What Has Happened To Hallowe’en?

When I was a kid, Hallowe’en was the holiday of holidays. Yes, Christmas was important,  but short of sporting an ugly sweater, opportunities to dress up in costume were few, unless you had parents who put you in cheap felt elf outfits for posed portrait photographs.

My three children are a young adult and two teenagers now, but with the addition of my granddaughter to our family in 2016, and two Hallowe’ens since, I will continue to lace up my sensible walking shoes and go door to door bearing an old pillowcase as a back-up candy sack.

What hasn’t gone unnoticed is the number of children who still do old-school trick or treating. Private parties and “Trunk or Treat” events are the new get your spook on. In the community groups on Facebook I belong to, 20 or 25 costumed kids constituted a successful evening of mini-candies distribution. We’re even making exceptions for properly outfitted teenagers. Put in the effort, and ye shall be rewarded. Full-size chocolate bars will never wane in popularity, and people giving them away are not shy about telling you where to find them (street names only, though, thanks).

As the parent of a disabled child, I also see the good intentions behind the Blue Bucket meme that was going around Facebook. My son has difficulty making himself understood at the best of times, and he likes to wear a full face mask with his Dracula/Harry Potter mash-up outfit. Alas, cherished allies, he chose a ratty, plastic Chapters/Indigo bag instead.

Look, there are a few things about Hallowe’ens of yore that I can do without, slutty nurse versions of Alice in Wonderland and Rockets candy among them. At the risk of sounding like a moon-eyed nostalgia tribe-leader, though, how do we put the harmless, outdoor fun back into October 31?

#MyFridayFive, Issue 1.3

My Friday Five

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by – Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt (2002)

And in my case, even those that are self-imposed.

But I’m here now, and look! It’s actually Friday!

So. What’s been going on?

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Not a headline, but something I need to get off my chest.

I struggle with chronic pain.

Sometimes I walk with a cane. This past Monday was no different. I took my fifteen year old twins to the Canada Science and Technology Museum because it was the last day of The Art of the Brick exhibit, and I had yet to see it.

A selection of photos I took are posted to my Instagram, which you can find here: Whovian On A Budget. It was during my first attempt to snap a photo with my phone, keep from dropping my cane, and wrangle my son, who has ADHD and developmental delay; that someone older than me and in discernibly better physical condition suggested that I was in the way and better move, so that she could take a picture of the same sculpture that caught my eye. As we moved through the gallery space, reactions from others to our presence did not improve.

This is goddamn 2018. Do I really have to apologize for being disabled, and for daring to take my son out in public? Yes, I am fat. Maybe it is the cause of my leg and hip trouble; I don’t know, and here’s the thing: you are not one of my doctors. I don’t want to hide at home. Why should I? It’s going to take every remaining ounce of resilience and class I have not to take my cane and shove the tip up the ass of the next person who thinks I’m needlessly taking up space.

Here’s a suggestion for Nathan Sawaya, the magician behind The Art of the Brick: would you be willing to construct a sculpture of a mother and child, or a father and child, to properly acknowledge people who look like me and my son, who enjoy the escapism of a museum and a day out? I believe it’s needed.

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Now, for the headlines:

1) Actor Burt Reynolds Dead At 82 (Various sources)

Reynolds never shied away from poking fun at his foibles and career missteps. I really liked his Emmy-award comedy series “Evening Shade,” which also starred Marilu Henner. Edited to add: Then, as I traipsed through the Twitters, I was reminded he was a lousy husband who beat both of his wives, and not much better as a father. I have no time for that.

2) Inquest Confirms Cranberries Singer Dolores O’Riordan Died From Drowning (Various sources)

A damned shame. Dolores O’Riordan was a brilliant singer and songwriter. It was not her time to go. May you continue to rest in power, Dolores.

3) Girl Hospitalized After Getting Ears Pierced at Claire’s: Doctors Dug Earring Out with ‘Scalpel’

This isn’t the first horror story of an ear piercing gone wrong at a Claire’s store. Claire’s and other inexpensive jewelry stores can’t even guarantee that their products are genuinely hypoallergenic.

The safest place you can go for this sort of thing? A really good tattoo shop. Mark my words.

4) Jet hand dryers ‘aerosolise’ E. coli and other harmful bugs, scientists warn

This, unfortunately, isn’t new news. Nor is it fake. I’m pretty sure this was proven during the “Down and Dirty/Earthquake Survival” episode of MythBusters in the spring of 2013. Paper towels for dry hands!

5) Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Campaign (Various sources)

Dear Nike: Just keep on doing it.

action air balance beach

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