I had to excuse myself to get around the clerk stocking new merchandise on the shelves. It was Halloween merchandise. Halloween is still two months away. Aren’t the stores afraid that this will get in the way of their Christmas merchandise, which will start showing up in another week?
But maybe this is not thisˇHalloween’s swag, but nextˇHalloween’s. Maybe retailers are so far ahead of the holidays that they have accidentally lapped themselves. Soon we will see signs that say “Halloween 2011” next to “Halloween 2012” so we will know exactly what occasion we are wasting our money on.
Halloween has morphed so far from what it was when I was begging door to door that it’s, well, scary. Our gang of 6- and 8-year-olds would scout the neighborhood and then meet every 15 minutes or so to trade vital information on who was giving out whole candy bars and who was trying to scam us with a few pieces of candy corn. It was like planning a military operation – to the victor went the spoils.
Our costumes were last-minute creations – a cowboy hat and a cap gun, eyeliner cat whiskers and a lipstick red nose. But we knew we were cute because all the adults told us we were cute. We knew how to work that; there’s no one more manipulative than a 6-year-old. Act shy and hold out the bag.