Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


by Robison Wells

I've mentioned before how I'm growing grumpy and crotchety in my old age. I'm not a huge fan of outdoor activities, particularly those relating to the sun or to water; I abhor cellphones; I drive the speed limit, and think mean thoughts about those who don't; I throw rocks at kids.

So, if you're in the mood for more of my party-poopery, then read on. If you're not, then read on anyway, because I swear I'm right, and I need to convert you to my philosophies.

There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just spit it out: I don't understand Halloween, and I don't like it.

I was at Harmon's the other day (my neighborhood grocer), and next to the laundry detergent was a rotting, severed head. It wasn't real, of course--it was plastic. But it was gross, with bare bone in some places, and maggoty flesh in others. An eyeball hung out of its socket, dangling as if to say "Ravens and rats! Come pick at me!" Now, I'm not a squeamish fellow, by any stretch. It was not disgust that made me pause and contemplate the gory skull. No, it was that I simply can't understand why people think it's cool.

I'd imagine that there's a big chunk of parents who do everything they can to stop their kids from seeing rotting corpses, scary movies, and blood-drinking shape-shifting Transylvanians. But every October 31st, those same parents drive their kids down to the costume shop to buy fangs and bloodied cleavers and severed hands.

Now, I'm no sociologist (or cultural anthropologist, or whatever), but I'm sure there's no end of doctoral theses written on why society needs their annual gore-fests. Mexico has the Dia de los Muertos. China has Ghost Month, and Ireland has Samhain (also: Pooky Night, which is just about the neatest thing I've ever heard). But just because there's a good societal reason for it (assuming there is) doesn't mean that I have to like it.

Other reasons I dislike Halloween:

1) I don't like dressing up. I am, as I've said, a bit of a raging introvert.

2) I don't like trick-or-treating. It's cold, and it's often rainy, and there's usually something else I could be doing that doesn't involve cold and rain.

3) I don't like candy. Yeah, I know. I don't hate it, but after a piece or two, I'm good.

4) I don't like scary movies. Sure, I have a few favorites, but they're really the cream of the crop: The Shining, The Sixth Sense, etc. (Interesting note: the supernatural doesn't scare me, but crazy serial killers scare me. I think it's because they're real, and vampire ain't.)

5) I worked two Halloween seasons at a local Haunted House. Aside from turning me off to Halloween, it made me hate people generally, especially teenagers.

Not like any of this matters. My daughter wants to go trick or treating, and I'll take her. Maybe I'll even wear a mask--that way, I can throw rocks at kids, and no one will know it's me!


At 10/17/2006 12:20 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

I just went back and read through this and realized I could be misconstrued, so to clarify: my reasonings have NOTHING to do with religion. They are far more petty.

At 10/17/2006 12:36 PM, Blogger Jeff Savage said...

This from the Safari hat-wearing, grass skirt-shaking, face-painting, award-winning, king of the mystery dinner? Sure glad you don't like to dress up. I'd hate to see what would happen if you did.

At 10/17/2006 2:43 PM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Wow, Rob, if you're this grumpy and crotchety now, just think what you're going to be like when you reach adulthood.

I love Halloween. I love trick-or-treating. I love candy. I love fun Halloween decorations, like pumpkins and ghosts. I don't love gruesome and gory decorations or gruesome movies.

I will concede that Halloween is a really weird holiday when you stop and think about it.

At 10/17/2006 3:45 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

My wife and I talk about what we'll do when we're old folks. Her dream is to make cookies for all the neighbor kids. My dream is to sit on the porch and tell kids to get off my lawn.

At 10/17/2006 4:47 PM, Anonymous Rob's Mom said...

I don't know what happened to Rob. He always liked to dress up - gory and scary was great. One year, at a very young age - maybe seven - he sat still long enough to allow a custom made wolf mask to be fashioned and glued to his face! As far as being old and cranky before his time, well he got that from his father, who got it from his father, who WAS old, but Rob and his father don't have that excuse.

At 10/17/2006 5:50 PM, Blogger RobisonWells said...

I really think it was the haunted house I worked at as a teenager. It beat all the fun out of Halloween.

At 10/18/2006 3:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is so cool that Rob's mom commented.

At 10/18/2006 9:41 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

At least you issued a curmudgeon alert at the beginning of the post. Thanks for that.

I love Halloween and Dia de los Muertos! Do they celebrate it in Utah like they do here in Arizona? Probably not. I'm just going to have to buy you one of those little candy skulls and have your name engraved on the forehead. That will put you in the proper "spirit" of the season for sure!

As for being the grumpy neighbor -- we had one of those on our block growing up. (And a witch! I lived in such a cool neighborhood.) One Halloween we covered the front of his house with smiley pumpkin faces and stuck paper hearts and flowers on his lawn. He hated that, but he couldn't exactly call in a vandalism report. As I recall, his wife baked us cookies . . .

At 10/18/2006 12:48 PM, Blogger Evil HR Lady said...

Boy, you are more of a party pooper than even my father, and that's saying something.

Although, I do want to yell at the kids who snowboard in my back yard. They don't even ask! They just come do it. What are their parents thinking? I ask.

At 10/18/2006 4:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're thinking that they're glad the kids are at your house and not at home!

At 10/18/2006 4:54 PM, Blogger FHL said...

I have been trick-or-treating exactly once in my life, when I was 16. Beat that! (Had an odd childhood.)

I used to like Halloween when we had our annual costume party, because it's fun to roleplay a little and have fun with friends, but now it's just another night to ignore the doorbell that doesn't ever ring. Oh, we have candy out, but no one comes to our house. More candy for us!

If you truly want to be freaked out by the holiday, hang out with your local coven of practicing Wiccans for Samhain. (Where's the Great Pumpkin when you need him?)

Rob: throw a few rocks for me!

8[ (vampire smiley)


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