Mask Off: Boo, Humbug!


Now that another Halloween is behind us, I can take off my mask and proudly roar, “Boo Humbug!”

I am a Halloween Scrooge.

It’s not because October 31 encourages gluttony for a population whose children are experiencing an obesity epidemic and a rise in Type 2 diabetes due primarily to sugar intake, although I’d be dishonest if I denied that’s a factor.  

And not even because Americans will waste spend multiple billions of dollars on the holiday this year, although that fact makes me shudder: The National Retail Federation projects that American celebrants will spend $6.9 billion this year, with $2.5 billion on costumes, $2.1 billion on candy, and $1.9 billion on decorations.  

The real reason I’ve come to denounce Halloween is its overtone of terror. I don’t like to be scared. (Let me qualify that statement. I do enjoy a good Poe story once in awhile; “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Cask of Amontillado” top my list, but the pages allow for the reader to experience a more sophisticated, detached horror.)

Today, “scary” no longer looks like kids covered in white sheets peering through uneven eye holes calling out “Boo!”ghosts

The holiday has gone gruesome and shocking, promoting haunted houses populated with headless, screaming, dying souls; celebrating bodies hanging from trees and skeletons peeking out from behind lamp posts; and endorsing horrifying costumes that feature at least one of the following: severed body parts, blood, entrails, or ripped skin, and a chainsaw, hockey mask, butcher’s knife, hatchet, or automatic weapon.

jason cosplay blood and axe

I get it. Halloween originated as the eve of the celebration of dead people, and I’m all for honoring those who have turned their toes up to the daisies.

But the REAL terror in our world is plenty, thank you: from school shootings and violence against minorities to decapitations and global conflicts. Why celebrate it, make light of it, and promote it as “fun”?

Furthermore, where is the creativity in a hockey mask, a fake blood-smeared shirt, and a machete?

I propose that we put to death and bury the expectation and acceptance of heinous and ghastly costumes and decorations and reimagine Halloween as a different kind of holiday, one that celebrates not the gruesome, morbid, and horrifying but the clever, original, and ingenious! 

That means NO SCARY S#!T allowed.

We will observe this day wearing clever, creative costumes that celebrate word play. Yes, word play! What would you imagine the Grim Reader to look like? How about a Freudian Slip, or the Lone Park Ranger?


How would you portray a Holy Cow? Stevie Wonderwoman? Facebook?


Who would YOU rather greet at your door on Halloween night: Hairy Potter or Dr. Zombie?

Let’s honor the departed by ritually dismembering the crude, standardized palette of ghastly visions and cliches and donning the best of our ingenuity.

Please join me in promoting a “No Guts, No Gory” approach to Halloween next year. I will be waiting for your support on puns and needles.  

It’s never too early to plan ahead! What will YOU wear next Halloween? Leave your cleverest idea in the comments below.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Suzy Hershey says:

    Amen !


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