Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Halloween is getting old ...and those who love it are getting older

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — It could be the early deadline pressures, or maybe it’s just that real life has gotten so scary.
Somehow, I had trouble getting in the mood for Halloween this year. As I made the early rounds in September to research stories, I found I wasn’t alone.
In some quarters, the moods I encountered were akin to Christmas levels of angst and depression.
Or maybe it’s a generational thing.
I love Christmas, and motherhood and grandmotherhood have only enhanced my passion for my favorite holiday, much, I suspect, to the displeasure of my Grinchy friends and relatives.
But I must admit, I haven’t ever felt quite the same way about Halloween. And my interest dropped further when I, like most Baby Boomers and earlier generations, put away what were then considered childish things, like Halloween, around age 11 or 12.
But in recent years, the ages limits have lapsed. Halloween enthusiasms seem to peak in young adulthood and threaten to flourish well into middle age and beyond. In many surveys, adults list Halloween as their favorite holiday, surpassing all other celebrations by healthy margins — even Christmas, gasp!
In fact, most of the local costume emporiums seem to be frequented by a lot more adults and teens these days. If you encounter a family shopping with young children, chances are they’re looking for costumes for everybody: mom, dad, the kids and maybe a pet or two.
Some of the displays are decidedly adult, too, featuring oo-la-la sexy ensembles, scatological and verging-on-blue outfits and props and gore so extreme that many items could induce all-ages nightmares. It might be worth a preliminary scouting trip before you take the little kids on costume expeditions.
And adults are really into decorating, too. People start planning their gore décor months in advance and Halloween displays and specialty stores now typically offer their scary wares by early August or late July.
We may soon find ourselves planning for Halloween in the spring, if it follows the jump-the-gun pattern of year-end holidays … or perpetual presidential and congressional campaigns, speaking of scary concepts.
Backing up the polls revealing massive voter discontent, there is also Halloween-related evidence that the public has soured on politicians.
Masks of political leaders, usually early best-sellers, are gathering dust this year. Obama isn’t moving, and neither are masks of Bush or Clinton. Even Abraham Lincoln and George Washington masks are being ignored in favor of various superheroes, zombies and Angry Birds.
Maybe this is the year we should all go minimalist and punch a couple of holes in an old sheet and be ghosts. Or send a message by donning deathly green hands or feet and adding masks of our least-favorite political figures to become zombie politicians.
Personally, I’m working on minimizing stress and maximizing limited, recessionary budgets with some year-round seasonal decorating strategies.
We all know those people who wait several months to take their Christmas lights down. Why not invest in programmable LED lights that will work for every holiday?
We could flash red and green for Christmas, segue into just red for Valentine’s day, green for St. Patrick’s Day, purple and pastels for Easter, red, white and blue for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, orange and black for Halloween, blue and white for Hanukkah … you get the idea.
Let me know if you have some great ideas for simplifying holiday excess. And have a happy, basic Halloween.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

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