Subject: Happy Holloween!
Date: Sat, 13 Sep 1997 16:49:35 -0700
From: "Dr. Hieronymous Zinn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
My favorite Holloween
Dr. Hieronymous Zinn
I find Holloween to be a marvelous American custom.
But you do it all wrong.
When I look at Holloween, I see the quaint tradition, like in
other countries, of ritually terrifying small children so that
they will obey their elders; and yet it has somehow been subverted
into just another excuse for capitalist excess.
"Have a Happy Holloween!" to me contains the glee of a random
inebriated piss in someone's back yard you just happen to now
discover was on the grave of a hated enemy in a cemetery, and my,
wasn't I drunk, officer!
"Have a gut-wrenching, terrifying life-or-death struggle!" is
more to the point.
Take for example in some parts of Germany, (where I'll admit it's
a KrisKringle(tm), and thus Christmas, rather than Holloween
event), we have the tradition of the Straw Men!, who after the
jolly old expression of pagan lust goes by, showering petty
treats to the little children, and thus luring them forward like
some murderous schoolyard pedophile, they are turned over to
the monsters-dressed-in-straw who offer to do truly HORRIBLE
things to their little bodies. And all the while, their own,
laughing parents shove the little tykes forward as offerings
to the unworldly deamons.
And thus the nightmarish fears are passed on to yet another
generation, as it has been for a millennium.
Which brings me to mine own retchid excess...
A lovely, cool evening, when children go from door-to-door,
their little masked faces all aglow with greed, with their
greatest of fears the receipt of a small cellophane packet of
hard candy rather than a big, gooey, Snickers(tm) bar.
And yet, something is amiss. From the end of the block, in
the distance, they can see a figure. Perhaps it is by the
third dwelling that their vision has become clear, but they
are still confused by what they see.
For lying slumped in an old chair is something, perhaps
similar to a human being in appearance, but oddly dressed. By
the fifth home, in their ordered progression down the street,
they can see it clearly now, illuminated as it is by a half-
melted K-Mart plastic pumpkin.
In truth, the thing slumped on the chair is wearing a rubber
tap suit, of the kind that workers in chemical plants don, it's
face is covered by an odd-looking protective mask, it's hair
by a sleeping bag hood. It wears combat boots and old yellow
work gloves on it's hands.
By the time they have arrived at THAT HOUSE, their confusion
and fear are starting to mount, BUT ONLY THEN do they notice
that at the feet of "the thing" lies a large bowl, perhaps
containing the goodies their avaricious little hearts crave.
And now it is a time for contemplation...
Standing on the sidewalk are four young boys peering at me.
Their brows are knit in rapt attention, as if watching the
chess game in Ingmar Bergman's "The Seventh Seal." But instead
of a contest between some Swedish guy and Death, it is a bitter
duel between their very Potential Manhood Itself and Death, in
this case most likely quick, painful, and with long pointy
Needless to say, while intensely looking for signs of
animation in the figure, they are in no great hurry. But they
see no movement.
Finally, one of the older boys, more experienced in the ways
of treachery, turns to the smallest of the four, and berates
him: Prove you're a man! Go there and get us all some candy!
Of course the other two gladly join in, until the smallest
is browbeat into the dare.
Apprehensive, he approaches. Leaning away, his toes pointed
in the direction of the street, he treads softly across the
rock yard backwards, with outstretched hand clutching again
and again at the object of his passionate desire. For in that
bowl is no longer candy, but his very self-esteem and future.
His eyes are fixated on the lenses of my mask, for he cannot
see my eyes.
Bravely, his friends man the sidewalk with baited breath.
And then, just when he has reached his goal, for an instant
his eyes dart downward.
My right hand twitches.
"AAAAIIIIEEEEGGGGHHHH!" scream his friends, as they run in
abject terror down the block. But they small boy cannot get
traction in the rocks of the yard for a while. His heart
pounding--every milligram of adrenaline his pancreas can
produce rushing into his bloodstream--he makes a Herculean
effort and makes it to the sidewalk.
The little fella beats them to the end of the block.
Some time later, comes down the street a father with his
In due course, they too stand before me.
The father, concerned, but with too much reverence for the
tradition of the holiday, looks down and says to the boy,
"O.K., go get yourself some candy."
"NoooIdon'twantto!" whines the boy, his bag of candy
clutched protectively to his little face. He remains fixed,
despite further pleas from his father.
And then his father says the thing which is an essential
plot device to about half of the horror movies ever made:
"O.K., you wait here, AND I'LL GO GET SOME."
Rarely have I seen such a look as was in the face of the
boy. Wide-eyed, trembling, almost indescribable.
"Noooooooooooooooooo!" he squeals, his face contorted.
Even father is apprehensive by this point--but feels he
must do the 'dad' thing, and carefully he advances.
(I will confess some feelings of guilt as he approached,
but they were quickly filed in my rather overburdened
"bad conscience" repository. Moderation is for monks.)
And he, as before, glanced down at the bowl for a second
and I twitched my hand.
It is said that it is impossible for a person to do a
standing jump any higher than their own knees, but to my
experience this is no longer a rule, but more of a guideline.
As for the shrieks of the boy, they faded out sometime
after the two had left the block, reverberating in the
distance. But such become the happy reminiscences of
The following day, I received a call from a man, who I
would like to believe was the boys' father. Rather aggrieved,
he demanded to know who or what was in front of the house
the previous night.
To this I responded with curiousity, and I said that I
had been far away, and had only returned this very morning
on an early flight. Otherwise, the house had been empty.
The phone went silent for about 10 seconds before he
wordlessly hung up.
> Reginald was no racist, for people, be they white, black,
> brown, red or yellow, he preferred to think of in his own
> space-alien terms: as either "crunchy" or "chewy".
-Dr. Zinn, from the novel