Every year, Halloween restores my faith in the good sense of the American people. The street spectacle persuades me anew that citizens of this great country are not likely to espouse ideologies borne of high-sounding madness.
The main street of Santa Cruz is closed to traffic Halloween day and evening. In the daytime, there are swarms of costumed kids collecting candy from local businesses, There are many parents and grandparents accompanying them, as well as young adults on their own. Many mothers put on a costume to get into the spirit of things and to coax their shy children into their costumes. Some of them are obviously thinking, “What was I thinking?” come full afternoon light. Others are having a great time. Among females between 15 and fifty, I estimate that sluts outnumber witches five or six to one. By the way, this is not an original observation. I am only confirming the report of a young journalist in the local Santa Cruz newspaper. Feminism: 0; Nature: 1 ! Most touching are the feverish herds of teen-age girls who expect both the benefits of exhibitionism and candy. Bless their palpitating little hearts!
I see many inventive costumes. I see many more in deplorable bad taste I don’t deplore because they tell me this is still the America I love. It hasn’t been Frenchified the way East Coast elite Democrats would like it. I am pretty sure that if there were Halloween in France, adults would all be elegantly costumed. In many cases, so elegantly, you might not even be able to tell they were costumed at all. Among many excesses, is a predictable one: Far too many fat women costumed as… skankish fat women. There is also the young woman disguised as a pregnant woman. I compliment her on how realistic her attire is. Oops, she is actually pregnant!
Other observations. In contradiction with the fears of the xenophobic branch of conservatism, acculturation is proceeding just fine. Lots of Spanish-speaking families downtown. It’s not clear what the parents think of this English tradition so much at variance with their own traditions. Most are of Mexican origin. At this time of year, they would picnicking on the graves of their grandparents. There would be sweets too but in the shape of skulls.
The Hispanic kids go to school. They are not going to let themselves be kept away from the candy stream into which their Anglo friends are swimming freely. Their costumes are the same as everyone else’s with one difference: There are many brides of Dracula with blood red mouths among little Hispanic girls. Don’t read any deep cultural meaning into this fact. They come mostly from Catholic families that celebrate major religious events in the old way. Accordingly, the little girls wear a whole bridal outfit for their First Communion. It’s not obvious what you do with the costly outfit afterwards if there is no younger sister or cousin. Halloween is a good occasion to recycle. You can tell recent Mexican immigrants (probably mostly illegals) because they line up the sidewalks slack-jawed. If we were really a mean, racist society, we could just scoop up anyone who is neither costumed nor walking. There would be no need for racial profiling.
As always, I pay attention to what I would expect to be there but isn’t. Not a single mask of President Obama. Might be remaining religious fervor; might be sheer embarrassment and buyer’s remorse in this progressive, green town. It’s hard to tell. The fact is that I have had an abject bumper sticker on my truck for two weeks. It reads: OBAMINATION. HE IS A DISASTER. I made it myself. I think that six months ago, the sticker would have got me stoned. To-date, it has only drawn one mild oral rebuke, at a stoplight. Perhaps, the tide is turning.