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MCCULLOUGH: Give a little bit of Halloween back to the kids

Nate McCullough

Nate McCullough

I know a lot of you are nursing hangovers induced by blood-red drinks, blue drinks, green drinks and black drinks and you’d just as soon not hear the word Halloween again until next year. I know the holiday is over. But this is when my column runs and I want to talk about Halloween.

I love Halloween. In the past I’ve dressed up and gone to parties, gone to haunted houses, held horror movie marathons and done other fun things to mark the spooky day. After I became a father I took my daughter to fall festivals (remember when those were called Halloween carnivals?) and trick-or-treating, which is especially fun in the little town of Statham because the city does it up right.

As much as I enjoy celebrating Halloween as an adult — and it is most definitely an adult holiday now — it’s the Halloween of my childhood I found myself missing this October.

I guess it’s just nostalgia. Maybe it’s that longing for simpler days that we adults tend to get as we age. Whatever it is, it’s the same thing in me that makes me wish I could play one more inning of Little League baseball or have just one more day when the biggest responsibility I had was deciding if I was going to ride my bike or play with Hot Wheels.

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to dress up one more time in one of those flimsy polyester costumes and a plastic mask held on by a little white rubber band. How wonderful it would be to walk just once more up and down the street, going to every single house. Yes, every house, because in the ’70s everyone on my street expected and greeted trick-or-treaters. Nowadays, half the neighborhood turns out the porch light because they either don’t want to be bothered or the preacher told them they were going to Hell if they participated.

And let me take a moment to address that last part. When I was a kid, everyone went trick-or-treating. Most people put out jack 0’ lanterns. A lot of people dressed up. And all those same people went to church on Sunday. For Pete’s sake, my Granny, who might just be the most Christian, God-fearing lady in the universe, used to dress up as an old witch for Halloween.

Back then, you see, we understood that it was just for fun, that no one was dressing up their kid in a Dracula costume, taking them trick-or-treating, and then taking them back home to sacrifice the candy to Satan. Nowadays, to hear all the proclamations from the pulpit, you’d think even the babies dressed as poodles and koala bears were minions of the devil.

But I will say this: I can understand how the more devout among you could see a little something wrong with Halloween because there is a third reason why people turn out the porch light these days. It’s because they’re at a party, and it’s likely an adult party where no skirt extends much past the parts it was supposed to cover and the only thing the party is more awash in than booze is spandex, fishnets and cleavage.

Granny dressed up as an old witch. She did not dress up as a sexy witch, which is apparently women’s only choice in costumes these days. Sexy.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for sexy. But every single costume, whether it’s a teacher, a police officer or a lumberjack, comes in a sexy version these days. I read online that, if you’re feeling super patriotic, you can go as sexy George Washington. Not Martha. George.

And it doesn’t matter the age. You can dress your kindergartner as a sexy nurse if you so desire. And if you want, you can dress up, too, and go trick-or-treating yourself. Oh yes, on more than one occasion I’ve seen adults trick or treating in the past few years.

So maybe we adults should pull back a little. We don’t have to surrender Halloween completely. But maybe we ought to give a little bit more of it back to the kids. Take some of the slutty and stupid out and put some of the fun back in. Not make it political or a pain. Just make it fun.

Who knows? We do that and Granny might just break out the witch costume one more time.

Email Nate McCullough at nate.mccullough@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.