Monday, October 29, 2007

Personal Asides: Chicago Media Watch Today in the Daily Observer…Do You Get the Idea Much of the Halloween Front Yard Decorations Evokes Adult Immaturity? You’re Right.


Media Watch II.

Chicago Media Watch II is up front and center this morning in The Chicago Daily Observer—

Halloween Adult Immaturity, the Peter Pan Syndrome.

Affluent societies abound in immaturity—as does ours. The reason is as old as the human species. When poverty erodes and ease and comfort abound, the psyche is not tested severely. It goes flabby and decadent. Nor is this a puritanical view. It is as old as the human race. All you have to do is to drive through upper economic strata neighborhoods to see it. Garish ghouls and hangmen’s nooses along with plastic make-believe tombstones are done not for the kids but mostly by adults who haven’t grown up yet and want to play kid.

To anyone with a long memory as mine which runs over seventy years of kid Halloween semi-misbehavior, the distinction between the Peter Pan syndrome afflicting many adults today and the semi-disapproving grouches that were old-fashioned adults of, say, the 1930s and `40s is like a chasm. In the 1930s the Depression was still upon us. Men worked for the most part six days a week (occasionally five and a half—mornings on Saturdays). Worries and strains of losing their jobs or their homes were ever-present. Men and women grew up serious. At the age of 40 they were fulltime workers without much money to spend aside from necessities. Halloween, which began as the eve of “All Hallows’ Day” or All Saints, was a festival for the kids. We kids began raising modified forms of hell usually in the evenings of the second week of October. Our tricks were definitely unauthorized by our parents who somewhat closed their eyes to our tomfoolery but allowed it because winter was coming and that meant long hours indoors with our books.

Our antics were conducted with peashooters—each kid had one (no girls allowed). We each had a bag of dried green peas which we tucked in our jacket pockets. We would pop a small handful of peas in our mouths, roll them around and lift the peashooter to our lips and blow the dried peas against the windows…after which we would run and hide in the bushes, scale trees or climb up trellises to garage roofs, vouchsafing to return and do the same thing until angry fathers would rush out of doors and shout: “Hey you kids! Get out of here! We see you! Get off that garage roof! We know who you are and we’re calling your folks right now, hear me? You’re goin’ to break your darn fool necks ya crazy kids, ya!”

Soaping windows would have to be done fast…zip!...and we’d run down the alleys breathless. It was called waxing but only a boor would use candle wax because it was the devil to wash off. An unwritten rule but important: nobody…but nobody…would wax a car body. Dirty pool. Yes we would tip over garbage cans in the alleys. Then by 8 p.m. we’d go inside where our mothers and fathers would say, “what you been doin’?” To which we’d say “nothin’. Nothin’.” Occasionally the phone would ring and our mothers would get a call from a neighbor complaining about us.

In case you’re wondering what girls would do the answer is nothing. They were all A students in grade school anyhow and would be doing their homework. But the next day at school their eyes would grow big and round as we male types would display our bravado. They would ooh and ah and say, “really? Did you do that?” The beginning of the epoch-old male strutting to impress the sensitive sex with our derring-do. That was Halloween without the adults messing it up.

When we would hit the magic year of 12…sixth grade…it was all over. Never to return. That was the magic year: 12. Then you put away the toys of a child. You turned in your peashooters to either your little brothers or ditched them. Anyone who kept on after 12, running through alleys with peashooters and mouths full of dried green peas, pausing to blow these peas at windows, were judged as either hopelessly immature or somewhat retarded. We then moved to the period which has never left some of us—being interested in girls and trying to act mature.

During World War II it all ended. With a good many fathers away in the service, organizations like civic clubs, churches and community chambers of commerce invented the ritual of kids dressing up and making home visits to collect candy. That was never done in the `30s. Nobody who ran down alleys with peashooters would countenance dressing up like spooks. It was—well—sissy. And you’d rather die and spend an eon in Purgatory rather than be called a sissy.

Now in our age of affluent decadence, parents are Peter Pans, always looking for tie-ins to fun…supposedly to share with their kids but the kids know it’s to relive their childhood. Thus the banal and…I’ll use the hateful word…sissy…adult competitions that are waged for the most innovative scenes on the front lawns. With TV stations showing the garish immature scenes on the 10 p.m. news. Decadence is what it is. No better word.

Usurping kids’ Halloween is just like Little League which usurped kids playing sandlot ball by themselves because Dad wanted to “manage” a team, intrude, relive some of the old days and lord it over kids. Little League is an invention for adult kids. Halloween front porch and lawn decorations is the same thing. Mom and Dad who never grew up want to relive a bit as kids. Actually, it’s disgusting. And it has only caught on in the last two decades when leisure has become rife.

Call me old-fashioned…and you’re right…but Halloween now is endemic of juvenilia for parents. There, I’ve said it.

What do you think? Write your views in Reader’s Comments.


  1. TR--it is a fine line between being young at heart and being outright juvenille. We all live vicariously through others--the joy of a childs birthday, the wonderment of Christmas, and the thrills (and spills) of life.
    I could think of more frightening things--like Hillary '08...

  2. The ACLU and the liberals and especially liberal Jews (sad but true!) have been working their hardest to remove any vestige of traditional morality and Christianity from the public schools for over 30 years now and it shows.

    I remember going visiting the Chicago office of the ACLU a number of years ago and getting a copy of their policy book. The people running the Chicago office at the time were very liberal, very Liberal and Jewish and despised Ronald Reagan and anything that was Christian or even Orthodox Jewish. The ACLU policy book even told you how to go after these moral people. The Liberal Jewish community it appeared was hell bent on removing all Christianity and even Orthodox Jewish values (ten commandment morality) from the schools. Also at the same time all morality left the media the children watched. Garfield Goose and Bozo Circus were OUT and MTV, the vile Comedy Channel, and the Tele-Tubbies with their pinky twinky were in.

    Easter break and Christmas break were out and Winter and Spring recess were in.

    The perennially adolescent "baby boomers" were having babies and were working out their third divorce and the kid were exposed to more and more evil, satanic, and demonic entertainment.

    So the intellectual teachers and librarians said, the Kids LOVE Harry Potter and they are at least reading. Who cared if it was a primer to Witchcraft/Wicca 101. Then there were the video games that focused on demonic themes like Dungeons and Dragons. Then there was shows like the late night WLS Art Bell and George Noory shows that promoted dabbling in Witchcraft and Oiji Boards.

    And finally you have the goth/vampire rage with its tattoos, piercings, music, and innocent things like Love Demons molded out of plastic... just the thing for the night stand!

    Is it no wonder that Halloween is so broadly celebrated Tom. You see the issue is a lot deeper then what you have said for it now goes to the core of the culture! IT is now a religion for many. A culture that is now rancid if not downright Satanic!

    You kick out God and in comes Satan....thanks to the ACLU the Liberals and all their demonic friends!

  3. And Tom, maybe you need to see the show called WICKED... the Musical Tom note that this show is a HIT! Click on the URL to see what it is about.

    The fact that people are so fascinated with this show shows how far things have come.... or even the crowds recently that back up traffic leaving the Rosemont concert of Black Sabbath.

    And just think there are just eager to put in a Witch in the White House.... HILLARY!

    Tom to be "with it" today, maybe it is time you grew a "monkey's rear end" goatee, shaved your head, got a love demon tatoo, and wore a black tee shirt!

  4. I find myself in the unusual condition of agreeing with both Tom and Lawrence!
    A lot has been lost for sure in our poor Nation.

    The best old one I recall is a friend lad that gets a turkey foot, and wearing an oversize coat or jacket uses his one hand to ring the doorbell, when offered the candy dish, pulls out of the sleeve of the other with the claw sticking out.
    Many mothers soiled bloomers over that one!

  5. Henry Hyde who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Honor today.

    Kudos to America's all time Pro Life Representative on a lifetime of work well done including the Hyde Amendment which has been law for over 30 years preventing millions of government funded abortions since its enactment.

  6. When I was a kid, I always used to picture the devil with a smooth shaved head and a goatee. Maybe it was an exotic look back then because men didn't sport that look back then.

    Actually, men weren't into looks back then.

    Walking down the street, how many shaved head, goateed men do you see? Is the devil taking over?

    Maybe not. You see, a shaved head hides a balding pate. A goatee lengthens the face, making a fat round head look more sleek.

    So, no, I don't think men are emulating the devil with this look. In fact, men are emulating women by fretting over what they look like.

    Satanic, no. Feminine, yes.

  7. I agree wholeheartedly.

    As a child, I look forward to Halloween when the decorations were simpler and the event itself lasted one day and one day only. There is something seriously wrong about people trying to remake their homes in the Haunted Mansion from Disneyland. I am also sometimes taken aback by those who want to outperform the State Street merchants in terms of Christmas decorations, but Halloween needs to be scaled back BIG TIME.