We Grow Up and Ruin Halloween

Barry Dredze
2 min readOct 31, 2022
“This Ends Here.” by David Lyle

My own Halloween nostalgia revolves around memories of small piles of raked leaves burning in the curbs between the driveways of my old neighborhood. Now, the neighborhood where I live hums with the sputtering whine of pull-start leaf blowers and exhaust fumes carried by chilly autumn winds.

It is bad enough that cynical fear mongers in our News business work Halloween’s turf trying to scare anyone gullible enough into believing that drug dealers are mixing narcotics into trick-or-treaters’ bags among the tiny candy bars and peanut butter cups, as if they would be dumb enough to try hooking kids on their inventories who can’t even get a job flinging newspapers from their bikes.

Still, at every phase in my life Halloween has been the best holiday of the year. But even as Election Days in the United States have throughout my lifetime followed closely on the heels of Halloween, only recently have our now precariously democratic elections become ominous enough to eclipse the thrills and chills of the All Hallows’ Eve spirit.

My wife and I were married on an early nineties Halloween. It was a fun wedding to which we encouraged guests to show up in costume. Not everyone did but the room was still populated with vampires, evil clowns, Cleopatra, a Confederate general and his Southern belle. A samurai shot our video and a Rennaissance Faire refugee took the photos in our wedding album. Most of the band showed up in costume, too.

Nowadays, I have been an elected Democratic Precinct Committeeguy now for over fifteen years running, while my wife serves as an election judge on most Election Days, as well as the occasional early voting polling place. So, Halloween is the penultimate event in our household Silly Season, where now we get the added stress from news reports of open threats against election workers from conservative consumers of a galaxy of right-wing media platforms. I will be paying particular attention to my poll-watcher responsibilities from now on.

In the meantime, we will have to let the others indulge their own fears about their kids bringing home the rainbow fentanyl.

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Barry Dredze

Just another mortal, tweaking my cognitive map on the fly.