Someday we will all laugh about Halloween 2021. We may be laughing maniacally in padded cells, but we will laugh.
I’m sure there’s no need to tell you this (unless you’re living under newspapers instead of reading them), but celebrants this year face a quadruple whammy of runaway inflation, product shortages, labor shortages and vaccine mandates.
You know it’s a challenging Halloween when fun-size candy bars become “mildly amused”-size candy bars, homemade costumes are saddled with a second mortgage, and the neighborhood fiend is forced to inject Twix bars with rainchecks for razor blades.
You know the rules have all changed when Hollywood considers naming a movie “Friday the 13th-ish…If You’re Lucky,” understaffed “haunted house” attractions advertise BYOB (“Bring your own boos”) and your trusted Sexy Librarian or Sexy Nurse costume can’t even raise an eyebrow. (“Hurry! It’s a Sexy Propane Truck Driver outfit.”)
Pale imitations of timeless pranks are another sign of a trying autumn. Yes, it’s hard for young hooligans to procure enough toilet paper to do a decent job of vandalizing neighborhood homes, but it’s a downright shame when a rowdy gang “phones it in” and showers the elm trees with the garden hose while shouting, “Here’s your bidet, grumpy old man.”
We tend to get spoiled by the homeowners who have always had elaborate decorations and bountiful bowls of treats. Don’t hate them if they must make hard decisions and cut corners this year. (“Hey, try walking a mile in my shoes – if they ever arrive. They’ve been on a ship in the Pacific since before newts developed eyes.”)
Some of us even miss the things we used to find annoying about Halloween. Instead of slogging through Christmas and Valentine merchandise to buy our pumpkins, we now must schedule Zoom meetings with those items. (“Are your present, inflatable Santa? Please adjust your camera.”)
The disorienting inconveniences don’t end with Oct. 31. Current conditions can wreak havoc on cherished Nov. 1 traditions as well. If you’re one of those families that makes a habit of scooping up marked-down leftover candy, you may have to wait. And wait. (“I see you’re planting seeds for Arbor Day.” “No, those are my teeth that rotted out from gorging on delayed Halloween candy.”)
Don’t even get me started on how this is affecting the denizens of the supernatural world. Imagine a world where exorcists are stymied by eviction moratoriums and where you can’t even entice an angry mob of villagers to chase Frankenstein’s Monster without a generous signing bonus.
Imagine a world where supply-chain issues make witches substitute paper cauldrons, where Dracula turns off the TV because of the constant drumbeat of stories about emerging garlic variants, where Igor never knows if the Dungeon-DoorDash driver will hump it and arrive on time, where the Headless Horseman is constantly berating himself. (“Dummy. Carve the jack-o’-lantern before putting the mask on it next time.”)
Ah, but this too shall pass. I just hope that after it passes it goes on to its final reward instead of hovering around and haunting us. I want to be able to splurge and buy my Sexy Newspaper Columnist costume next year.
What? There won’t be any in 2022? Or this year? Or last year? Or the year before…? That’s a dead giveaway I need a hearse for my self-esteem. I can push it if it’s out of gas.
Copyright 2021 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. He welcomes email responses at firstname.lastname@example.org.