I'm just going to admit it outright: I am weary of Halloween. I'm not sure what the 'Grinch' equivalent is for this holiday, but that's what I am. I don't look forward to the gooey, slimy, hazardous mess that is pumpkin carving. I don't like dressing up in a costume. I dislike, intensely, the death 'n gore theme. And I'd rather not answer the door 50 times in an evening, only to hand out the same 'assorted candy bar' selection as everyone else -- and to trick-or-treaters in their 20s yet -- at the risk of having my house egged for failing to do so. "Thriller" and "Monster Mash" become as irritating in their repetition at this time of year as "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" does by late November.
Do I sound cranky yet?
I should stress that I remain willing to accommodate Halloween for anyone under the age of 12. I still do the pumpkin patch outing with my youngest daughter (nine) -- although I'm always reminded of the hilarious observation of one of my friends when she was drafted into going along on her school's annual pumpkin-patch field trip. A historian by training, she likened the experience of sitting on strewn hay in the back of a tractor wagon -- shivering in the late fall cold while being pulled over bumpy dirt fields to a designated "picking area" -- to being a Russian peasant under Communism.
I don't go for store-bought costumes either -- except when my kids were very young, and unfailingly wanted to be Disney characters. Easier to shell out for the knock-off version for the Belle regalia than to attempt to sew a ball gown myself. The moment they could safely wield carving tools and come up with their own costumes, however, they were in charge of running the family's Halloween. This year my daughter is going out as 'coffee and a donut.' We've secured with florist's wire a takeout coffee cup to a hairband, which will perch jauntily on top of her head. We cut a body-size donut out of cardboard, which she then spray painted dark brown to look like chocolate; pieces of pink felt serve as icing, and more spray paint turned styrofoam packing peanuts into 'sprinkles.' We'll hang the whole thing over her shoulders like a sandwich board -- or in this case, a donut board.
Okay, admittedly, making that was kind of fun...
I accept that I am completely in the minority in this view of Halloween. When I wandered into the AOL/Huffington Post offices on Friday, it took me a moment to absorb the fact that our news editor had been replaced by Darth Vader (of course I'd missed the memo). That afternoon, I found myself taking a meeting with Elvis and a witch from marketing. Our head of AOL, dressed in full lederhosen, passed by us to greet a group of businessmen in our lobby. At least I think they were businessmen: the suits and ties might have been costumes too. Who wears suits in new media? The night before, members of our team staged a flash mob at a corporate Halloween party (you can watch their amazing performance here). Okay, that was kind of fun too...
Meanwhile, a flashmob of a different kind turned up in Toronto mayor Rob Ford's driveway earlier this week -- in the form of CBC's Mary Walsh. Ford became so annoyed with the TV crew that he called 911. The mayor and the police chief now deny the resulting CBC report that Ford insulted the 911 operators when he felt they were not taking his call as seriously as they should.
The embattled mayor gave no indication Friday he would release tapes of the calls in which he admitted "saying the F-word" but denied using any slurs.
There's an easy way to resolve this issue, Mayor Ford. Release the tapes. And don't pull a Nixon on us. We WILL notice any suspicious deletions.
In other big political news, our Althia Raj was the first to report on the redistribution of seats in the House of Commons that give Ontario and Quebec the edge under the Fair Representation Act.
And as we approach Remembrance Day on Nov. 11, stay tuned to our blog rail for special posts about our troops past and present. And if you haven't already read the wonderful series we ran by HuffPost contributor Daniel Portoraro, about the week he spent training alongside soldiers at Camp Petawawa, I urge you to do so. It offers a vivid account of the daily lives of our soldiers, and the future missions they must ready themselves for post-Afghanistan.
In the meantime -- no, I won't say it, you can't make me, oh jeez...