Here is Mike Berlin's deliciously dated and scintillatingly scandalous piece on our favorite of recently bygone holidays (no, not that one). Thank you Mike, staff writer extraordinaire, we love you. sincerely. -buzzsaw
I sit in the living room of my three-bedroom apartment and stare at the piling dishes, papers, and trash bags in the corner. We live in utter squalor. In a holiday attempt to be festive, three carved pumpkins decorate the room, swimming in a sea of clutter, rapidly rotting away. This is the spirit of Halloween in the den of three college juniors.
My stomach growls angrily at me and I get up to forage in the pantry. On the way, I pass a plastic bag filled with browning pumpkin guts leaking through to the floor from a carving session past. In the true spirit of Halloween, I imagine dust, cobwebs, and flying bats to present themselves in the kitchen cupboard, but instead I’m greeted by store brand Mac N’ Cheese.
Disappointed, I resolve to watch more Food Network in an attempt to absorb the enticing cuisine metaphysically through the television screen. It’s this and the promise of the free food that lies ahead which keeps me strong and weary of the two New York style pizzerias down the street.
It’s Halloween, and me and my nostalgia-starved friends are going to hit the town (of
We had never necessarily lost the spirit of Halloween, but our ideas had evolved. As college students, we became red cup toting, weekend warriors, parading up and down South Hill from party to party. Costumes became a bit more risqué.
I recall spotting Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love at a party the weekend past, complete with punctured veins drawn with eye makeup. In hand, they carried a cheap plastic baby doll, which they continued to throw around and inject with invisible heroin from a syringe stolen from the campus health center. For me, this hadn’t stirred up childhood memories of trick-or-treating, but I’d given them points for the make-up job. My weekend costume wasn’t quite suitable either.
I dressed in drag as Ann Coulter, equipped with a slew a neo-conservative ideals and a sign reading “End Women’s Suffrage Now!” Though I’m sure the residents of
Now, it’s time for a costume change. I leave the apartment and head to the kingdom of standard and cheap—the dollar store. Amongst the instant meal mixes and putrid hand soaps, there lies a corner filled with sparse Halloween themed items. There is a rack of flimsy plastic masks. Each resembles something Tom Cruise would peel off his face during a “Mission Impossible” movie. I choose one at random and grab fake police tape and a devilish pitchfork. A savvy $3 investment and I’m all set.
As friends start arriving to the apartment, it’s apparent that we all are cheaping out on our costumes. Both Steve and Evan are wearing similar masks to mine, possibly costing a few dollars more.
Finally, we embark on our journey with danger in the air as Cassandra says, “A kid in my class said it’s illegal to trick-or-treat as college students.”
The three of us taller than six feet are a bit fazed, but we understand that Halloween is a time to be daring in the face of terror and disgruntled adults.
As the streets turn residential, kids of all ages, dressed as the Nickelodeon characters of their generation scurry about collecting their treats. It all seems the same at first, until I start to notice some children with cell phones in place of parents. One child is even dressed as a cell phone, occasionally yelling “Can you hear me now!”
My imagination goes wild thinking about the next generation of children navigating the streets with their GPS systems, plotting out the routes that turn out maximum candy collection.
We have our own methods, deciding to knock on doors with the porch lights on—none of this “
We knock on our first door, highly anticipating, poised, waiting to say “trick-or-treat!!!” It’s Nicole from Research Methods in Psychology. She answers the door holding a bowl of candy, smiling shame into us. We move on, our bags a bit heavier and our tails between our legs.
The next few doors turn out pretty well with parents complimenting us on our spirit. They hand out generous fortunes of chocolate, as if we had more self control than children. One woman asks what we’re supposed to be. I hesitate and think: unlicensed plastic surgery gone wrong.
Steve adds in, “We’re all 14,” and gets a laugh all around.
After conquering a few more blocks, we turn down another street. Brittany and Evan sit the next few houses out, suspiciously smoking cigarettes on the adjacent sidewalks as we continue to ring doorbells. The spirit of Halloween begins to overtake us and we become quite chatty with the adults, teenagers, and small children who start to answers the doors with depleting candy bowls as the night goes on.
Eventually, our hunger catches us and we pull into a playground to lighten our bags for the walk home. Sitting on picnic tables, discarding wrapper after wrapper, I find this to be a great “young at heart” cinematic moment.
A cop car slowly drives down the street. With the ever present danger of minor scolding ahead we decide to head out, our stomachs full and our teeth sugared. “