Costumes are anything but necessary these days

Jim Lee: Local Columnist

Well, at 2 o’clock in the morning we get to turn the clocks back an hour and go back to standard time for awhile. I’ve been told we get an extra hour’s sleep out of the deal, but how can that happen when we have to wait up till 2 a.m. to reset the clocks? Oh well. I guess it’s just the price of admission for all the fun.

It’s difficult to imagine a bigger thrill than trying to figure out how to set the time on the microwave, then head for the clocks. Boy howdy, that’s more fun than chasing ducks on an ice rink. Chills run up my spine just thinking about it.
As if this thrill isn’t enough for us, Monday is Halloween. I don’t know if my thumping heart can take all this excitement. It seems like we just did President’s Day, and here we are at the second biggest retail event of the year.

This year, I didn’t know whether to write about Halloween traditions, how it started in religion, the costume industry, or quasi-disguised munchkins coming to the door for sugarized munchies with the approximate food value of caramel-coated napalm. Yes, I could go on and on about these topics and many other conventionally relevant themes and subjects.

But that’s just what people expect me to do.
So I think I’ll just make a few cynical comments about costumes. What is it with costumes anyway? Why do kids put themselves and their parents through all that unnecessary stress over something as superfluous as costumes?

Color me stupid, but I simply don’t get it. I mean like I dig making the scene, daddio, but like why does some cat need a costume to like really wail. Know what I mean? Like a cat can be cool without dressing up like Shemp Howard’s fairy godmother, right?

If some local munchkin rings my doorbell because he/she wants some food, the costume doesn’t change anything. If the kid’s hungry, drop a blintz in the bag. Why should hungry kids have to wear a costume to get a snack? It’s like asking a wino to tapdance for a beer. And why do those trick-or-treat handouts have to be something that rots their teeth and makes them fat?

Way back when, even before Chris Stasheff was born, people wore masks on Oct. 31 so the evil spirits wouldn’t recognize them. It was All Saints Eve in those days, the night the spooky-doos slithered out of the peat bog to steal some souls. A guy couldn’t just stand around with a tankard of mead discussing the latest Saxon raid. These people really got scared.

They didn’t want the evil nasties to know who they were because they kind of wanted to hang onto their souls. So I suppose I can understand the tradition of masks getting started. And I can understand the scary costumes as a sort of bravado in the face of hellish talent scouts. What I don’t understand, though, is how the costumes evolved into silly characters. These days they can be anything from scarecrows to Donald Duck.

And it’s not just the kids. A customer can walk into a bank on Halloween and have to make a deposit with Cinderella or Captain Kangaroo. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hand over my loot to somebody with glass shoes or huge pockets.

The bottom line is we don’t need costumes. So if some 60-year-old columnist shows up at your door without a costume and holds out a bag, just toss in a beer and a Big Mac.