them (even at a work version of a party) and pretend we’re best buds simply because it’s a certain day in October? You put on a costume, and you suddenly remember my name? You’re dressed in a cutesy outfit and wanna show off, so I’m supposed to pose with you for office photos and stand around listening to your plans for costume parties and grown-up trick-or-treating? I just heard you talking about me yesterday. You didn’t know that, did you? Fuck you and the broom you flew in on. (Bitter much? Nah………) I’m not one of those people who rains on everyone’s parade. I was smiley and told the ones who really did have badass costumes how awesome they looked. I played along with the two guys who kept trying to scare me all day. That kinda thing is fun. But the aforementioned issues drive me batshit.
Weird Childhood Associations: Growing up, Halloween wasn’t celebrated. I remember dressing and trick-or-treating twice. The first costume involved a giant black garbage bag and my mother’s slippers. The second one was a borrowed uniform. And one year being dragged to a church to bob for apples and watch people dressed as mummies and vampires talking about how evil and devil-worshippy Halloween is. And those religious tracts that showed kids doing nothing more than trick-or-treating, and next thing you know somebody’s giving the devil a blowie. It was fucking weird, even to me as a child. And it left a bad taste in my mouth for Halloween, with or without church involvement. Not only that, but because of little exposure, dressing in costume is so far outside my comfort zone that it will never come close to something I could do. I don’t think. Mostly because of the attention it would garner…fuck that noise.
Lame-Ass Costumes: I will say I do find the history fascinating. And I wish parents let their kids dress as uber scary shit like they’re supposed to. Instead of ten zillion princesses and spidermen roaming the street, hustling people for candy and hating on those that turn their lights out. If I’m lazy for shutting my lights off, you’re lazy for copping out on the costume!
It’s NOT a Law. And if it were, I’d break it like Judas Priest: You know what pisses me off? People calling out those of us who don’t participate. Why should you give a shit? Seriously? There are assloads of options to satisfy your trick-or-treating itch. I don’t begrudge your right to participate in a national pastime. Why do you begrudge my own freedom? I don’t not buy candy because I’m cheap – that shit is fucking expensive. Unwillingness to go broke to supply candy to the literal van-loads of kids hauled through here every year is not the same thing as being cheap. I can’t justify the expense right now. But..I shouldn’t even have to explain this. I don’t owe it to anyone to participate. And I’m not traumatizing your kids by sitting it out. That argument really sticks in my craw.
Like I can handle OPENING A DOOR: Furthermore, my anxiety has gotten to the point where I can’t handle opening the door to strangers all night. The very idea puts me in a tailspin…I can’t even seem to open the door when my neighbor knocks. I actually hide. True story, bro. So I’ll let you do Halloween your way. You let me do it mine….which is to shut out all the lights and hide in my bedroom all night, nervous and worrying over the noise from the crowded street outside. Hell, it’s only 3:15 in the afternoon, and I’m already getting nervous. I do love the extremely discounted candy that I plan on hitting up at the store tomorrow!
That One Time, at Band Camp: I did used to buy heaps of candy, but no one ever came by in the neighborhoods I lived in at the time. And that one year when I dumped an entire bucket of candy into a little girl’s bag was the last time I did it. It was nearly 9:00 PM, and I had given up. When the knock came, I was startled and so pleased. She was so cute, just a little witch. And her single father had just gotten off work and was scrambling to keep his promise to take her trick-or-treating. So I gave her everything I had. I think it kinda weirded him out…but she was ecstatic. That was also the last time he let me spend money on candy. I didn’t argue. I just cried and obeyed. Anyway, I’ll confess that was at a happier time in my life, and I am far more isolated and depressed now. So I’m sure that has something to do with my aversion to things like this…people happily gathering together, sharing time and stories. It’s hard for a depressed and lonely person to deal with. So I try to shut it out as best I can.
Happy Halloween to those of you who are loving it and having fun. And peace and solidarity to those of us who will have a weird and anxious night. No judgment. Just candy. Damn, I can’t have any ’til tomorrow. When that shit is cheap. My dentist should love that.