Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Perfect Holiday for the District of Columbia

October 31st.  Halloween.   Literally, it means “Holy Eve,” though there are some who consider it to be the opposite of holy.  I just don’t happen to be one of them.

Growing up, Halloween was one of my favorite nights of the year.   It was the one and only date on the calendar when I enjoyed dressing up.  It was the one time where I could collect all sorts of delicious teeth-rotting candy.  And it was the only day when I would knock on a door, only to see it opened by a normally staid adult who was delightfully decked out as a witch or a hippy.   

Halloween was especially gorgeous where I grew up and still live, in a suburb of Washington, D.C.   Kids would line the narrow streets as if they, and not the motorists, owned the place.  The air was brisk, but anything but frigid.  As bad as our summers or even winters can be, that’s how beautiful this city can get in the fall.    

When I think about Halloween in DC, I think first and foremost about my own childhood.  But I also think about the short little scene in the Exorcist, when Ellen Burstyn, dressed impeccably for a DC autumn evening, strolled down the streets of Georgetown, blithely passing by trick or treaters, before she became fixated on the face of Father Damien, one of my all-time favorite movie characters.  Playing in the background to that scene was the haunting sounds of Tubular Bells.  It all lasted less than a minute, but it was poifect – because it left us wanting more.

Halloween is a creepy festival.  But be honest, we kind of like creepy, don’t we?  Just look at the TV shows that people find addicting.  Breaking Bad?  Creepy.  Homeland?  Creepy.  House of Cards?  Creepy.  Mad Men?  Yup, that can be kind of creepy too.  I don’t know why it is that, as voyeurs, we seem to enjoy the “tricks” perhaps even more than the “treats,” but the evidence is fairly clear.  Maybe we just get tired of playing the role of mature adults every workday from 8 in the morning until 7 at night, so when it comes time to unwind and let our minds wander, we’re ready for a little touch of the twisted.

Let it be so.  Tonight, my wife and I will be home.  That means we’ll be on front-door detail, welcoming the neighborhood children with mouth-rotting candy and smiles.  So we’ll be the ones providing the treats.  As for the “tricks,” they will indeed be supplied by the television set.  You see, we were unable to watch the Republican Presidential debate when it was aired on Wednesday night and we still haven’t had the pleasure of hearing these luminaries deny climate change, scoff at immigration, ignore poverty, or waffle on whether raped women are entitled to abortions.  That’s what we have in store for us tonight. 

Trump will be dressed up as a Vaudeville comedian.   Fiorina as the character in Network who is “mad as hell and is not going to take it anymore.”   Bush as a middle aged man who always wanted to be old and tired, but still entitled.   And that’s not even a third of the boys and girls who’ll be in costume.

I have to admit, I’m kind of looking forward to it.  Sure it’s twisted entertainment, but I kind of like twisted entertainment.  Maybe we should have a little Tubular Bells loop in the background, and we’ll be all set.  Let the pandering begin.  I’m ready for whatever these wild and crazy pols will throw at me.

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