Halloween is almost upon us, coming quicker than Hugh Grant in a BMW. As Meg Tilly so brilliantly asked in the cinematic disaster known as Body Snatchers, "Where ya gonna go? Where ya gonna run? Where ya gonna hide?" Eloquently, she voices the dilemma of millions of Americans every October 31. I've done them all, with less than optimum results. Let's run through the options, shall we?
Okay, first there's trick or treating. Being a greedy bastard and visiting every house within a 20 mile radius, hitting them up for the goods, is socially acceptable as child, but, three years ago, when I was dressed as Zsa Zsa Gabor and asked all of my neighbors to "Give me some candy, DAHLING, or I'll give you a slap," the results were less than desirable. From what I can remember I got assorted candy bars, candy corns, rocks, kitchenware, lollipops, and a jack o'lantern, still lit-- THROWN at me, with great velocity. I can't even spell the names people called me, and I was told to do things to myself that aren't even physically possible, lord knows I've tried. One grandmotherly looking woman was actually kind to me, and gave me some popcorn. My faith in mankind had been restored, that is, until I heard the muffled call to her husband "Come see this poor slow boy. It's lovely to see the mentally challenged out and about." At the tender age of 23, I retired from trick or treating forever.
The next year I opted to stay home, watch some scary movies, and give wondrous candy to the the legit trick or treaters. The candy aisle at the supermarket was pure pandemonium. I might as well have been looking for the last green Power Ranger on Christmas Eve. I didn't want to be one of those houses that gave out nickels, fruit, hard bubble gum, cream soda Dum-Dumms that stuck to the paper, black licorice, those awful dark chocolate Hershey's Miniatures, or Smarties. Honestly, do people ever BUY Smarties for themselves? I made a quick scan of what was available, and I saw some variety packs of assorted good chocolate stuff that the others had apparently not seen. I made a mad dash to get two packs. I popped 'em in my cart and very confidently strolled to the checkout counter. The line was huge, and I noticed the elderly woman behind me had nothing in her cart but a box of Metamucil, so I let her go in front of me. I started to sing along with the muzak..."Precious and few are the moment we two can shaaaaaaare..." CRASH! I looked to my side and saw this huge pyramid of canned beets topple over. "Hope that wasn't my singing," I thought to myself, then turned back. Quicker than I could say "The cast of Wings should be sterilized," my treasures were GONE! I was completely bewildered. I was shocked when I looked in the cart ahead of me. The woman I had sacrificed selflessly for, had two bags of assorted chocolates along with her Metamucil. I tried to conceal my anger and kindly said to the woman "Excuse me, I think those are my Halloween candies there." I believe she mouthed the words "Bite me." I walked right up to her cart and reached in and picked up what was rightfully mine. That's when she started bawling hysterically, which caused the entire supermarket to glare in my direction. I was frozen like Jennifer Tilly would be if you aimed a flashlight at her eyes. I was never so furious AND so humiliated; I just stood there with my hand in the metaphorical cookie jar. I slowly backed out of the store, and still candyless, I decided to go to a convenience store, where I bought 50 Chunky bars. A mixture of chocolate nuts and raisins makes my stomach turn, but hey, I didn't have to eat 'em. I had enough Chunky bars to feed a small South American country, or Marlon Brando. I sat down and started to watch Halloween. Before the opening credits were finished, the doorbell rang. "Trick Or Treat," I was greeted by a child and his mother. "Here ya go, fella," I smiled as I handed him a Chunky. The child glowed; the mother frowned. "Michael is ALLERGIC to nuts. Don't you have anything else?" she inquired. "Umm...n-n-no..." I stammered. The mother ripped the treat from her son's hand and handed it back to me, setting Michael into a temper tantrum. "I'm really sorry," I managed to say. "Thank you, thank you VERY much, it was his first Halloween and you ruined it for him. Aren't you proud of yourself?" she sneered as she stormed off. I sighed, shrugged, and went back to my movie. Five minutes later, more doorbell. Two teenage girls dressed up--looked like the girls from Clueless, gum chewing and all. "Like, trick or treat." I handed them two chunky bars, which appalled them. Clueless #1: "Like HELLO, do you KNOW how many grams of fat are in a Chunky? Only like a MILLION!" and she handed it back to me. Clueless #2: "Geez Louise, don't you have any like Snackwells or fat free potato chips?" and deposited El Chunky back in my hand. And so it went all night. Kids whining about chocolate, kids complaining about raisins, kids bitching about options, in 4 hours I got through about 15 minutes of my movie. And got stuck with 45 Chunky bars. Hey, you want a Chunky?
Last year I tried another great Halloween option--the costume party. I bopped on down to "Costumes R Us," to rent one, which was oh-so-wise to do on Halloween day. Sparse selection? The place was emptier than Jennie McCarthy's skull. Let me tell you, all eyes were focused when I stumbled in the door as a huge orange box of Tide. I felt about as mobile as Gilbert Grape's mother. I scanned the room and saw assorted Beavises, Ticks, Shannen Doughertys, Newt Gingritches, and one big orange blob. I went straight to the punch bowl and then mingled about. Everybody bored me, and they allseemed to be staring at the monstrosity that was my costume. Then I saw her, the woman I would spend forever with, the woman who wouldn't bitch at me for drinking milk out of the carton. She was a twin of Mia Wallace (a.k.a. Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction), and she looked me straight in the eye, walked up to me, and what followed was a few hours of engaging conversation; this and my never empty punch cup kept me in seventh heaven. In the middle of debating which was more torture, watching the OJ trial or watching a Mickey Rourke movie, she blurted out "Do you always talk so much before you a kiss a girl?" That was all the invitation I needed. I wrapped my arms around her and kissed. It was just like the movies...the world started to spin in a little circle, like in a DePalma film, except it made me dizzy, and I suddenly realized it wasn't the kiss, but the heavy imbibing at the punchbowl. I lost my balance, which is not a smooth thing mid-kiss. The huge Tide box caused me to stumble and I held my love tight, knowing she would be my rock and prevent my imminent falling, but my feet became entwined with hers and I fell forward, taking Mia Wallace with me. I could see her expresion of horror; the girl I so wanted to impress was being crushed by Mr. Tide himself. I believe the words that she used were "Jesus, I can't feel my legs! I struggled and squirmed, as Batman and Thor managed to pull me off of her, but by then it was too late. Physically, Mrs. Wallace was fine, but she was none too pleased with my squashing her, inadvertent as it was. In fact, everybody at the party just sort of glared and pointed at me until I left in utter shame. No more Halloween parties for ME, thank you very much.
Don't walk down the same unpaved road as I did. Learn from my mistakes, my friend. This Halloween, hide out with some friends, turn off on the lights and rent some movies. Try a couple of these, you'll thank me later. Halloween, Nightmare On Elm Street, Frankenhooker, Carrie, The Shining, Evil Dead 2, Dead Alive, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, The Exorcist, and Re-Animator. When the doorbell rings, don't answer it. There's no shame. In fact, I've found that detaching the doorbell all together makes things much more pleasant. And if you turn the volume up really loud, you can't even hear those little fists knocking.