Cardella: Halloween Monsters

By Tom Cardella

Folks — Do we really need a holiday that celebrates witches and goblins? In this day and age, do we need to create fictional reasons to be scared? Our real lives aren’t scary enough? I don’t mean to be a killjoy, but I’m trying to figure out why we need Halloween.

Did someone decide that our kids were NOT ingesting enough sugar so we just had to give them candy? There’s a status system that has developed surrounding the tradition of “trick or treat.” The folks who give out full-size SNICKERS bars have somehow become the secular equivalent of Mother Theresa. It’s my belief that these seemingly magnanimous people are not humanitarians at all; they’re dentists. By all means, give the kids giant chocolate bars and make sure their parents will soon have to dole out a thousand or two to fix their kids’ rotting teeth. How about we mandate that all of you who oppose the soda tax chip in to pay the damned dental bills?

Have you ever thought about what’s behind the “trick or treat” message of the youngsters at your front door? Intimidation. Bullying. Not gonna fork over the “treat” (candy)? Okay, you just might get a trick played on you. And I’m not talking a magic trick.

Pundits worry about a divided America. We have two Halloweens in my neighborhood. UNOFFICIAL Halloween is a secret date established by the general neighborhood in meetings likely held in the dead of night. Unofficial Halloween is just for neighborhood kids. Visiting houses is done in the daytime. Usually on a weekend. Confined to the neighborhood. Ostensibly that’s for safety reasons. We’ve all been scared to death by media reports of razors in apples and the like. Turns out the number of incidences of that sort is vastly exaggerated. Your kid has a better chance of getting tooth decay from Halloween than being lacerated by apples.

OFFICIAL Halloween is held on the traditional October 31st date. This is for kids from outside your neighborhood who visit in droves at night. America being what it is today, many folks turn off their porch lights and don’t acknowledge these kids, who are likely from poorer neighborhoods. Some folks will hand out candy on official Halloween, but only if you meet certain criteria. Halloween trick or treaters must wear a “costume.” The definition of “costume” is very flexible. Is merely wearing a mask enough? How about just a sheet? Sometimes these protectors of the Halloween tradition also require that only children get candy. No Kit-Kats for adults. Halloween, for them, is their chance to be “Grinchy.” Hey, why should Halloween be any different from the way some of us act the other 364 days of the year?

Halloween and horror movies naturally go together. I’ve never quite understood our celluloid monsters. They’re a lot less scary than the real monsters in our lives. Take zombies for instance. Is there anyone who can’t outrun a zombie? Same thing for The Mummy. The Mummy isn’t going to remind anyone of Usain Bolt. And why is it there’s only one Mummy? Archaeologists have “disturbed” lots of tombs over the years, but strangely only one of the mummies has seemed to have taken exception to it. Enough to go around killing people in search of an old girlfriend.

Then there are the movies about crazy hillbillies who prey on college kids. Why are college kids wandering into crazy hillbilly territory in the first place when they might run out of gasoline? The kids are so smug, I always wind up rooting for the crazy hillbillies.

Michael Myers is frightening, but I really think by now he ought to leave Jamie Lee Curtis alone. Besides, it’s well-known that serial killers are more likely to look like handsome Ted Bundy than Michael Myers. And why doesn’t anyone ever call him “Mike?”

Jason in FRIDAY THE 13th wears a goalie mask for some reason. Wouldn’t you think he’d be easy enough for the cops to spot wearing a goalie mask? Personally, the way the Flyers goalies tend goal, they scare me more than Jason.

Freddie gets into your nightmares, but would he be as scary if he just visited his local dermatologist?

The old monsters seem quaint. Frankenstein was really a nice guy who killed people only because he was clumsy. And Frankenstein needs to find a bride with a better hairdo.

Dracula tends to visit women wearing nighties in the dead of night. He would never have survived the #METOO movement today. And if all it took to scare him away is a clove of garlic, Dracula would never get near our home during meal time.

I felt sorry for The Wolfman. I often checked my own hand for “the sign of the pentagram.” As a kid, I had only one question — if you could only turn into a werewolf by being bitten by another werewolf, how did we get the first werewolf?

In Trump’s America, we don’t need Halloween. We’re already scared. Pipe bombs sent through the mail to those whose political differences make them enemies. Going after CNN because someone dangerous out there believes the news media is the “enemy of the people.” The craziness that brands a trio of grandmothers — Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Diane Feinstein — as monsters destroying America.

Do we even know the real monsters from the fake ones anymore?

(You can view or listen to Tom Cardella on Monday Night Kickoff at 6PM streaming on, Facebook, or broadcast on 610 AM or follow Tom on Facebook).