It's the 28th of October. It's 5:30 in the afternoon.
And people are trick-or-treating.
What the hell, over?
I don't have candy yet -- because it's not Hallowee'en yet. I don't even have a Jack-O'Lantern out yet -- because it's bloody well not Hallowe'en yet.
This is wrong on so many levels.
Come back on Hallowe'en, dammit!
People tell me that they just move Hallowe'en to the weekend "for the children". Little sprogs have school and all that.
And Hallowe'en has become the latest victim of the massive commercial juggernaut that is Chri$tma$ in America.
I say this, because while I was helping Reno put up his Samhain display, we had to go into town for supplies. Stopping at Wally-World we asked a salesdrone where the Hallowe'en stuff was, and we were informed that what we sought was "Just past the giant inflatable Santa Claus."
You know the worst part?
It wasn't that the Chri$tma$ selection -- in late October -- was bigger than the Hallowe'en selection.
What was truly, utterly horrifying was the cute little smiles on every-stinkin'-thing there. Ghosts with charming smiles and great huge ditzy anime eyes. Beaming plastic jack-o'lanterns. And -- the cherry topping the Cake of Despair -- a fluffy, furry skeleton with an idiot's grin on it's soft little squeezable skull.
Oh, the humanity!
Hallowe'en isn't about your little bubble-wrap-and-nerf world. Hallowe'en isn't about pastel colours.
Hallowe'en is the time we set aside to tweak that primal part of our psyche. It is the time we set aside to run little cold fingers up our spines and strum -- ever so gently -- on that nerve marked: Here Be Dragons.
Several years back, Chris and I made a wicked little scene in the front yard. We had a truly evil jack o'lantern set on a man-high stick at the curb. He was wearing a black hooded robe, and was lit by a red chemlight. He was right where the chillins would get out of the car, and the wind made his robe flutter in a really sinister way.
We had ruthlessly dissected one of those little furry dolls with the big eyes that blink, and we had set just the eyes -- lit by red chemlights -- on a branch of a tree in the front yard, so that they'd blink at you as you walked up to the front door.
Swinging gently at the front door was a floating skull with a simulated flame inside.
Just beside the front porch, there was a small trench cut in the lawn where I was laying, covered by a camouflage blanket.
When the sprogs were opening up their bags to get the goodies -- and keeping a weather eye on that evil skull or the blinking eyes -- I'd reach out, grab an ankle and scream.
The shrieks and sprinting children were great.
And they kept coming back. One little bairn and her mom came back to have their ankles grabbed eight times.
For the next six months, people -- children and adults both -- kept asking us if we were going to do it again.
That's what Hallowe'en is about. Goosebumps. Screams. Coming face-to-face with ghoulies, ghosties and things that go bump in the night on All Hallows Eve.
So come back in three days, dammit!