With Thanksgiving season upon us, everyone needs to reflect on the various stuff we should be grateful for…things like freedom, lack of scurvy, and the thought that opening a can of Heineken could possibly reveal a hot robot chick who will dance for you. Sweet land of liberty!

Speaking of which, I saw plenty of drunk people out on Halloween night, including a guy dressed as Freddy Kruger who, when trying to prove to his friends he could drive, sliced his face with his knife claws while attempting to touch his nose. The thing is, his costume was excellent, so seeing that accident was like watching a live version of a movie blooper reel. I turned to the bar, almost expecting to see Jason and Michael Myers dismember themselves playing that mumblety peg game where you spread your fingers and stab the spaces in between real fast. No dismemberment, but I did watch a vampire make out with a transvestite nun. Holy crap, Halloween is fantastic!

I have to say that I have more fun on Halloween when I’m out. I can no longer stay home and play happy neighbor. Not that I don’t like the tradition of trick-or-treating, but the rules have changed and it’s disheartening. Take, for example, the costumes. You don’t see ghosts anymore. Either it’s now considered boring, or parents just don’t want to deal with the inevitable cease and desist letter from Al Sharpton. Very sad.

Plus, trick-or-treating has morphed into an example of laziness. I have actually witnessed some parents driving their kids along the trick-or-treat route. That’s almost as un-American as skipping over Super Bowl commercials. Neighborhoods on Halloween should be treated like PGA tournaments, where players have to walk the course or risk disqualification. Besides, don’t kids normally request their parents drop them off a few blocks before their destination, to avoid the embarrassment of being seen with them? Why does that logic change in October? I guess having a ride beats the arduous process of lugging around a heavy sack of treats and therefore (gasp) exercising. We may not be far off from kids playing teeball and using a scooter to get around the base path.

I used to love trick-or-treating. Getting candy for free was priceless. It didn’t even matter how old it was. I remember when I was 9, one crazy lady up the street gave out chocolate-covered peanuts in a “Jimmy Carter ’76” bag and marshmallow Easter peeps so old you could use them to package fine china. But I didn’t care. I devoured them like Rachel Ray on pot, then on Thanksgiving, gave thanks to the doctors who could cure botulism. Good times.

By the way…a bit of Halloween trivia for ya…it wasn’t always called “trick-or-treating”. It was originally called “sweet, delicious candy time”. But then in 1967, a couple in Topeka, KS became the first douchebags in recorded history to hand out raisins and dental floss to kids. When word got out, the tradition’s name was changed to better prepare kids for what may lie ahead. If you hand out things like floss, you should also hand out a rotten egg and/or a bar of soap, because the kids are going to do something drastic to your property, so you may as well prepare for it.

I don’t know why people sometimes give out healthy food and dental hygiene products. Candy, after all, is what motivates kids. Everyone knows that. Why do you think somebody made those stupid candy hearts with the cutesy sayings on them…so kids would care about Valentine’s Day. I have to imagine, by the way, that those candies do not make good Halloween treats. If a parent finds out you gave their kid a heart saying “Be Mine”, the next trick-or-treater to your house will be a cop dressed as Chris Hansen.

But now, Halloween is over, and festive candy time turns to festive real-food time, which is equally as special, seeing as alcohol enhances both. For kids, however, it’s a time for conflicting messages, and I feel for them. After we share with them the delight of treats and imagination of Halloween, we turn to Thanksgiving, when the demeaning “kiddy table” comes out of storage. As the youngest in a very large family of siblings and brothers-in-law, I had to sit at this kiddy table more times than was necessary. I won’t say how old I was when I stopped sitting there, but let’s just say that drinking beer out of a sippy cup is demoralizing.

I personally think the kiddy table concept should be abolished. If you think about it, it’s a simple matter of justice. For years, society has told us that some people are not fit to sit at the same table as others. The kiddy table remains the only form of legalized segregation left on the books in this country, and it’s time we took a stand to eradicate it, especially if some people at the table are so big that they can’t fit all their food on a 7-inch Hannah Montana designer dish. Just sayin’.

I have long since graduated from the Alberstadt kiddy table, but I still want the practice retired. If it’s a matter of space, then why can’t adults and kids mix it up? The belief that adults need their own time is absurdly ironic these days. I don’t see how youthful discussions about Harry Potter and High School Musicals are anymore mundane than grown adults talking about fantasy football and celebrity dance-offs.

Besides, being around kids at dinnertime can be a lot of fun, and it reminds us why these holidays are so special. But I admit the experience may try your patience. So just in case, keep within reach that stuff you apply directly to the forehead. And for good measure, pop open a few beers if you have to. It will help make the experience more tolerable, and it might even produce that robot lady who can then dance around the table. That would truly be a memorable holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Categories: Columns