Pat's View: The Halloween Scene
By Pat Cashman
It is hard to believe that decision day is at hand. There are an abundance of conflicting issues to sort through---and it’s no longer OK to be uncommitted, undecided. The time is now to make a choice.
I am of course referring to Halloween, 2016.
For adults the debate is unceasing: Should kids be allowed to trick-or-treat for candy---or is Halloween tantamount to consorting with Satan? (Here is a made-up statistic: 57% of dentists say that Satan is the cause of tooth decay.)
Halloween goes back to the ancient Druids. As it turns out, most Druids are ancient---even though there are always efforts to start Young Druid clubs in local high schools.
The ancient Druids believed that on Halloween the Lord of the Dead called forth the hosts of evil spirits. I caught up with the Lord of the Dead by phone last week---who despite the name seemed like a pretty nice guy.
“Those evil spirits went door to door in search of candy,” said the Lord of the Dead.
“Evil spirits have always needed their sugar fix. Even good spirits like a tasty Tootsie Roll once in awhile. So after we got it going, Halloween just seemed to catch on.”
I thanked the Lord of the Dead for the phone conversation. He told me to lose his number.
The other major issue confronting us every Halloween revolves around exactly what costumes to wear. Since this is---breaking news---an election year, many little kids will be forced to go out dressed like whomever their parents support---or abhor---for president.
Costume companies are offering many versions of both Trump and Clinton masks---some flattering, some not so much. For example---not made-up---there is the “Tax Evasion Trump” mask, sitting on the shelf next to the “Cackling Hillary Clinton.” A creative neighbor down the street has designed a two-headed person get-up for his four year-old, sporting both the Trump and Clinton masks. After all, being bipartisan insures maximum success obtaining candy.
It is reported that both masks are selling briskly right now. (Incidentally, Halloween stores might be one of the shortest-lived seasonal retail businesses---behind those for “National Plum Pudding Day”, February 12th, and “National Lumpy Rug Day”, May 3rd. Yes, real holidays.)
Spirit Halloween---a costume maker---claims that since 1996 the sales of presidential candidate masks have accurately presaged the outcome of the election. Their so-called Presidential Mask Index correctly predicted the Obama wins over both Romney and McCain; Bush’s over Kerry and Gore---and Bill Clinton’s win over Bob Dole. (Since the company is only 33 years old, they did not foresee Ulysses S. Grant’s massive victory over Horatio Seymour.)
This year, Trump masks are outselling Hillary Clinton models by 30%. Of course, that does not account for the margin of error. Or the Gary Johnson masks.
However, very few young trick-or-treaters really seem to care a bit about political candidates. Kids have their minds on Dum Dum’s, Goobers and Sugar Daddies. (The preceding is not intended as a mean-spirited partisan political remark---but merely as a short list of popular candies. Feel free to substitute with Airheads, Jaw Breakers, Nerds or Wax Lips.)
Since I was still trick-or-treating while attending college, I personal can attest that costumes are not top of mind for most kids. Costumes are merely a means to an end.
And while on the subject, it’s time to make a major demand: Big candy companies must stop using the label “Fun Size.” Every kid is on to you. They know that “Fun Size” is just code for cheap, inadequate and skimpy. “Fun Size” means small, tiny and embarrassing versions of real candy bars---and everybody knows it. This has been a public service announcement.
Meanwhile, insider information suggests that a few Seattle-area folks are moving beyond the cliché’ Trump and Hillary masks---although they are still selling better than the Rand Paul toupee’s.
But look for some local trick-or-treaters to be wearing outfits depicting some of our state’s “down-ballot” choices. I believe that on Halloween night in the 8th congressional district, you will either see lots of kids dressed as Pramila Jayapal and Brady Walkinshaw---or none. I stand by my prediction.
The kid who lives across the street from us is dressing as Governor Jay Inslee---his brother, as Bill Bryant. Their little sister is going as Initiative 1501.
I am still sheepish about Halloween night several years ago. I opened the front door to find a small person in a charming Senator Patty Murray outfit. I made a comment about the little costume---and that proved embarrassing.
How was I supposed to know the real Senator Murray would be out doorbelling on Halloween night?
Pat can be seen on the TV sketch show “Up Late NW” airing Saturdays and Sundays on KING 5 and throughout Washington and Oregon. He also co-hosts a weekly on-line talk show: http://www.Peculiarpodcast.com