Thursday, November 7, 2013

Creepmas is coming (it’s already here!)

We’re a week out from Halloween, so I may as well give a postmortem, huh? The trick-or-treating went well enough; I’m always slightly concerned that some of the houses in my buddy’s neighborhood which go all-out with at least PG-13 levels of frights for the kiddies will be nightmare fuel for my children, but they seem to take it in stride. We went out and about with a group of five dads and seven kids, my little guy and little girl (baby was back at home base with his mom) by far the youngest of the bunch. The little girl was quickly adopted by two of the older girls, who took immeasurable delight in holding the little girl’s hands, one on each side, and gently guiding her from door to door. I’m pretty sure my daughter had close to zero idea what was going on in terms of the whole costumes and candy ritual, but she loved the attention from the bigger kids. The non-hand-holding older children spent most of their time running ahead to the next house and then waiting for the little ones to catch up and the dads to bring up the rear. This left my little guy in a position where no one was really hanging out with him, but if that bothered him in the slightest he did not let on. He was dressed as Buzz Lightyear, he was suitably impressed with the spooky ambiance of the decked-out neighborhood by night, and he was perfectly content ascending and descending driveway after driveway on his own, occasionally checking in with me to tell me some riveting tale of what had happened at the last door. He had a great time.

And this notwithstanding the fact that, due to my own poor planning, certain elements of the evening were almost totally derailed. It wasn’t until the night before All Hallow’s Eve that my wife and I realized we hadn’t located the kids’ trick-or-treat baskets from the year before. I promised my wife I would look for them in the morning, but that proved to be of no avail. So I then promised to buy some candy receptacles at the closest drugstore to my office during the day. However, said drug store was out of such necessities (if they had ever had them to begin with; the seasonal Halloween aisle was pretty trashed). Undaunted, I resolved to stop by the grocery store between the train station and home, and I managed the stop but once again did not find the objects I was seeking. That fruitless sidetrip, however, threw off my entire schedule for the evening by about fifteen minutes, so our departure for my buddy’s neighborhood was delayed, and we hit traffic, and we barely had time to eat any dinner before it was time to trick-or treat (though of course, as expected, my kids were too excited to eat more than a bite, anyway).

And since I had no trick-or-treat bags, buckets, or baskets for my kids, how were they supposed to hoard candy? I went old school and grabbed a couple of pillowcases out of the linen closet; I even made a stab at aesthetic cohesion by grabbing a white one for Buzz the Space Ranger and a brown one for Jessie the cowgirl (since we don’t have any red ones). This makeshift solution was greeted with what I thought was a surprising amount of nostalgic positivity by my fellow parents at the event (despite the fact that none of them had waited until the last minute and all of their kids had plastic pumpkins or proper decorated bags). However, my brilliance was severely undercut by the fact that I had forgotten just how short my five-year-old and two-year-old are; at three or three and a half feet tall, when you carry around a full-sized pillowcase by one end, the other end drags on the ground. And of course it rained just enough on Halloween for the pillowcases to get good and puddle-dampened, with one of them (the white one, of course) containing a spilled packet of M&Ms which had their candy shells dissolve into colorful stains.

All in good fun, though, right? But as annoying as it was to not be able to find Halloween provisions on Halloween itself, just-as-if-not-more annoying was the fact that the shelf space which could have gone to trick-or-treat paraphernalia was full of Christmas stock. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas deeply and abidingly, and as of November 1st I’m more than happy to watch Christmas episodes of tv shows and start thinking about what gifts I’m going to get everybody in my family. But Halloween falls on the other side of that line, and it bugs me when the line doesn’t hold.

In my recent wanderings around teh interwebs I encountered the term “Creepmas” in reference to this phenomenon. Now there, my friends, is a great made-up word with multiple layers of meaning, incorporating both the tendency of the yuletide season to creep further and further beyond its traditional December boundaries, as well as the acknowledgment that it’s one thing when Thanksgiving gets overrun, since they’re both family-oriented quasi-religious feast days, but when the samhain celebration of freaks and creeps gets swallowed up, that’s a haunted bridge too far. Some people have taken their umbrage to the point where they not only hold the line but push back, and blog all through December about the scarier side of Noel: A Christmas Carol, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Krampus, &c. I’m not planning on participating myself, for what it’s worth (though I am a big old Krampus fan), but I approve the spirit of the thing.

Also, my wife informed me today that she saw the first Christmas wreath hung in a public space, so man, it is on.

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