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Oct 31 2006

Punkin educement

punkinbarf.jpg
Detail of wacky foto originally uploaded at educe me.

This pretty much sums up how I feel about Halloween. And all commercial holidays in general.

Anne also has a bunch of hideous Halloween costume photos posted. Wait till you see the “free mammogram” one.

35 comments

  1. norbizness

    The good news in my neck of the woods is that I’ve never had a trick or treater in 5-6 years. And even then, East Austin property valuations are low? Weird. I thought discouraging outdoor activity by children enhanced property value.

    My favorite Halloween memory (partially preserved on Flickr) was the time my fundamentalist godparents decided to pop in for a visit when I was about 6-7 and my sister was 3-4 around Halloween time. Unfortunately, I was dressed up as the devil, and further horrified them by mock-jabbing my trident into a Bible to prove that I was indeed Lucifer.

  2. Lalock

    Could you please provide a link to Anne’s photos?

  3. janbee88

    Some thoughts on Halloween:

    1) The slutty costumes are disgusting. Who created this holiday? Priests?

    Ohhhh…

    2) WITH the right people, this holiday can involve some good, scary fun.

    3) Pumpkin seeds are good.

    4) For my yearly good deed, I will be burning the factory that makes the unprecedented (and obscene) amount of smarties.

    Cheers.

  4. Cass

    Well, I still like Halloween, though it lost some of its magic when my parents informed me that all those stories about poisoned candy, and razor-blades-embedded-in-apples were just urban legends. Is it any wonder kids grow up feeling so disillusioned these days?

  5. Twisty

    Lalock, the link’s working, at least in my browser. Click the words “educe me”.

  6. langsuyar

    Got any holidays that aren’t commercial? I mean, I’m just saying. My mom sends me e-cards from Halmark for the most interesting holidays.

    At least this one has dead stuff, and candy. Yay, candy!

  7. norbizness

    I will admit that, after looking at those pictures, they appeared to be taken on 6th Street and not during any particular holiday.

  8. vera

    For Halloween this year we are disabling all the lights in the house so they can’t come on even by accident, thus assuring that the house will be as dark and discouraging as possible. We are taking the dachshund, who barks the same amount whether the door bell rings 6 times or 600 times, and going where there aren’t any trick-or-treaters. An empty office building, maybe.

  9. Buttercup

    last night, someone stole our ornamental fall punkin. it wasn’t even carved or anything. just stole it out of our yard next to the finished mums and took it away.

    I hope they give it a good home.

  10. stekatz

    We did the barfing pumpkin one year. This year I carved a cyclops pumpkin with the fibers hanging out of its mouth. We also took a small pumpkin, wrapped it in a blanket, carved a hole for its mouth, put in a pacifier and set in in my daughter’s doll carriage.

    Now that’s scary!

    Halloween has always been my favorite, right down to the fun-sized candies. When commercialism involves candy, I can hang with it.

    But Halloween Marshmallow Peeps remain a Dark Mark in my opinion.

    I second the motion about pumpkin seeds. Good stuff.

    I do not, though, like the pumpkin stealing/smashing nonsense. Damn teenagers. Pumpkins, at least where I’m at, are not cheap anymore, especially those ornamental ones.

  11. Friggas Own

    Nobody has ever been able to convince me that pumpkins were edible. The seeds are fantastic, of course, but I can get almost the same thrill from sunflowers without wasting a whole gourd.

    I’m glad that my house is the scary one on the block that kids won’t go up to, ironically, it’s the only house on the block that has a witch in it. It’s so nice to have the day to myself, half of which I spend honoring the memory of my deceased relatives, and the other half eating the candy we buy for the kids who don’t bother to show and giggling at how completely goofy Charmed is. It can be a nice holiday if you never have to deal with the comercialized version of it. If only there were some way to avoid the retail hell of Xmas, too.

  12. Violet

    Former cheerleader sues school over fallout from sexy Halloween party pictures

    (Court TV) — A high school cheerleader who was ousted from the squad after scandalous Halloween party pictures of her surfaced online is suing the school district for sexual discrimination.

    In a lawsuit filed last week, 17-year-old Jaimee Bruno and her mother, Denise, claim that officials at Leland High School in San Jose, Calif., selectively took disciplinary action against her and four other cheerleaders after someone posted pictures of them dressed in lingerie costumes at a 2005 Halloween party on a Myspace.com page….

    http://www.courttv.com/news/2006/1030/cheerleader_ctv.html

    Not surprisingly, her male classmates depicted in the photos were not penalized.

  13. Sylvanite

    I love fall and candy, and must confess that I thus do enjoy Halloween. Though we certainly had an interesting mix of trick-or-treaters last night. I’m pretty sure that a bunch of them came over from adjacent, more dubious neighborhoods. I’m pretty sure that one of them was an actual, bonafide homeless person. But, I’m just there to give out candy, and I’ll hand it to adults if they want it. I admire them for their chutzpah, and anyways, it means less candy I’ll have to eat myself.

    I was also surprised at how excited the kids were about getting Swedish Fish. Who knew they were such a particularly thrilling candy among the ankle-biter set?

  14. Ron Sullivan

    We gave out gummi eyeballs that I found at Costco. When the kids are scared of the candy you know you’re doing something right.

    I’ll have to post pix over on Toad when we’re both up and technocompetent.

  15. Hawise

    I bought chocolate money for giving out and then had a big fight with my son about his costume and we stopped Halloween. I am Uber Evil Mommy at the moment. I love Halloween for much the same reason that I love Easter and Christmas- the massive post-holiday chocolate sales.

  16. Beth in Michigan

    I’m with stekatz on the pumkin carving, it’s an event at our house. Must also ditto the seeds, the salty gooodness of the seeds! I’m nibbling some fresh roasted pumpkins seeds right now, in fact. I hear they are good for the prostate, does anyone know if that’s true?

    Violet, “Not surprisingly, her male classmates depicted in the photos were not penalized.” that makes my head spin.

    I was happy that I didn’t see too many junior hookers last night, but it was close to freezing so they may have just had coats on. I like old school costumes the best, our little guy was a robot made with boxes, aluminum foil, a pie tin satellite dish and dryer duct arms and legs.

    We also get imports from other neighborhoods, like Sylvanite was saying, but it’s not like it was when I was a kid. We haven’t run out of candy in years.

  17. ms_mutt

    My college campus completely transformed itself for slut-o-ween. Not wanting to miss the fun, my roommate dressed as the flying spaghetti monster and I was her Pastafarian holloween missionary.

    http://www.venganza.org/

    We got to wear actual clothing while educating people on the evolution vs. intelligent design debate.

  18. cycles

    A high school cheerleader who was ousted from the squad …

    I’m torn. When the patriarchy penalizes high visibility women for having personal lives that aren’t apple-pie pristine, my blood boils. On the other hand, she’s fighting for the right to be a cheerleader. Maybe this will be the event that pushes her toward a less degrading sport. One that isn’t centered around boy-worship and flirty skirts. I suggest cycling. Ahem – see username.

  19. kathy a

    ron — gummy eyeballs? we only got 3 trick-or-treaters — 2 were small polite boys who live on the block, and one was a small polite friend. [star wars and fireman.] i don’t know if they’d think they eyeballs were incredibly cool, or treat me like the neighborhood witch later.

  20. octopod

    Nothing wrong with Halloween if you do it right. Especially not when you spend it with a huge roomful of goths. Really, I don’t think women are *expected* to dress up sexy — I certainly didn’t (I went for a Victorian explorer/steampunk engineer outfit), neither did a lot of people, and no-one said anything other than complimentary about anyone’s costume. It’s stupid that it’s the default option, but really I don’t think it’s near as exploitative as most of the rest of the holidays.
    You know, I’m not sure if I really have experienced this commercialization of Halloween of which you speak. To what extent is this for real? I’ve always loved it because it was just one day set aside for general pumpkin abuse (here, liquid N2 and power tools), taking on some crazy role, seeing other people do the same, and in some cases (e.g. goths in Hollywood) dancing your ass off until 3 a.m. There’s a little commercialization — some tacky decorations, some necessity to buy face-paint — but really no more than anything else, I think. Normally I find myself pretty damn close to the Twisty party line, but I’m not sure if I really get you on this one.

  21. Edith

    I too live on a college campus, and you know what? I saw EVERY ONE of those “costumes” last night.

    And then, in a bad move, I decided to go to the Castro which has THE big Halloween event in San Francisco. I was all ready having the BEST time and all, what with the 300,000 misogynistic drunk people, and then shots rang out. From a gun. And I hit the ground and shoved my friend along with me and accidentally smashed her brand-new cell phone. And now she’s mad about that, but you know, I did save her life, maybe, so whatever. Apparently ten people were shot.

    I am now officially 100% anti-Halloween, instead of 50. If I died on such a stupid day, I’d be hella pissed.

  22. grrr kitty

    Stekatz, I heartily agree with you. Marshmallow peeps should be yellow and peep-shaped or not at all. As far as holidays go, this is about as traditional as I get.

    And pumpkin requires a mind-bending amout of work to render it edible — peeling, boiling, mashing, yeccchhh. Of course, anything will taste good when blended with heavy cream, eggs, sugar and the appropriate spices.

  23. cycles

    Two words: pumpkin curry. Mmmmmmm.

  24. stekatz

    Edith, bummer that you were there when that happened. I went one time about 15 years ago. Even then it was way too many drunks for my enjoyment. With all the news articles running up to this year’s fest, I kept thinking, “This is the end of Halloween at the Castro.”

    In recent years, it seems the tighter they turn the screws on the event, the more violent it becomes. I think I read in the paper this morning that something like only ten percent (don’t quote me on that) of the participants are residents.

    Maybe what the Castro needs now is one kick ass Arbor Day celebration or something.

  25. stekatz

    And pumpkin curry? Yummmmmmy.

  26. Edith

    I saw those quotes too, stekatz, except I think it was more like twenty percent. Which makes me wonder, like, what genius statistical reasoning are they using to come up with those numbers? Are they taking surveys? No one asked me.

    Most people I happened to talk to were, in fact, from San Francisco, but I don’t work for the media so my experiences don’t count. I think those numbers are based more on the provincialism that governs a lot of people’s fears in a lot of places, frankly: “The reason it is so bad is because there are so many FOREIGNERS! People from AROUND HERE don’t behave like that! People from AROUND HERE are good! Outsiders are BAD!”

    (What’s funny to me is that San Francisco types are likely to use that reasoning to say, oh, something like, “What?! Provincialism?! WE’RE not provincial, we’re from San Francisco! We’re super nice to foreigners! It’s OTHER PEOPLE from those OTHER PLACES that are provincial, not us!” Now that’s ironic, not some dumb mammogram costume.)

  27. KTal

    I was going to post something, but my daughter who works at a convenience store down the street just called and asked me to come over and sit with her for awhile, apparently a fortyish year old man has been staring at her from outside the store window. He walked away and drove away in a van, once he realized other people in the store noticed him. A van. It couldn’t be just any old car, it has to be a van on top of it all. A mysterious cavernous vehicle used to conduct all sorts of mobile crimes unseen and unknown to the general public.

    Of course the cops don’t care because he didn’t commit a crime. This absolutely sucks. It could be just a benign weirdo or a real hazard, but who’s to know?

    I highly doubt that men have a heightened danger receptor anything like women have. In fact I know they don’t.

    I was going to elaborate on the point made by Syl about “Though we certainly had an interesting mix of trick-or-treaters last night. I’m pretty sure that a bunch of them came over from adjacent, more dubious neighborhoods. I’m pretty sure that one of them was an actual, bonafide homeless person.”

    One being that homeless people don’t have a neighborhood, that’s why they are homeless. And that not all poor people are dubious. And yes, its damn annoying that they travel across town to pander the more prosperous, but oh well, thems the breaks bein’ middle class.

  28. Sylvanite

    I can appreciate that you feel that the poor have enough to worry about that people in middle class neighborhoods shouldn’t be making any comments about them. I wasn’t actually complaining about “those horrible poor folk coming over to my nice middle-class neighborhood” or whatever. It was just a different mix than what I saw on Halloween in my old digs, just a few blocks away. A number of them were not necessarily poor, just “enjoying” the vigorous neighborhood segregation that Philly still has. I’m not the least bit surprised that folks came over from Germantown or North Philly to Roxborough to take their kids trick-or-treating. Philly’s murder statistics this year have been horrendous, and the murders tend to happen in certain neighborhoods. If I was living in those neighborhoods (we looked at houses in Germantown, and I used to work in North Philly), I’d do the same thing. Who needs trouble on Halloween night? I’m pretty familiar with the homeless folks who hang out in Roxborough (I know they’re homeless, but they do tend to have “home bases”), and I didn’t recognize this woman, which is why I surmised she came over from somewhere else. I was perfectly happy to give her candy. I also suspect that some of the people I see who seem “homeless” are actually from a rather skanky assisted living facility nearby. I’ve been in it, delivering pizzas, and the words “dank, urine-soaked hellhole” do apply.

    I was just mildly surprised at the mix, since it’s my first year in my house. I was a lot more surprised that the kids were so excited about Swedish Fish. I would have thought the Sour Patch Kids would have been a bigger hit, or that they would have been mildly disappointed to not be receiving Skittles or chocolate.

  29. johnieb

    I highly doubt that men have a heightened danger receptor anything like women have. In fact I know they don’t.

    KTal,

    I believe you are right in this; in my opinion, the closest analogy to women’s danger receptors is to be found among my fellow combat veterans and other trauma survivors.

  30. Betsy

    I went trick-or-treating with my toddler nieces. They were a chicken and a cow. Their ma & pa were the farmers. I was the most patriarchal of anyone, I fear, with my shepherdess costume.

    (A few years ago I made this period-correct regency gown, which actually turns out to be versatile enough for successive Halloweens as Empress Josephine, Dolley Madison, Jane Austen, Mary Shelley, Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, etc., etc.)

    Everything was great. No sluts, no empowerful sexed-up younguns. I guess our gang had an agrarian bias, but as WASPs, we probably just can’t help ourselves.

    The best adult costume I saw was Jane Goodall — safari vest, toy chimp mounted on shoulder, binocs around neck, jeans tucked into wellies, hair pulled into ponytail. Very low-key, yet utterly convincing.

  31. robin

    Please post again soon Twisty.

    The sight of that pumpkin barf is starting to bother me.

  32. Ledasmom

    So, does anyone have a pumpkin curry recipe, or are you all just torturing us with unattainable culinary delights?

  33. cycles

    I got my recipe from this pumpkin cookbook, which has two pumpkin curry recipes, one of which is superior to the other, and neither of which I can remember just now. I’ll try to type it up soon, if you’re interested. However, I’m a tad intimidated by Twisty’s food background. The recipe may turn out to be too pedestrian for this venue.

    The quality of the pumpkin makes the difference. You can’t just use a Jack O Lantern pumpkin, which is cultivated for mostly size and ease of transport. Pie pumpkins are good, but if you can find a nice organic “eatin’ pumpkin” from your local small farm, that’s the best. Butternut, hubbard, or kabocha squash also work, with slightly different results.

    I blame the patriarchy for relegating the noble pumpkin to a twice-a-year specialty food.

  34. cycles

    Curried Pumpkin and Sweet Onions – South Indian style

    3 Tbsp vegetable oil
    3 large onions, chopped in half and cut in longitudinal slivers
    1 garlic clove, crushed
    2 tsp garam masala
    1/3 tsp ground cloves
    1 1/2 lb pumpkin, peeled and roughly chopped
    2 chiles, finely chopped
    8 oz chopped tomatoes with juices
    1 c water
    2 tsp dark brown sugar
    1 Tbsp vinegar
    salt

    Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onions for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and semi caramelized.

    Add garlic, garam masala, and cloves. Cook until fragrance develops, about 1 minute, stirring constantly.

    Add pumpkin and toss in the oil for a couple of minutes, until it gets a few brown spots. Add the chopped chiles, tomatoes, water and brown sugar.

    Cover and simmer gently for 25-30 minutes until the pumpkin is tender. Add water if necessary, or cook uncovered if it gets too thick.

    After the pumpkin is cooked, add vinegar. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.

  35. Ledasmom

    Migosh, that sounds wonderful. I should’ve gotten an extra sugar pumpkin while I was getting the boys’ carving pumpkins. “Roughly chopped” – about like the pre-cubed butternut one finds in the store, or larger? Or is it not that important? Is buttercup squash too dry for this recipe (that’s what we have – we try to get enough of it at the localish organic farm to last the winter, and never manage to. We also have ten pounds of carrots in the fridge and several pounds of lovely stiffneck garlic)? I am assuming that canned tomatoes would work all right here, even if not as tasty as good fresh ones. We just ran out of fresh tomatoes, due to the farmer’s market stopping for the year, meaning we can’t make any more chicken with tomatoes (cut boneless chicken into one-inch pieces; beat an egg white w/2 tsp. cornstarch, a little salt, toss chicken pieces in there for half-an-hour; mince two cloves garlic, slice a few ginger coins, quarter some good tomatoes; put some oil in a pan, cook chicken a couple minutes each side, no stirring; take out; throw ginger-garlic-tomatoes into pan with a little more oil and a teaspoon or so sugar, depending on the tomatoes, for a few minutes, turning carefully; throw in a handful of peas, another minute; add chicken; serve instantly. I lick out the pan I make this in). Also no more lovely broiled smoked gouda sandwiches with tomatoes on them, no more tomato salad, lots of tomato-deprivation-related depression.

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