me in the piazza

I'm a writer, publishing both as SJ Rozan and, with Carlos Dews, as Sam Cabot. (I'm Sam, he's Cabot.) Here you can find links to my almost-daily blog posts, including the Saturday haiku I've been doing for years. BUT the blog itself has moved to my website. If you go on over there you can subscribe and you'll never miss a post. (Miss a post! A scary thought!) Also, I'll be teaching a writing workshop in Italy this summer -- come join us!
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Recently I haven't been a big fan of Halloween. As a kid I loved it. We made costumes out of whatever our folks had around the house (though we were allowed to buy greasepaint makeup sticks from the candy store). We'd roam the neighborhood with our UNICEF boxes in one hand and our shopping bags in the other, coming home with pounds of coins we took to school the next day to send to the UN and pounds of candy we tried to figure out how to keep our hands on past the next couple of days, before the adults decided enough was enough. My big brother always hid his inside his toy garbage truck. My best costume was when I was nine and my good friend, the boy across the street, was ten. I dressed as Dr. Frankenstein and he went as my monster. We were great.

Lately, though -- by which I mean, the last fifteen or twenty years -- the costumes are all store-bought and the emphasis has shifted from fear to death. Gory death, at that. Ghosts in white sheets are one thing; bloody-mouthed zombies are another; and styrofoam tombstones for your front lawn that say "R.I.P." and have body parts scattered on them aren't funny. So I've disliked the holiday and avoided it.

But now something else is happening, too. In NYC at least, Halloween has become as much a holiday for adults as for kids. Since Friday night it's been impossible to walk down the street here without running into Tinkerbell (as often as not, a guy) or a group of dominoes. Or a Domino's Pizza walking hand-in-hand with Han Solo. There's lots of screaming and laughing and drinking. So I'm thinking, here's another shift. Not just costumes, but maybe, if this goes on, something we've never had in this country except for Mardi Gras in New Orleans: a full-bore Bacchanalia. A twenty-four, or forty-eight, or however many hour, limited and sanctioned time for adults to lose control in a controlled manner. To run around costumed, drunk and screaming. And then when it's over, to knock it off. Would that be bad? I'm not sure it would.

So, in musing, possibly revisionist pro-Halloween spirit, I offer you my neighbor's front stoop.


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