A lot of people have the wrong idea about Halloween: They seem to think it's mostly for kids. The truth is, it's as big a holiday for adults as Super Bowl Sunday or the "American Idol" finals.
Some adults love Halloween because it gives them a chance to dress up in bizarre outfits. The fact that many of them dress up in bizarre outfits all the time, for no apparent reason, should not detract from the truthfulness of this statement.
Personally, I've never been one of those adults who wear costumes on Halloween, for a couple of reasons. First, wigs, make-up and artificial appendages make my skin crawl, and secondly, I don't live in my parents' basement and spend all my spare time playing "World of Warcraft."
Certainly, I support the Constitutional right of adults everywhere to show up for work on Halloween in full costumery, if that's what they want to do. Just allow me one minor observation on behalf of the other segment of the population: We find it very disturbing to walk into Wal-mart and be waited on by Elvira.
Another type of adult who takes Halloween perhaps a wee bit too seriously is the excessive house decorator. You know the guy I'm talking about. From about the second week of October on, his garage door is festooned with ghoulish cardboard cut-outs, his lawn strewn with Styrofoam tombstones, his shrubs draped in fake spider webs.
About the best thing you can say about this guy is that he doesn't have any skeletons in his closet. They're all out in the front yard, hanging from the trees.
Then there are those adults who view Halloween purely as an opportunity to advance their own particular social, religious or political agendas. These are the folks who, instead of handing out candy, instead present trick-or-treaters with religious tracts or pamphlets decrying pagan holidays.
This category also includes the health nuts, whose sworn Holloween-night mission is to make sure kids receive something in their bags that isn't filled with sugar, chemicals and trans fats - something like apples or yogurt or tofu.
It's worth noting that the tofu-hander-outers and healthy-snack purveyors rarely spend much energy decorating their homes. Instead, they rely on the neighborhood children to do that for them later, after they've gone to bed.
The final category of adults who probably enjoy Halloween more than they should are those for whom children are merely cattle, driven from house to house solely to collect an ample supply of candy - for their parents. I'm proud to count myself among this group.
Recently I saw a news story about the types of candy kids don't like to receive on Halloween. I thought, "Who cares?" The real question should be, what kind of candy do their parents like?
For the record, that would be Tootsie Rolls, mini-Snickers, and candy corn.
Rob Jenkins is associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.