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As a post-grad, it’s just not like it used to be. Halloween is still a top three holiday for me. It’s the greatest time of the year for weather and sports. Leaves are changing colors, college football is at its peak, and yoga pants are coming out. It’s all great, great stuff. And you know, I really dig the costumes and pageantry of it all, plus it marks the beginning of the holiday season (and whisky season). I love it. But still, it’s just not like it used to be.
The Halloween fun diagram parallels that of a staircase leading nowhere – just a step off and abrupt descent into the painful oblivion of tempered dreams, real responsibilities, and taxes. Goddamn taxes, man. It’s the reality of the post-grad life. It’s coming for you. That final step on the staircase is college graduation. If you’re not there yet, I’m really sorry to piss on your fire. Just think of it as softening the blow. Harsh realizations aren’t as heart-wrenching if you know what to expect. I will also not discourage anyone from staying on that top step for as long as possible. That step is so fucking awesome.
How I see it, there are three parts to the staircase. The first is childhood, or the trick-or-treating era. This was such a kickass time. Just cruising around the hood in my Superman costume snatchin’ up free candy with my pals, then trading away your stupid SweeTarts and Gobstoppers for your bud’s kingsize Payday. What’s better than that when you’re eight years old? Nothing; that’s what. The second level is your rebellious teenage phase. This is our smashing pumpkin stage. Running around loading up your bag when the neighbors are dumb enough to trust you with the “Please Take One” sign above a horse trough full of Blow Pops. “Yeah, no problem, chief. Just gonna take one. I promise…” Then you leave and kick over a couple jack-o-lanterns on your way off the front porch. Suckers. Good times were had back then, too – not as innocent or consequence-worrisome, but it was fun. The final stage begins around 17ish, at the height of a young man’s sexual curiosity. But holy shit, and a big thanks to the young, promiscuous, lean (yet developed / developing) female form, it coincides with girls’ propensity to dress scantily for that one night a year. This fruitful time in the wonderful life of an adolescent only gets better over the next five, six, or seven years and apexes, like we discussed before, at that final step. This final stage is where alcohol becomes a big part of the equation, too.
Great times. Great memories. Great mammories.
Enter post-grad Halloweening. Now I get my kicks from passing out Tootsie Rolls, Jolly Ranchers and Sugar Daddys to little snot-nosed fairies, witches, and Draculas while playing Monster Mash on a loop with the boob tube on and three fingers of modestly-priced scotch in my hand. My goal this evening will be to not scare away the kids when the door opens and they’re greeted with a slurring, stumbling, terrifying hunk of a man. Not even gonna be in costume, either. Then I have to maintain composure when my requests of, “Please just take a couple” is reciprocated with the double-fist-full-snatch-and-retreat maneuver. They always go straight for the only kind of candy I hope is left over after the evening concludes. Damn kids. When I leave work in a couple hours, I’m going straight to the grocery store to buy an overpriced bag of candy and a cold sixer of craft brew. I might even swing by Pets Mart and stroll down the costume aisle to see if they have one of those sweet Sherlock Holmes getups someone emailed to me the other day. Might look funny on my basset hound. I don’t know; I may not have enough time.
I still love it, but it’s just not like it used to be. For those of you still fortunate enough to enjoy this fine holiday as an undergrad, cherish it.
“For the love of God, cherish it!”