It aint what it used to be
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, November 1st 2015
Welcome to my Halloween party!
Halloween used to be a gentle holiday for children. Dress-up funny; wear a mask, a jester’s hat. ‘Trick or Treat’ was a sweet opportunity for the little ones to collect candy. No one ever put you to the test of “trick”.
It had its origin in Celtic folklore and morphed into the Christian world as a festival of fall. It was a celebration.
It has become a vehicle for protest, free speech, and political correctness. The Gay community has embraced it, as it’s own holiday to express their affection for each other. Fine. But their parades, originally colorful and creative have deteriorated into tasteless nudity.
The New York Times did a front-page article entitled:
Halloween Costume Correctness on Campus:
Feel Free to Be You, but Not Me
"SEATTLE — Pocahontas, Caitlyn Jenner and Pancho Villa are no-nos. Also off-limits are geisha girls and samurai warriors — even, some say, if the wearer is Japanese. Among acceptable options, innocuous ones lead the pack: a Crayola crayon, a cup of Starbucks coffee or the striped-cap-wearing protagonist of the “Where’s Waldo?” books.
As colleges debate the lines between cultural sensitivity and free speech, they are issuing recommendations for Halloween costumes on campus, aimed at fending off even a hint of offense in students’ choice of attire. Using the fairly new yardstick of cultural appropriation — which means pretending for fun or profit to be a member of an ethnic, racial or gender group to which you do not belong — schools, student groups and fraternity associations are sending a message that can be summed up in five words: It is dangerous to pretend.”
With all this turmoil, the debates about cultural appropriation – where is there to escape to? - My safe-haven away from all the mayhem is Nantucket!
A sweet costume parade meanders up the cobbled Main Street, children and parents dressed in every fantasy costume imaginable. A dog dressed as a lion, another as a tramp, tiny toddlers barely able to walk rejoice in the handout of the candy: all are happy, cheerful. It is over within the hour. Daylight savings still was hanging around (today it would already be dark).
My youngest granddaughter, Ondine the "angel"
I go home with my friend Betsey, to put the final touches on our costume party: “Funny Hats or Masks” Our friends trickle in and we enjoy a congenial evening in front of the fireplace, a pre-curser of winter holidays still to come.
My Halloween Party
The mystery guest: Is this a man or a woman? Hint: It is carrying a pocket-book
My friends Chris, Tessa, Suzy (she fooled us all), Greta
The most creative masks: Audrey Sterk and Floyd Kellogg
The witches gather in my living room
In 2013, I had written an earlier lament about Halloween.
If you’ve missed it, below a reprint.
HALLOWEEN BLOG 2013
I am not a Scrooge, but I have never liked Halloween... In many ways its has always had a cruel twist... trick or treat in New York meant more trick than treat... razor blades in apples, beating up with chalk bags; intimidation... the treat on the street often meant money. I have always shunned the event until one year I spent Halloween in Nantucket. There it was truly an event for the children with an adorable parade up Main Street, parents and kids dressed in fun costumes, shopkeepers providing candies and cider... Trick or Treat became a treat. It softened my heart and I have ever since wanted to celebrate this Holiday on the island... and last week I did!
In my bombastic way, I decided to throw a party for my adult friends and their progenies... (Grandfathering had never been my favorite sport, though when the "bratlings" reached adulthood, they became quite compatible human beings.) With the encouragement of my young friends, I brazenly set out to do a party. This had always been my wife, Erica's, domain. In those early days these parties were restricted to six to ten year olds... to my horror, the kids cut loose with no holds barred. I tried to shrink from these affairs, disappearing into furthest corners of my apartment.
Now, I was about to follow in her footsteps, treading where I had never dared go. A costume party! Marissa, my delightful right hand assistant baked ham, turkey, pigs in a blanket, hot dogs and lots of candy; my friend Tessa created spider's webs all over the house, Betsey put the finishing touches on the food decorations and kind Angelica stood by in the kitchen to make sure there were no food fights. I cut out paper shopping bags for spooky lantern and remembered the black lighting from Erica's days. To accommodate kids, I set the party for 6:30 (I am never ready by 6:30 and this was no exception) 'cept guests didn't care... they arrived with kids in tow straight from the Main Street Parade. Musicians dutifully brought their instruments including Lucy with her bass fiddle, everyone took my invitation seriously and came in costumes... The rest is a picture story. It was a party for the books. Encouraged by its success, it was only a dress rehearsal for next year's jamboree!