On the drive to work this morning I heard a mention on the radio of the fact that the “holiday season” is getting ready to be in full swing next week. Retailers are very excited because there’s 4% more disposable income this year versus last year. Consumers are ready to spend, spend, spend all in the name of myrrh.

Since when does the holiday season start October 1? If I start hearing “Jingle Bells” or, even more horrifying, “My Favorite Things”, on tinny little PA speakers next week, I am going to be very, very hostile in any given retail environment.

I’m actually a little surprised that folks are thinking about the holiday season already, what with Halloween a little over a month away. Three abandoned stores within a five mile radius of our house have been converted to Halloween warehouses. These establishments have names like “Spirit of Halloween”, “Halloween City” and “Boo, You and A Buck”.

One of the stores have moved into an abandoned Circuit City, which is slated to become a Buffalo Wild Wings, but we have to wait until the Halloween store pilfers way too much money from the sheep before we can get Buffalo Wild Wings. Like an early Christmas, this makes me hostile.

Personally I think Halloween has become completely out of control. People spend hundreds of dollars decorating their house for the holiday. Ridiculously sized gatherings are assembled where people can run around in store-bought costumes and create chaos. Retailers are clamping down on the sale of shaving cream, requiring a license and a credit card dragged across your cheek to prove that you need the stuff. Pumpkins are being hurled from Thruway overpasses and honestly, people are now using Halloween as an excuse to lose their mind before going completely nuts for the holiday season in general.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy Halloween; quite the contrary, I relish the pass I get that for one day I get to go out in some outrageous getup, act all weird and claim that it’s all in the name of Halloween. I mean, when else could a 46 year old man go walking around the mall in a superhero costume? But the mass commercialism and intensity in which people wildly spend money for this holiday is getting a bit out of control. Gone are the days when someone tossed a Tootsie Roll and maybe a pack of Sweet Tarts in your decorated shopping bag. Children have $100 costumes, designer bags and a plan. Throw less than $10 worth of candy into that bag and you’re in big trouble. You’ve let down the Halloween gods.

Earl and I are quite lucky; we have had only one trick-or-treater come to our house in the 18 years that we have been married, and that was the kid of one of Earl’s employees who was afraid he’d be fired if he didn’t cozy up to the boss. Earl and I celebrate the most reasonable way we know how; we turn off the porch lights, lock down the house, throw on some ridiculous clothes and go out for dinner. We then circle around the house and see if there’s any hint of activity in our neighborhood. When we determine it’s all clear, we sneak in the back door and make ourselves at home. We then promptly eat the candy we knew we’d never give out.

That’s the way Halloween should be celebrated. It’s a shame that we can’t go to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner that night, what with “Boo You and a Buck” taking up the store front and all.