Looking For The Great Pumpkin

Hallowe’en — because I’m old and pretentious enough to add the apostrophe— wasn’t the big deal that it is now, when I was a kid. Oh, people dressed up and did trick or treating (or galloshing, as it was called in Scotland in the 1980s), and there was bobbing for apples or the closest alternative, but it was literally kids’ stuff as far as I recall. I don’t remember it being anything that adults really indulged in.

I often wonder if that’s an age thing, or a nationality thing; was America always a country that couldn’t wait to dress up at the end of October to make morning commutes and days in the office that little bit more colorful, and I just missed out growing up elsewhere? Even in art school, I remember Hallowe’en shenanigans being limited to the parties at night, rather than the all-day event it is here, these days.

(I also feel as if it’s something that gets a lot more attention in terms of decoration in the U.S.; I don’t remember houses going as all-out in the Scotland of my childhood, but that might be selective memory at play. At most, I think there were minor things on the night itself as a sign that a particular house had treats to give out to kids. Am I misremembering? Maybe.)

All of which is to say: I don’t get Hallowe’en, not really. It doesn’t hit the nostalgic notes of Christmas, and I’m not sure what the appeal is supposed to be unless you have a cosplay fetish. (If you do, though, go to town.) I am, I’m afraid to say, the Hallowe’en Grinch who’s waiting for his heart to grow, still. Perhaps this will be the year when the penny drops and I finally understand what the appeal is supposed to be. It’d be nice, if so.

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