Good morning, boys and ghouls! Happy Halloween! Are you so excited to stuff your tiny cherubic faces with candy tonight? Can you not wait to ring every doorbell within a one-mile radius and then giggle delightedly as grownup “witches” and “vampires” tell you how scary or pretty or clever your costume is?
You poor dumb fools. You don’t even know what this glorious holiday used to be before it was taken over by tiger moms and helicopter dads and suburban dentists. Halloween in this country used to stand for something and that something was revolution! And who were the ankle-biters who brought this beautiful lawlessness to our streets? Kids just like you.
It’s hard to believe now that you’re all numbed out on M&Ms and Frozen princess costumes but your feisty great-grandparents ran the Halloween racket before their Baby Boomer offspring birthed your neurotic yuppie caretakers deathly afraid of unwrapped candy and tree nut allergies.
Let’s travel back in history, shall we? It’s 1905 in our very own “Nutmeg State” of Connecticut. In a town not far from here called Bristol, pranksters had a couple of favorite Halloween tricks, including unhinging people’s front gates and abandoning them miles away. I’ve been keeping an eye on the playground at recess and judging by your poor attempts on the monkey bars, Evan, I dare say you’d barely make it down the block with anything heavier than your own baby weight before calling it quits. Those Connecticut wildcats were also fond of hurling rotten cabbages through the front windows of neighboring houses. Have you kids ever hurled anything in your lives other than when Willa got sick last week on the bus home from the Museum of Natural History?
Moving on to Minnesota, which became our 32nd state in 1858. In the early 1900s, local residents often woke up on Halloween to find their confused cows roaming the streets and their outhouses tipped over. While I mentally applauded Dev’s efforts to free our class guinea pig a few months back he’s a little behind on the whole fine motor skills front and I caught him before he had even fumbled open the latch. Stop hiding behind that cutesy Elsa gown, Janet, and let’s get real about how to spread some shit around this dictatorship we call a democracy.
Did you know that in 1923 in Omaha, Nebraska — a rest stop for intrepid explorers Lewis and Clark on their journey west and yes that will be on the quiz next week! — the police commissioner announced he wanted five hundred of the worst boys in town to act as special policemen on Halloween night? Which of you would qualify for such a distinction? Nary a one, I’d venture. The closest we might get in this goody two-shoes classroom is Jonah with his unappealing habit of licking Sarah’s pencils when she’s not looking, or maybe Yuki and her anti-authoritarian refusal to wash up after art class. Keep an eye on Yuki, kids! This girl is not afraid to get her hands dirty!
Of course, you realize these patrolling children only had fake badges and fake authority, right? This was one of many Halloween attempts to turn you against each other and eventually you all fell, lambs to the sugary slaughter.
One final example for now to drive home my point. In 1948 on Halloween three boys broke into a vacant summer home on Long Island. They did $10,000 worth of damage, including messing up some very fine imported rugs. The only thing I’ve seen you kids do with a carpet is pass out on it halfway through Where the Wild Things Are. Just something to think about.
Yes those glory days are long past and you’ve all grown up with a watered-down suburban Walt Disney version of Halloween. You’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, my friends, and it’s sugar and preservative free — just like the powers that be want it. These status quo parents of yours are trying to keep you in the dark to protect their own precious property and sleep schedules but I’m here to tell you that Halloween is a holiday about adults fearing kids and not the other way around. So when they tell you it’s time to go trick or treating at 3 p.m. in the goddamn afternoon in your gated community because it’s not “safe” at night, you look them straight in the eyes and you say: Safe for whom? You say: I run these streets. You say: I am the law and there is no law.
Happy Halloween, boys and ghouls. Vive la revolution!