September 5, 2020: Halloween Aisle-Land

Halloween Die-ary #3

The big change we’re waiting for in a given Halloween Season is for all those green leaves to die in bursts of yellows, reds, and oranges. For nature to say, “I’m all in now, too.” But, of course, there’s a big change before that. The one where corporations say, “We’re all in now, too,” and start filling aisles with light-up skulls and talking jack-o-lanterns, gummy bats and monster cereals. For those abandoned stores in town to get possessed by seasonal Halloween shops.

Despite all the legit problems with consumerism, Halloween shopping is a fun part of the season. Have a random Wednesday night without plans? Jump over to Michael’s or Target or Home Goods or whatever your grocery chain is, see what kind of zombies, freaks, and maniacs are on the shelves and pegboards. It’s easy, doesn’t take a lot of time, and who knows? You might run into something that becomes a part of your Halloweens for years to come.

This year’s jaunts to the store are tough with COVID haunting us . Always in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, is this extremely minor pleasure worth the risk of exposure? Even here in New Hampshire where the risk is low? Really, though, it’s just a bummer masking up my whole family. Seeing my kids with those things on makes me sad and takes a bit of joy out of the activity.

Still, sometimes, even better than purposeful treks to the store are randomly seeing Halloween products in everyday life. A packet of Reese’s pumpkins at the gas station check-out. A cardboard Hershey’s display at the grocery store when you’re only there for milk and eggs. Seeing the Spirit Banner covering the corpse of your local Toys-R-Us as you drive by. It’s like a quick flash of bright red foliage in a forest of uniform green on the side of the highway

Or like one of those hidden picture puzzles, where if you scour your view of the cacophony of modern life, you start seeing triangle-eyed faces and bits of black and orange.