Halloween: An Equal Opportunity Holiday


Halloween is anything and everything to every-body. Halloween does not discriminate because of age, gender or religion. Maybe that’s why so many people like it. You don’t have to ascribe to any certain doctrine or rules; you simply have to want to act like an idiot and eat & drink way too much. It’s like getting the good of every other holiday without the mother-in-law.

All the introverts turn into extroverts. The librarian becomes a sexy nurse and the accountant thinks he does a really good impression of Jack Sparrow (probably even believes he looks as good as Johnny Depp after a little rum.) Some spend exorbitant amounts of money on costume, make-up and other accouterments, while for some this is their creative moment of the year. The pencil pusher becomes DaVinci, with ingenuity and cardboard.

For over 25 years I’ve worn the same costume, that of a magician. I have entertained at hundreds of children and adult parties, from small house parties to hundreds of people at a city event. And I can tell you one thing with great certainty: there is no difference between the four year old wearing a costume jacked up on sugar and the forty year old wearing a costume jacked up on vodka. They’re both out of control. But it’s fun. Everyone is in good spirits for Halloween; it’s about imagination, it’s about being someone else for a day.

Halloween doesn’t ask you to go to church or to temple. It doesn’t ask that you decide if this is the year for your parent’s or your husband’s. It doesn’t ask that you stand in line for the latest toy or stress over getting the right gift for all seventeen people in your family. It doesn’t ask you to fast or pray, to cook and clean for hours, or use the good china. It just asks that you go to the grocery store and get some candy.

No one gets the day off and no one calls in sick the next day. Everyone shares the same fun experience on October 31 and shares the same hangover, from sugar or booze or both, on November 1. Halloween: the equal opportunity, non-discriminating, non-denominational, fun for the whole family (and the single folks too.)


I’ve been getting scared lately. About Halloween. And it’s not by a ghost or a goblin or a vampire or a werewolf.

It’s by my own stupidity.

For the last month I have entered grocery stores where there are displays of Halloween decorations, candy, costumes etc. and one of two things happens: I think “Geez haven’t they taken that down yet” or “Man that’s really early for Halloween.”

You see I am whatever is the opposite of a Halloween savant.

For over 25 years Halloween was one of the focal points of my year. That’s because I had been a professional magician for that period of time. So back in Chicago, the two weeks prior to Halloween were two of the busiest of the entire year with parties for children, school functions and then the ones where people dressed up in ridiculous costumes and I had to do card tricks while I “guessed what they were” and inhaled vodka fumes. Those would be the adult parties.

But since moving to California, I am not as busy as I was for so long, that’s just the nature of starting  up something like this in another location. So I have lost my inner calendar. Might have something to do with the weather never changing (No Angelenos there are not seasons here!)

I don’t know how to get in any spirit or replace it. I always liked seeing the costumes and how the kids were so happy, but I worked and didn’t go to any parties. Every year I just dressed up as a magician. And even then I’ve always dressed casual, so it’s not like I had the tuxedo, top hat and cape. More like khaki cargo pants and some kind of orange shirt.

Maybe it’s because I basically grew up in the biz it never really inspired me. See, in high school, I worked at a novelty shop that sold magic but it’s main focus was costumes. They made their money for the year in the latter half of September and October. The weekend for Halloween was a zoo! And I learned how to sell people all kinds of junk that would make this year “the best ever.” Told them how to apply the make-up even though I’d never done it myself (nobody came back to complain so I guess I read the instructions right) and up sold them on every costume. I’m not proud of it, but I was a teenager in the suburbs, so it was ridiculously funny to see “grown-ups”  spend what I considered a small fortune at the time on one night.

Or maybe it’s because I haven’t cared about scary movies since the ones in black and white: Dracula, Frankenstein, and of course, Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein and the Wolfman. The only scary movie I can remember seeing in color is It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. It was implied scary, like Jaws.

Don’t think it’s going to change this year. Zombies are big in Long Beach and they have this huge Zombie Walk. So maybe I’ll check that out. Or maybe just eat one of those Snicker’s in the shape of a pumpkin. those rock.

At least I think my brain will finally get the date together now that I’ve blogged about it. As I’m sure my fellow bloggers out there will attest, it’s not real until you blogged about it.