Sexy Drunk Candy Day

A blog featured by our IMC predecessors two years ago touched on the roots of Halloween, evidently for informational purposes. But if we look at the origin of the holiday, and compare it to the simple consumer monster it is today, what does it say about our culture? How did it transform from a festival rooted in serious meaning to whatever it’s supposed to be today?

Halloween started with the Celts many moons ago, over time it was adapted and changed by the Romans, and became what we know it as today in the 1900s. None of that is really important. What is important is how we cannibalized the traditions and passed them along, while turning the holiday into nothing more than a consumption animal party.

The phenomenon that explains this is Social Construction of Reality, but how did it get to this? It seems that most traditions were forged in some pretty substantial fires, but American culture has a way of reducing the importance of history to make some money. The idea behind the tradition is not communicated to growing generations, and the meaning gets lost behind the ways we celebrate. Then the Americans who grow up and pay money to be a part of the “tradition” end up satisfied with their part in the whole ordeal while walking away a little poorer, and just as ignorant.

A Google Search of “Halloween Sales 2013” turns up a link to coupons from retailers pushing to sell costumes, candy, and other Halloween-related things. A short list of the companies offering these discounts are Aeropostale, The Popcorn Factory, Party City, Amazon, Toys R Us, the Disney store, Babies R Us, Walgreens, Land’s End, Pier 1 Imports, Petco, Hot Topic, The Home Depot, Urban Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma, Cotton On, Sears, Roaman’s, and Target. Apparently Tide is also in on the Halloween action (from my colleagues’ Monday post).

None of the companies’ ads say anything about the Celts or the Romans.

One Halloween participant properly respecting the Celts.

One Halloween participant properly respecting the Celts.

Nobody ever told me what Halloween was about. I just learned to associate it with costumes and candy from my mom. It’s kind of like St. Patrick’s Day, which (you would think) is not too relevant to Americans that lack origins in Ireland, but is extensively used to increase sales and get people drunk. The fact is, today, that all Halloween really is about are costumes, candy, and partying. Most holidays end up being just another reason to party in America, but Halloween is the most notorious for partying being its sole purpose.

Ask around, especially on campus, and people will have a whole slew of methods for celebrating the holiday. If a person has kids, they will dress their kids up and walk around to get candy on Halloween. Some folks may stay inside and hand out candy to other people’s kids if they feel up to it. Those who don’t have kids will probably dress up and get drunk.

That’s about it.

I could talk about the implications of the most prevalent American Halloween costumes featured in our local costume shops (which are perfectly in tune with the holiday’s roots), but everyone knows that it all pretty much ranges from “sexy nurse,” to “sexy M&M”  or “sexy pirate” for women, and “pirate,” to “caveman” for men. Most Halloween emphasis is placed on the costume. The rest is on the party or the candy.

It doesn’t have anything to do with any of the reasons it was created. Sure, there’re Jack-O-Lanterns that have survived in homage to ol’ Stingy Jack, but does anybody reading this know about him (assuming that any one of the extremely cool tales about him is the one responsible for the tradition)?

I say, since Halloween seems to just be an arbitrary holiday nowadays, that we change the name completely, maybe to “Sexy Drunk Candy Day.” Let’s reconstruct the reality of Halloween. Why not?

– Chad Darrah

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Sexy Drunk Candy Day

  1. Sometimes we have a dark secret or a harsh reality that we then create a euphemism for (“friendly fire” “outsourcing”) and sometimes we use an existing term to cover for otherwise taboo behavior. Unfortunately, the more we define ourselves and our nation by consumption rather than the higher purposes of citizenship, family, etc. the more holidays become cover for our vices rather than opportunities to celebrate our virtues. Christmas is now about consumption, St. Patrick’s day, as you note is about green beer and Halloween is about exploring taboo expressions of sexuality. Pleasure is not bad but it can be seductive and pull us toward pleasure as an end in itself rather than pleasure in the larger context of virtues and purpose. Labeling all things are starkly as you suggest labeling Halloween could be eye opening! Imagine if we all had to hang signs around our necks for our definition of college, or marriage or . . . .? For some the definitions would be inspiring. For others . . . . definitely reason to pause!

    • Labeling things as they really are would certainly bring about some change. It might be refreshing to embrace our debauchery and true values. We live in a world where many endeavors are sold under labels of ambiguity or complete lack of anything involved with the situation. If the “War on Terror” was pushed on the public as “The War for complex reasons, but mostly money, which viciously slaughters many Americans in foreign lands,” maybe we wouldn’t still be involved in the longest war in our history. The same concept applies to women and makeup, it’s all about trickery. Come to think of it, many facets of our culture indulge in the deceit. For organizations the end goal is typically cash flow, but as individuals we engage in numerous practices, like Halloween, to embrace our desires in a socially acceptable way, on a socially acceptable day.
      Honesty and acceptance (of ourselves) don’t seem to be values of American culture. Trickery and denial, however, are plentiful.
      I’d like to see “Sexy Drunk Candy Day,” or “Get more, bigger, better gifts for others than they get for me Day,” or “Get blackout drunk before noon and see how long you can go Day,” or “Get your girlfriend a sweet gift because every body else is doing it and you don’t want her to get mad at you Day,” or “Grab the closest person and kiss them with no accountability Day,” or “Eat enough food to feed a third-world village and fall asleep watching football Day,” or… Americans are crazy. I would really like to see what happens if we just embrace it and quit trying to disguise everything. I fear that if we did accept and celebrate the truths which guide the masses we would end up in an “Idiocracy” situation. Forget helping your neighbor when there’s football to watch. It looks like we’re headed there anyway, may as well speed it up.

      -Chad

  2. The holiday makes you a part of the neighborhood for a short period of time. You say hello to neighbors you would never speak to or see any other time, you enjoy seeing the kids faces as you hand them a mini candy bar and the horror when they get a pencil or nickel. You and your kid have a good time sorting through the candy at the end of the night and mom gets to pick her favorites along with you! Sexy Drunk Candy Day is only for a short period in your life when you can pull it off and then it becomes about the kids again and putting a small piece of candy in a bag that makes them “friends” for that one second! Halloween, like other stories is passed down and changed so much no one really knows or cares why it comes around but they know it signals that start of the festivities for the next 3 months!

    • That’s fantastic that it brings otherwise unintroduced neighbors together, but if I understand you correctly, it only does that after a certain age is reached and it becomes about kids. So why don’t we just have a “Neighbor Day” then? Since we are just taking existing holidays and turning them into reflections of the garbage we really value, why don’t we just create a new holiday? The problem with “Neighbor Day” would be that nobody would celebrate it, because we don’t value others in our society. Except in rare, life-or-death circumstances, and only sometimes, even then. If I remember correctly, from my childhood, there is still suspicion and discomfort that comes with the interaction of neighbors. I lived in a quiet, peaceful house in a neighborhood for the past two years, I remember a total of about five trick-or-treaters that whole time. Americans are afraid of each other. “Protect the kids” becomes “Fear the neighbors.” I propose a Neighbor Day if what you’re saying is true. We’ll see how it goes when Obama reads this post.

      -Chad

  3. I always hear people say “It’s a day to pretend to be something you’re not.” I’m not sure I buy that though. It is definitely just a day of mass consumerism. Now tell me who is giving out full sized candy bars, so I can set up shop outside and have those little ones flip their pockets.

    • Well, I feel like a lot of days are days to pretend to be something you’re not for many people. Many people don’t characterize themselves by wearing a tie, having authorities push them around, and creating memos and reports for an organization that doesn’t care about them, but they do it anyway. It actually seems to me like Halloween is a good excuse for people to be who they really are, and not just who they have to be to pay the bills. You’ve got kids who just want to eat candy, parents who want their kids to be happy, people who want to make kids happy, then a bunch of drunks who like to draw attention to themselves doing just that.
      – Chad

  4. I wish the real meaning of holidays were expressed and taught to people. I am a preschool teacher and all of the children are so excited to go trick or treating. I do all the arts and crafts that go along with Halloween and even made a haunted house that we will have Friday night but I didn’t teach them anything about the meanings behind the jack-o-lantern or anything like that. I don’t know if that’s really my place because of their families personal beliefs.

    • No, it’s not your responsibility. It’s not really anyone’s responsibility because the origin of the holiday doesn’t even matter anymore. We should just change the name to reflect that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s