My son Gideon will not be trick-or-treating this year.
It’s not because of any fear of ghosties and ghoulies, mind you. We decided last year that his advancing age meant 2017 would be the last hurrah for the door-to-door begging.
Oh, he still loves the holiday and will be reprising his fortune-teller routine at a Halloween In The Park event; but I don’t want him to be one of those teens (and post-teens) who just can’t outgrow hogging the treats meant for tykes.
Here’s a rule of thumb: if you’re old enough to have heard Johnny Cash sing at Folsom Prison, you and your buddies are probably too old to look cute going from house to house collecting fun-size Snickers bars in a black-and-white-striped jailbird costume.
Anyway, I mentioned fear earlier because while researching goblins and such, I ran across the term “samhainophobia” – the irrational fear of Halloween.
Samhainophobia, of course, is named for Halloween’s precursor Samhain, the sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year. Can you imagine a Celtic New Year’s Eve? (“Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind/ Should old acquaintance be forgot – hey, that Druid bared his behind!”)
Samhainophobia is closely linked to phasmophobia (fear of ghosts), wiccaphobia (fear of witchcraft), nyctophobia (fear of darkness) and balldropophobia (fear of Ryan Seacrest crashing your Celtic New Year’s Eve celebration).
At least Halloween gives us one night to watch little ghosts running around in nice clean sheets instead of politicians airing dirty laundry.
Sorry. I used to suffer from claustrophobia myself, so I’ll TRY to empathize with samhainophobes and the inexplicable levels of discomfort they endure at this time of year. I guess I had a sheltered childhood. The neighborhoods I trick-or-treated in were so lame that the creepy old hermits cleverly tried stuffing the candy bars and taffy apples with Norelco electric shavers. At least the x-ray technicians got to snooze on the job.
I realize today’s weird weather patterns can lead to anxiety at this season. You know, like when the merest hint of an early snow threatens vital supply lines. (“There’s a run on toilet paper! We can’t t.p. any of the houses down the block. Maybe we can vandalize the neighbors’ homes with milk and bread –What? Those, too???”)
I don’t see classic monsters being able to cause a lot of trouble nowadays. If Dracula took his son out for a simple drink of blood, social justice warriors would swoop down on them and harass them into submission. (“You’re associated with October – the same month that contains COLUMBUS DAY. How can you look at yourselves in the mirror? No, that’s not your pal Wolfman coming to the rescue. That’s part of our organization howling at the moon because of Dwight Eisenhower winning the 1952 election.”)
No, the real dangers of Halloween 2018 include situations more like unscrupulous doctors chasing skeletons down the street and yelling, “Here! Take this opioid prescription! It’s good for what ails you!”
Perhaps the greatest Halloween-related fear afflicts trivia buffs who know that the first jack-o’-lanterns were actually made from turnips – and that the NEXT generation of jack-o’-lanterns might very well be made from KALE! Be afraid. Be very afraid.
“I hear the trends a-comin’ / They’re rollin’ ‘round the bend / And I ain’t had no real food / Since I don’t know when…”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”