American Shithole #30 — I’m the Grinch Who Stole Halloween
By Eric Wilson
It’s October, the scary month; the month I typically love for the weather, and loathe for the influx of low-budget horror-themed entertainment. Speaking of which, there’s a frightening new pilot episode airing this week that may go straight to series, have you seen it? It’s the story of a Washington Post journalist abducted and murdered by the Saudis — with what seems to be the President’s blessing.
No wait, that’s real.
The end of October also arrives with the horror of adults (and not just the political canvassers) flocking to my door — uninvited, unannounced, without prior arrangement of any kind other than some quasi-socially accepted con game involving the grifting of my candy — and I’m not having it anymore.
Seriously, some of you are way too old to be trick-or-treating.
I don’t even like it when people come over to bring me stuff.
Jam-jams are not a costume, Pee-Paw!
In recent years, I’ve taken to turning all the lights off and hiding; like a coward. Ari hides with me, and together we curse the once-a-year unholy holiday, where good-neighborly behavior is being unfairly expected of us — roughly between the hours of 6 p.m. and dusk.
I mean, the nerve.
I’m thinking of putting the new Ring app to good use this year, as I just can’t abide hiding myself from imposing adults any longer — even those who wish to separate us from our confectionery.
I can hear my disembodied voice bristling with excitement over the newfangled Ring app already, as I dream of my neighbor’s impending raid on my sugar supply, which I shall greet with thinly-veiled contempt:
“Trick or Treat,” says the aged adult male, leading what appears in my imagination to be an elderly Playboy Bunny by the hand.
I fancy doing voices, and this is clearly a job for John Cleese. “What’s all this then?” I inquire from the safety of my bedroom upstairs, my voice on the speaker jolting the interlopers to attention.
“Trick or Treat?” he offers again, rather hesitantly, while nervously adjusting his blue and gray Batman pajamas, looking a bit miffed that he’s speaking into a doorbell.
“Is that chest hair, sprouting out of your onesie?” I ask.
“What?” he says, staring into the tiny camera he’d finally located on the device.
“Is that tufts of your chest hair, or are you dressed as Robin Williams playing Batman?” I continue.
“Um, it’s my chest hair?” he replies, now slightly more agitated.
“That’s unfortunate,” I purr, “because my milkshake is for the Lost Boys in the yard — and you sir are an old man.”
“I’m not sure I understand, is that a Peter Pan reference? Is anyone coming to the door with candy?” he asks.
“I’ve hidden the candy; see if you can find it.” I state, curtly.
“A game of Find the Candy has begun, will you play the game with me to find the candy?” I ask.
“We are trick-or-treating. We’re your neighbors?”
“I have hidden no candy in the bushes, so there is no need to look in the bushes,” I offer, generously.
“OK, we weren’t looking in your bushes.”
“I didn’t… no one glanced at the bushes.”
“As you can see, the bushes have had a tough year,” I sigh, “the foliage is sparse, and therefore, a foolish place for one to hide one’s candy.”
“Uh-huh. OK, well thanks for making it weird in the neighborhood.”
“Or did you make it weird by trick-or-treating in your eighties? Also, there’s a slight chance I haven’t hidden any candy at all, which means I would have to change the name of the game to Get Your Own Candy, Old Hairy Bat Man.”
“OK, we’re moving on down the block now,” he says, as he shuffles down the walkway. “C’mon Martha.”
“Wait, come back!” I call out. “I remember where I have hidden the candy! It is hidden at the Walgreens, aisle 7, next to the Metamucil…” I trail off.
Yes, I think I’m going to love trick-or-treating this year.
I wasn’t always such a dud. I used to love Halloween, especially when I got to dress up as the devil.
I’m also a big fan of clothing, and October is a blessing of moderate temperature; a final reprieve from the dog days of summer here in southern Nevada — days that seem to drag on, encroaching ever further into the autumn months with each passing year. Finally, I get to put on a long-sleeved shirt every once in a while; walk around in jeans for more than an hour without my crotch turning into Lake Winnipesaukee.
The end of the month also brings with it a slew of new horror films and television shows, which couldn’t be less my genre. Even before this administration, I had found enough terrifying about humanity that I didn’t feel the need to revisit that anxiety as a form of entertainment.
I don’t watch the scary shows or movies I used to enjoy. Not since 2016. After the election I shelved the recently released season of Black Mirror, and those that followed; the prescient genius of the show could only wreak further havoc on my psyche. (What with our country embroiled in its very own horror show and all.)
So I really don’t watch anything remotely scary any more. I mean, other than the news.
Besides, late ’70s to early ’80s childhood fears seem so silly now.
Monsters under the bed, killers hiding in the closet, ghosts lurking just beyond our sensory perception adrift in the netherworld, demons taking possession of our bodies, and the Devil getting what’s left of our tortured soul? That’s basically A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Poltergeist, The Exorcist, and Angel Heart, respectively — and they’re not scary. Not anymore.
I would take any of that shit right now. The Exorcist is an After School Special compared to this fucking presidency.
“Girl, turn your head around, we’ve got real issues.”
I wish America had a demonic possession as its chief concern; versus this exorcism-proof Pit Fiend, Trumpistopheles, we have in the White House.
You know what is scary, certainly by comparison to old school ’80s horror? The inevitability of some of the more terrifying Black Mirror storylines coming true, and the reality of Get Out and the Manchurian Candidate right fucking now.
You know what else is scary? The President, and the republicans that serve him letting the world know that it’s perfectly acceptable to torture, murder and dismember journalists — as long as you’re buying your weapons and apartment buildings from America.
Halloween’s got nothing on that.