Nope, I'm not posting a photo of any kind, which probably gives you a hint about how I feel about the All Hallows Eve 'festival'. Today is All Souls Day - whatever that means - and I am still suffering (SUFFERING, I tell you!) from a seemingly endless stream of people posting pictures of either themselves or their kids or their friends' kids, or someone else's kids in a series of costumes. Only one of these images has provoked anything other than a tired harrumph - and then only briefly, as I realized that the tiny little mite (about two years old) dressed as a porcupine was looking about as unhappy about it as I was feeling about all the other silly images. I doubt very much that he had any choice in the matter - I strongly suspect that mommy and daddy had dressed him up for maximum cuteness (and I must grudgingly admit, they'd done a good job) in order to parade him in an exhibition of 'performance parenting' (a subject that I have angrily touched upon more than once on these pages) and to take photos for distribution around the fricken universe.
I accept that this makes me sound/read like a curmudgeon, but it's not as if this blog is about me being anything other than an ageing whinger. In my defence, I find it hard to believe that the majority of adults without kids around are not heartily sick of the Halloween silliness, and that they aren't tolerating the whole thing as a result of social norm pressure. It's in this spirit that I write much of what I write here: a voice of dissent in the wilderness of peer pressures and expectations of conformity to social norms. I know, I know: that's a bit grandiose, but you hopefully get the flavour - somebody has to say "Hang on a minute - this is stupid!" when the masses start doing stuff which is patently nonsensical.
Doing the same thing as everyone else (especially anything promoted and promulgated by the performance parent set) goes against the grain. If it's just 'awesome' or 'cute' or 'awesomely cute', I ain't doing it. In fact, to roll with the masses and do what other people do simply because other people do it, seems like a rather pathetic way to live. I'm not, of course talking about things such as obeying the law - that kind of thing is part of the responsibility we share if we wish to enjoy the benefits of an industrialized society - I'm talking mostly about the exceptional stuff that we can do to celebrate events.
I've done the Halloween thing - I've done it for the kids' sake when they were young, and I've enjoyed their enjoyment, and I have no problem with anyone doing the same thing - or not, as they wish. It's the childish sort of "Come on - do as I do or you're somehow a lesser human being!" attitude of some people who are old enough to know it's not funny but dress up in crappy, tired-joke costumes anyway, that I find so frustrating, and which lies at the heart of my dislike of such pressures. I'm as certain as I can be (from conversations with other human beings while not in the presence of adults dressed as bumble bees, sexy nurses or - dare I say it - zombies) that most of us are well and truly fed up with people dressing up in unoriginal costumes year after year, and assuming that they look absolutely hilarious. the problem is, any dissent is met with sneers and finger-pointing, combined with accusations of being party poopers or just plain miserable.
Well, for the record, I'm neither: I enjoy a good party as much as anyone (finding a good party, however, is a work of art) and I am, despite my regular rants, not at all miserable (as anyone who has read my book: 'Signs of (a) Life' will attest). I do, however, know what I find amusing, entertaining or downright hilarious, and thousands of people painting their faces and wearing cheap outfits to make visual jokes (which were all made last year and the year before that and the year before THAT, etc....) falls into the category of 'none of the above' on the multi-choice answer sheet.
I know that it will probably make little difference, and in all honesty I don't really care if nobody changes their approach to Halloween, but I do think that it's reasonable to voice a different opinion of the whole schemozzle, and to stand up to say what I feel many people might like to say. Halloween is silly - unless you're a little kid, in which case I completely get the point. It has, unfortunately, ceased to be silly in a funny way...Halloween is merely an excuse for commercial enterprises to make money out of us, but increasingly, Halloween is becoming the time of year when people who don't really fit in, try to do so by donning home-made zombie outfits (as perhaps the most prevalent example) and being deeply unamusing.
It's all a bit sad, really.