The Ultimate Scare: Candy from the Mall

Well folks it’s inching towards October 31st and I hope you are all happy with yourselves. Not content with killing the true meaning of Christmas (you know…that feeling you get when you pretended to be surprised after unwrapping a toy that you had begged and begged your parents for for 11 months) now you have gone and executed the visceral joy that was All Hallows Eve. So now that you’re all completely protected and safe from the horrors of razor blade apples ( a non-existent urban myth) and strangers poisoning candy (1 reported incident and it was a FAMILY MEMBER trying to cash in insurance money.), we are all free and able to take our children to a place that truly inspires fear: your local mall. Upon our arrival in Visalia 3 years ago, we decided to take our kids trick or treating in the supposedly affluent side of town at the suggestion of a co-worker. What we found were empty streets and lonely street lamps standing around as if to say “this is scary, no? I mean aside from the fact that I can talk. I’m just a street lamp and I’m frickin’ scared…hold me?”. Imagine my fear when I heard that most kids just go to the mall to have underpaid retail store employees joylessly (and lets not forget safely) hand them candy. Now I may be old but when I was a kid, we actually dared to leave the house with a bag and knock on our neighbors’ doors (gasp!) expecting candy and hoping for a little something more; the possibility of being scared. To me, this is what Halloween is all about, the thrill of being scared..although it’s more traditional origins stem more from the pagan Day of the Dead in which costumes and decorations were meant to scare off the spirits purported to be visiting us around that time of year. But I’m not going that far back…jeez, I mean how old do you think I am? To me the tradition of trick or treating is entirely suffocated when you confine it to something as banal as the mall. I mean, what the heck is so scary there? That weird cheese they serve in cups at the pretzel store? Ok, I’ll grant you that but besides that and all the wandering extras from a music video…what is there? The scariest thing I ever saw in a mall was in “Dawn of the Dead” and those were zombies in a movie, not food court employees in real life (though their markings are similar) So I say: let’s bring it back! If anyone comes to your door this Halloween, make sure you scare the living crud out of them. Lets do it and do it soon…before our kids end up at WalMart or even a Super Target, lifelessly holding out a pre-printed Disney bag asking for candy, smug in the assumption that they will get exactly that…and not a thing more.

-Barkos

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