Halloween is coming

If any of America’s major commercialized holidays gets a “Bah, humbug!” out of me, without a shred of doubt it’s Halloween.

For one, spiders creep the hell of me out. Anything with eight legs and eight eyes is irrefutable evidence that the forces of evolution don’t get two shits about human aesthetics. Thankfully most (but not all) of the beasties are too tiny to notice in real life, but Halloween season sure loves to force over-sized spiders onto everyone who dares go shopping.

And while we’re at it, I don’t care much for vampires or zombies either. For some reason the mere thought of vampires have always made me literally nauseous, and zombies are gross to look at. That’s not even factoring in how contemporary pop culture, from Young Adult literature to video games to TV, has milked the whole undead cash cow to the point of exhaustion.

In addition, Halloween has a special way of bringing out the worst in people. Take costume design for instance. This year there are guys out there who are smearing themselves with blackface and dragging dolls around in “honor” of Ray Rice. As much as every decent human being should condemn Rice’s violently abusive behavior towards his wife, it should be self-evident from one glance at these costumes that they weren’t put together with the intention of highlighting the issue of domestic violence.

It’s true that most Halloween costumes are designed to be simplified and stereotyped caricatures regardless of whatever time period or culture they’re representing. Costumes based on classical Greco-Roman, Viking, or medieval European characters aren’t necessarily more historically accurate or authentic than those representing Africans, Asians, or Native Americans, even if the latter three groups are considered less “privileged” and needing more protection in a modern American context. Even so, I still believe there are way too many douchebags out there who treat Halloween as an opportunity to mock whatever segments of society they perceive as weaker and beneath their contempt. They are bullies, plain and simple.

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