Thursday, November 01, 2012

Goodbye to Halloween

Nearly  Ran out of time for the modest Halloween party I have been planning.

I can't remember if I have ever gone to a full fledged Halloween party or not. I must have gone to one in college, but no memory of the event stands out. There was a famous one that took place my senior year of high school--even the house where it was held was of the old, dark, spooky, shrouded in giant and spindly trees variety--but you actually needed an invitation to go to it, which measure of quality control doubtless contributed to the higher than usual ton which it sounded like the party attained.

A better video for this song would have been footage of the late 60s era Vikings rushing the quarterback and headslapping and hauling in bombs while diving and sliding into gargantuan freezing mud puddles, but no one has bothered to make one (and I wouldn't know how to, even if I had the time to do such things).

The Ghostbusters theme song has become a Halloween standard in recent years (this sort of recruitment happens when holidays suffer from a shortage of standards. At least it is on the Rhino Records' Halloween Hits compilation.

Not all of Ray Parker Jr's hits adhere to the Halloween theme, but there may not be another occasion to slip this one into the playlist either. When I was in around 5th or 6th grade, a younger boy at school, probably around 8 or 9--he was black, otherwise it likely would not have been hilarious in the least--did a lipsynch version of this song at one of our celebratory assemblies, complete with all the sulky emoting and pelvic gyrations that one would expect of a great performer. The principal, who was a very tough black woman from a family of 22 children whose parents had been sharecroppers in South Carolina or someplace like that, was absolutely splitting her sides, doubled over in laughter, and accordingly most of the other nearby adults were emitting some sign of correlating mirth. It was one of the funnier things of its kind I have ever seen.

There are no good videos for the Martian Hop song either, which is my choice for the most underrated of the Halloween songs, though it wasn't originally written as a Halloween song either, of course, nor were any of these other ones. These products were part of the goofy and highly fecund sci-fi culture of the 1950s and 60s. In contemporary life we do not have much use for these tropes and relics in the service of science fiction, so we have, rather curiously in a sense, adopted them as ready made traditions for Halloween.

This week's hurricane went inland and westward far away from us that we got off fairly lightly. It still rained for a day and a half and a few branches and a couple of sections of the neighbor's fence got blown down, but we never even lost power and the damage in our general area was much less than last year's storm which caused such bad floods in Vermont, including in Brattleboro. Most of my family and a good portion of everyone else I know lives right in the main path that the storm took, but as far as I can tell, nothing unspeakably awful has happened to anyone of my acquaintance, and while Halloween was postponed in New Jersey, judging by Facebook it proceeded right on schedule in Philadelphia and the D.C. area. The impression one gets from the media and the more agitated factions of political commentators is that this is a historical catastrophe, expressed in a general tone that seems unlikely to encourage the kind of unpanicked, sober, responsible behavior in response to the crisis that these sages affect to want. My general sense is that the storm was not quite bad enough to unleash social chaos to the extent that some seem to fear/predict/have a perverse longing for--today's coverage, for example, of the strain the hurricane is putting on the populace featured an account of two women in a housing project getting into a kind of fistfight and the ransacking of a pharmacy, which does not strike me as forboding the complete collapse of civil society. But I am going to wait a few days and see how this plays out.

No comments: