Halloween is my favorite holiday, hands down. Christmas and Thanksgiving are not without their charms, but both involve stressful family get-togethers with their attendant mind-numbingly tedious mealtime conversations. My brother’s gag concerning the whereabouts of the gravy boat ("I think it ran aground!") got big laughs the first time he said it—back in 1974. Now it’s a teeth-grinding, anticipatory nightmare, like an imminent tax deadline or waiting for a physical examination conducted by Dr. Chillyhands.
And don’t get me started on Christmas shopping! The Bataan death march was a cakewalk in comparison. At least those sorry souls could look forward to a cessation of suffering and the arrival of sweet oblivion. They didn’t have to hang around after the march’s conclusion listening to relatives gripe about "the miserable haul this year" and their inevitable trip to the Target "returns" counter. "An army of sneezing brats drooling all over the place; might as well book a cruise on a plague ship," is a popular post-Yuletide sentiment heard around our tree. This now concludes the whine portion of the blog post.
Halloween is an enthusiastic embrace of mischief, pageantry, and good-natured deviltry. We don fantasy garb and slip out under the cover of darkness to let our inner wolves sniff a few butts, eat fun-size Snickers bars till our choppers beg for mercy, and howl a bit with the rest of the pack. And with this Halloween taking place on a Saturday night, it was all just too perfect.
I was dressed as Pabst Man, the people’s superhero. I wiggled into my Pabst union suit, stuck a Pabst cap on my head, and filled my backpack with cans of PBR. I handed these out to everyone I met, intoning, "Please enjoy this complimentary beverage from Pabst Brewing. Drink responsibly." Pabst, it should be known, is currently without a spokesman. Consider this my audition.
My friends and I went to a swinging cocktail party where we went through a bottle of Kahlua while listening to our host’s awesome collection of 45s. We then departed around 11:30 to ramble the streets and mingle with our fellow revelers. As we sauntered up SE Hawthorne, we couldn’t help but notice the abundance of zombies, witches, flappers, mummies, kitty cats, Martians, and pirates out parading in their seasonal finery. The air was thick with a Mardi Gras-like aroma of friendly intoxication, and we recklessly struck up conversations with total strangers. It was, after all, Halloween. One night of the year that we didn’t have to be our cowering, banal selves. We could be anyone behind these masks.
Is it possible I’ve been watching too much Dexter on Netflix?
Here then, is my web-exclusive slideshow from Halloween night on Hawthorne. Now it’s all coming back to me. If you feel so moved, share some fond Halloween memories with me and the drinking buddies.
Note to the general public: If you happen to find yourself as an unwilling participant in this slideshow, please contact me at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to blur you out of the picture.