If you’re anything like me, you have a hard time getting into the commercially successful “holidays” while still maintaining your self-respect, especially if you’re single and into your later years. For one reason or another, people find it hard letting go of the loud, obnoxious kid inside that wants to exercise the belief that this is going to be “so much fun.” Well, it’s not, dammit! And I, a self-respecting man, am about to tell you why.
There was nothing quite as exciting as being a kid on Halloween, getting ready to go out and trick-or-treat your ass off. You would spend all day thinking about how this is the evening you’d throw on your cool Ghostbusters outfit. The whole nine yards, too: one-piece beige jumpsuit (not the one with knee patches from overuse), proton pack strapped over your frail shoulders, trap hanging gracefully off your belt and, of course, the night-vision binoculars slid slightly above the forehead just like on early Dan Aykroyd. Then, you’d go out into the night to collect the candy that is rightfully yours.
This was what dreams were made of back then. In fact, as a kid, these were the only things that mattered — going out with friends and siblings, covering as much territory as humanly possible in a certain time frame before moving onto the big candy score neighborhoods. Business was good, and we never questioned it.
Flash forward twenty years, and we’re still doing this Halloween thing? We may not trick-or-treat anymore, but many convince themselves that this game hasn’t run its course, that there is still childish fun to be had. But, why? Well, now we have alcohol, which makes us courageous, confident and, most importantly, uninhibited to make all sorts of wacky decisions.
The alternative, if I may be so bold and revolutionary, is to stand up for your inner adult, put down the glitter and pantyhose, and say what every grown, respectable man would like to say, which is that it’s gone on long enough. Like the dimly lit plot that the potential third “Ghostbusters” movie points to, it’s time we pass the torch to the younger ones and let them have a shot at it, instead of desperately hanging on by a thread to our self-esteem.
First, let’s consider the options: 1) Continue dressing like an idiot to make your girlfriend happy, which is commendable that you care so much. Or, if you’re single, 2) Dress up like an idiot so you’re not the only one not dressed up. Or, 3) Don’t dress up and everybody assumes you’re a fun-hating prick who runs kids off his lawn with a stick in your revealing house robe. It’s a real dilly of a pickle.
So, how does a self-respecting man approach Halloween? Is there a way to dodge the inevitable mass of duct tape and spray paint and still come out smelling like roses, or do we have to get our hands dirty, suck it up and drown ourselves in an evening of fun-sized diabetes and public scrutiny? We all know that any half-assed costume is persecuted for its lack of enthusiasm, and any costume done too well makes you look like the crazy ring leader, so where is the happy medium here?
Perhaps this is all too cynical about everybody’s good time, and maybe I just need to loosen up. Maybe. But I would bet bottom dollar that a large number of single, even committed gentlemen reading this are thanking me, a possible martyr of men’s honest opinions, for having the courage to address the issue.
The best thing we can do, fellas, in my experience of nearly two straight decades of unwanted Halloween costumes and being the recipient of several large dental bills, is to do what we have always done best, which is to smile, nod and hang our freak flags as high as we can for all to see. Simply dress more repugnantly than anybody you’ve ever encountered on Halloween, pray that it’s too much for others to bear and hope you won’t be invited to another Halloween party for the rest of your days.
There is no easy way out of Halloween, gentlemen, only a glimmer of hope that the sick sadistic brain, which you dwell with daily, will present itself in such a horrid fashion on this day, so terrifically awful, that people will know better than to ask you to dress up. From that point on, you may continue the last of your single days wearing a football jersey and carrying a koozie with a genuine smile upon your face. If people still ask, you’re a Bears fan. You can always bring the jumpsuit with knee patches, just in case.
(Pictured above is Matt Branham himself, dressed as a very repugnant Cruella De Vil. His adorable dog Layla had no choice but to join him as one of the dalmatians.)