January 16, 2013


What the #$@! happened to Halloween?!?

There is something to be said about Halloween these days, but I won't say it, somehow I think you know what I am talking about.

It's all too easy to go with the flow.  People are basically told what is new and cool and how to be hip.  Is anyone ever questioning who is calling the shots though?  Who is determining what colours are going to be 'in' this year?  Do you fear your reputation is at risk if you dare to be different?  Do you think the people dictating the latest fads are afraid?  I think we can all easily classify two types of people here: there are those who ride the waves and those who make them.  If the latter group appeals to you, I might just have something to whet your appetite.

I want to propose something.  I want to try and bring something back this Halloween.  Actually, make that every Halloween.  Lets try to revive this quasi-holiday spectacle that was once a single day of the year devoted to the creative pursuit of scaring people and getting loot.  I have listed a few points I would like to change.


No more prejudice against 'overage' trick-or-treaters!
Despite the greater culture of fear telling us stories of older trick-or-treaters attacking homeowners, a larger presence of responsible parents and young adults taking part in the festivities will only strengthen and help self-govern unsafe behaviour in our neighbourhoods.
News and media sources have scared people stiff in the US where some states have made it illegal for children over the age of 12 to take part and limit looting hours from 3-6pm during daylight. 

Nothing is scary about a bunch of rugrats dressed as princesses and superheroes sprinting through your gardens after school to get their grubby hands on some candy.  Halloween can be the one day of the year you can truly turn the corner on a dark street and run into the grim reaper (hopefully).  Regardless of how scary the costumes may be though, Halloween in the daylight is out of context and should at least start at sundown.

No more handfuls of generic bite-size candy for everyone.

Next year, try this:
1. Reach for the unpopular hard little sugar candies (preferably licorice) but also buy some nice big juicy chocolate bars.
2. Lay them out on a table in your front hall and have a seat.
3. Rehearse your favourite reality talent show host's lines and then welcome in your costumed neighbours.
4. Look each costume up and down and deliver treats accordingly.

Good candy = Great, original costume, lots of character, scary yet polite, and maybe sparks a little jealousy.
Crappy candy = Mediocre attempt at buying/wearing something, impatient, with grubby/scratchy hands.
No candy = No costume, bad attitude, complains about not getting the good candy.

If we all institute a little operant conditioning, we will receive a much better Halloween experience.
A store bought Spiderman or Cinderella surely don't deserve as much candy as anything homemade. 
And a scary homemade costume definitely deserves a bonus!

If people get great rewards for making their own costumes, I am sure better and better costumes will be made every year.  And for the ones who don't ante up and make something, well they won't have much candy to look forward to.  It's like survival of the fittest.

With all due respect though, many working people don't always have the time and money to put something together and might as well just grab a cheap costume on the run.  Now before you had over to the 'Made in China' isle, let me propose a more creative idea...

Try your best at creating something that will make people scared, or even just laugh at you.
If creating something isn't your thing, or you just don't have the time, try heading downtown to see what is 'Made in Hamilton' and you might be in for a surprise.

 Raise the Dead by day

...and night

Each year for the month of October MANTA Contemporary will host a costume sale at the gallery right up until Halloween.  You won't find any flimsy plastic molds here.  Every costume and/or mask is made by hand by local artists and professional costume designers and they are all completely unique.  It's like buying a clever piece of art... that you can wear.

It will make you so much more popular!

Don't you wish you could be this cool?

If you already have a costume, come on over and try ours on anyways, it's fun.  Get your photo taken, and score some candy too!

Don't you want to be this happy?

Look out on Halloween 2013, we will Raise the Dead again!


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