To an alien species visiting Earth for the first time, Halloween must resemble a kind of sexy war. People and monsters stumble through the streets, slick with blood, knives plunged through their heads, while erotic nurses bounce between divisions, doing a terrible job of triage. Not even the children are spared. In fact, they are frenzied participants, screaming through the shadows with flaming bags of shit or hustling between cobwebbed houses carrying severed limbs and sacks of teeth-rotting courage all night long, or at least until curfew. At the end of it all, everyone either passes out from overstimulation or has sex with a stranger; those are the only two options.
Our forensics swap will be as mediocre as our costume choices!
Halloween is a celebration of reckless indulgence, honoring the dead by living really hard for one night. And while that sounds completely awesome, the bully in me sees other people using it as an opportunity to shed their awkward selves and become superheroes, seductive vampires or Heath Ledger Jokers for a few hours, and my immediate impulse is to ruin it. I'm not fooled. I know that this is just one big live-action role-playing game for nerds that the rest of us were tricked into playing. Well, bad news, dweebs; consider this column the shitty popcorn ball in your bag of candy. With any luck, it will spoil your favorite holiday just a little bit.
#4. Your Authentic Ghost Costume Isn't Authentic Unless There's Poop in It
Candyman, Bloody Mary, Freddy Krueger and all the dead people in The Sixth Sense have one thing in common: They're stuck in the same mortally wounded state for eternity. They stay sopping wet after drowning and keep a shrunken head after a head shrinking, presumably forever. In fact, this particular type of ghost doesn't just maintain the exact same corporeal form; it also keeps the same bloodstained, dirty clothes as well.
Maybe you already know where this is headed.
That's a crucial detail to remember, given that one of the more unpleasant side effects of death is involuntary defecation. Violent death in particular has a way of squeezing it out of people. If all of these murder victims soiled themselves right as they were dying, that doesn't bode well for their afterlife. It means a good percentage of the most terrifying ghosts in folklore are actually roaming the Earth with perpetual poopy pants.
So let's try an experiment: Imagine the Headless Horseman galloping toward you on the back of a lathered horse, cracking his whip made of a human spine. Now, imagine he's got a big dump working its way around inside his wool pants. Sort of undercuts the horror, doesn't it? Plus, the logistics of riding horseback suggest that all that jostling has probably resulted in a lot of smearing and funneling down into his boots over hundreds of years.
So when you're planning your Halloween costume this year, and you're really trying to nail the specificity of the ghost you're going as, remember that all the eerie looks you've been practicing in the mirror and all the fake blood you're planning to soak yourself in can't make up for the fact that the most authentic thing you can do is poop yourself.
#3. Only Parents Poison Halloween Candy
As a child, your parents likely dug through all your Halloween candy before you could eat it and threw away anything without a wrapper. If you complained as they tossed out perfectly good caramel apples, the reasoning was always the same: Someone might have booby-trapped it with a razor blade.
Now that you are an adult with adult faculties, take a minute to really process that logic. Aside from the clumsy way that someone would have to go about cramming a razor inside an apple (blade out), those hypothetical children haters would be making a terrible decision by operating out of their own houses. They aren't handing caramel apples to kids in some alley; they're doing it from their own front door. It's pretty easy even for a 5-year-old to keep track of which house has the cat skeletons in the yard and hands out homemade sweets.
It's the place that screams sometimes.
"But Soren," you're probably saying (except in that "Why so serious?" voice you've been working on), "surely if those stories are just myths then that's good news for Halloween." Well, not so fast. There are still a few instances of kids biting into dangerous objects like pins and poison in their Halloween candy. It does happen, but rarely. The really terrible news, however, is that in nearly every documented case of candy tampering, it was a family member who did it. Like Ronald O'Bryan, who laced his son's Pixy Stix with cyanide in 1974. Or in 1970, when 5-year-old Kevin Toston died after eating his uncle's heroin, then Kevin's parents sprinkled heroin on his Halloween candy to save the uncle from a prison sentence. In each of the cases that incited the whole Halloween candy scare, the Halloween candy was just fine until the kids brought it home.
It turns out that allowing your parents to determine which candy is safe and which is deadly has proven to be more dangerous, historically, than never letting them touch it at all.