Friends:

I need to let you in on a little secret.  Now hold on a second, before you cup your ear to hear my whisper and look around to see if anyone else is on it.  This isn’t one of those secrets that needs to be kept between us.  In fact, please feel free to pass along the secret, let everyone know, scream it from the rooftops.  It is a shame that more people are unaware of what I am going to tell you.

Are you ready?

In two weeks we will be celebrating one my favorite holidays.  No, not National Talk Like A Pirate Day or National Boss’s Day (which was Sunday October 16… why do Administrative Professionals get a whole week and bosses get one day and it falls on a weekend? – nevermind).  No, my friends, I am talking about Halloween.

You remember it, right?  The night of the year that you as a child looked forward to for months, planning what costume you were going to wear, what houses to go to first to get the best candy, and whether any of your friends would be having any parties.  And of course the best night of the year for scary movies– I remember one year I went to a friend’s house on Halloween to watch some scary movies—I brought the movie “For Keeps,” the one where Molly Ringwald plays a teenager who gets pregnant.  I think I misunderstood the invitation when it said to bring a scary movie.

But I digress… Halloween used to be an event, something that couldn’t come fast enough.  Never mind that it always ended up being disappointing, not enough houses in the neighborhood decorated and always that one house that gave popcorn balls.  But it was a chance to do something different.  To wear clothes you wouldn’t wear everyday.  A time to be something you weren’t.  Want to put on a mask and scare other kids?  This was your night.  Want to stay out for three hours and go to every house twice?  Only one night of the year for that.  Want to throw a party and see if you could get the cute girls in your class to come?  Halloween was your best excuse.

But lately it has seemed that there isn’t any holiday cheer for the only major holiday between Labor Day and Thanksgiving.  When we would get back to school after summer break it would be a long few months until the Thanksgiving long weekend and aside from Veteran’s Day and the Jewish Holidays (which weren’t really days off anyways), the only thing we had to look forward to was Halloween.

So what has happened that not everyone is in on the act?  Why do I go to stores that used to have aisles and aisles of Halloween costumes and candy and decorations and pumpkins and see only one or two aisles of goods that don’t even look as if they were picked over?  The typical stopping points on the Halloween Preparedness Tour are now disappointments waiting to happen.  It seems that the day after the 4th of July the American Flags were put away and synthetic Christmas trees put on display.

Here is the problem as I see it.  Our friends on Wall Street or the Consumer Affairs Departments or wherever “they” are who make decisions for us have determined that Christmas is a much more lucrative holiday than Halloween.  They figure that people are more likely to spend their hard-earned money on Christmas trees and tinsel and lights and presents.  And they are probably right. 

But Halloween is not for the consumers.  It isn’t for the hard-working people of this country who have to decide between buying Christmas lights or a cauldron with a fog machine inside of it.  It is for the kids.  On the off-chance you actually see a Halloween section of a store or, even more rare, a Halloween store all by itself, it’s littered with adult costumes; all of the costumes traditionally worn by the kids are available for adults, but you have to put the word “sexy” in front.  The “Sexy” Princess, the “Sexy” Genie”, the “Sexy” Elmo.  And the adults who would normally purchase those costumes are saving their money for Christmas.

I get it.  I absolutely get it.  But, in that same vein, “they” don’t get it.  Halloween is not for adults; it is for kids.  It is for kids to feel like kids.  To load up on candy, to dress crazy and color your hair and wear make-up and tiptoe through the “graveyard” in the front of the neighbor’s house.  All of the negative aspects of Halloween come from adults poaching a child’s holiday.  Be careful on Halloween because of drunk drivers, looting of trick-or-treaters’ candy bags, and vandalism.  Nine-year old kids are not driving drunk…

So my friends, I let you in on the secret.  Halloween is coming and it is a fun time for a kid.  Make sure they know about it.  Make sure they have the chance to celebrate it.  Make sure they have a chance to build a memory that they can share with their kids.  Because Target and Walmart and Home Depot and K-Mart don’t want you to know about it.  They would prefer that you instead buy the automated Eeyore that flops its ears and dances to Jingle Bells.

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