Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, and Michael Myers kill kids rushing to become adults. Is it too much to ask of the ghoulish trio to apply their talents toward adults rushing to become kids?
The grownups who have decimated the ranks of trick-or-treaters by aborting 10 million of them in the last decade offer penance for their sins against Halloween by dressing up in place of the missing children. The National Retail Federation estimates that adults will spend $1.4 billion on their own Halloween costumes this year. That’s $1.4 billion that they could have spent on man-cave clubhouses, a huge birthday party, a collection of Care Bears, or some other pastime recently favored by adults.
One way thirtysomething Halloween enthusiasts recoup the money spent on costumes involves not dispensing candy. One can’t help but notice the same couples, dressed in the late night as a sexy Ebola nurse and her doting patient, hiding in their kitchens with the lights out earlier in the evening when the doorbells ring.
A more mature culture looked the other way, in tacit approval, as sophisticated bands of kids egged the homes of killjoys. The authorities now dub such clearly adaptive responses to the Halloween Grinches as maladaptive, harshly regulating the behavior of the unbadged behavioral regulators. Candy Scrooges, and even generous distributors of candy corns, Bit-O-Honeys, black licorice, Necco Wafers, and other alleged edibles last found delicious in 1924—not to mention misguided dispensers of apples and other healthy “treats”—also escape the wrath of righteous vandals.
As society became stricter toward the misbehavior of juveniles it grew more tolerant of the delinquency of grownups.
Popular costumes this All Hallow’s Eve include Ray Rice and his battered bride, done in blackface by those further advertising their tastelessness, ISIS terrorists and their orange-suited captives, and the perennial favorite: prostitute. But Peter Pan remains the most popular, nay, universal getup of adult revelers.
Society appears beset by myriad identity disorders and too eager to label the clear-headed confused. A recent story highlighted the alleged racial confusion of well-mannered, well-spoken, well-educated Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. Men now dress up earnestly as Milton Berle once did for laughs. But age, not race or sex, plays as the role that confuses the culture most.
Many causes suggest a singular conclusion: Halloween isn’t what it used to be. Neither are we.
The decimation of the ranks of children leaves us with fewer kids and more adult imitators. The lucky ones protected in the womb grow up overprotected outside of it. An adult-surveilled childhood responsible for structured playdates, chauffeured trips to school, and digital babysitters shielding youngsters from the fresh air may also be responsible for the delayed childhoods of adults earlier denied them. It’s also hard to not conclude that a society mired in gadgets and amusements quite naturally favors frivolity. And marriage, an institution known to quickly mature its partners, elicits more “I don’ts” than ever.
Surely the National Parent sets a bad example here. Pajama Boy, that cradle-to-grave sponge “Julia,” and the health-care act regarding 26-year-olds as dependents entitled to coverage from their parents’ insurance plans all recast adolescence long beyond its biological boundaries—25 is the new 12.
This manifests itself most glaringly tonight. Even a curmudgeon can tolerate a public masquerade party, particularly one attended by French Maids, Catholic school girls, and Pocahontases, once a year. Can the Benjamin Button hipsters stomach masquerading as adults the other 364 days?