Dave Barry on Halloween

October 31st, 2009

halloweenDave Barry presents a typically oddball view of Halloween in this classic 2002 column.

He begins by telling kids how to have fun on Halloween, based on his recollections of what happened when he was a kid.  Then, because parents read his column, too, he reverts to the primary topic of the day, child safety.

Like all other adults (men, anyway), I’m always ready to recount my Halloween escapades to anyone who’ll listen.  So what if most of it didn’t happen that way, exactly….

Today, of course, the biggest concern is child safety on Halloween.  In my day, the biggest concern was adult safety!  Well, maybe the safety of adults’ property.  The principal’s VW found on the roof of the school the next morning, rolls and rolls of toilet paper wrapped around a grumpy neighbor’s house, burning bags of…well, unpleasant substances left on the sheriff’s front porch, a few eggs flung around here and there, a little sugar in a gas tank….  Ah, the good ol’ days!

Anyway, here’s Dave on Halloween activities:

Gather ’round, boys and girls, because today Uncle Dave is going to tell you how to have some real “old-fashioned” Halloween fun!

Start by gathering these materials: a commercial air compressor, an acetylene torch, a marine flare gun and 200 pounds of boiled pig brains. Next, select a neighbor who … Whoops! Scratch that, boys and girls!

Uncle Dave did not realize that your parents were also reading this column. Ha ha! Hi there, Mom and Dad! Uncle Dave was just having a flashback to the Halloweens of his boyhood, an innocent time when parents were far more relaxed and clueless about what their kids were up to.

“You kids have fun, and be home by Thanksgiving!” our parents would call to us on Halloween night, as we staggered out the front door, weighed down by hundreds of pounds of concealed vandalism supplies, including enough raw eggs to feed Somalia for decades. By morning, thanks to our efforts, the entire neighborhood would be covered with a layer of congealed shaving cream and toilet paper that, around certain unpopular neighbors’ homes, was hundreds of feet thick. This is how the Appalachian Mountains were formed.

Yes, boys and girls, Uncle Dave and his chums sure had a lot of fun on Halloween! And when Uncle Dave says “a lot of fun,” he means, “a very unsafe time.” Because it turns out that we were violating many Halloween safety rules. In those days, we did not know about the importance of Halloween safety, because the Internet did not exist, at least not the way it is today.

Back then, the entire Internet consisted of two slow, boxcar-sized UNIVAC computers about 50 feet apart, connected by a wire. It would take one of these computers an entire day to send an e-mail to the other one, which would immediately delete it, because it was a Viagra ad.

Thanks to technological progress, we have access to much more information today, so we understand how hideously dangerous pretty much everything is, especially Halloween. Uncle Dave looked up “Halloween Safety” on the Internet….

Read the rest of the column to get his tips on child safety, garnered from his Internet research.

If you want to read the real stuff on what Halloween is and where it came from, Wikipedia has a good article.  But that’s pretty boring.  Tricking and treating is a lot more fun — especially tricking!  Maybe the kids will let you go along tonight…if you don’t tell too many of your stupid childhood stories.

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