Maybe it’s just the haze of nostalgia, but it seems that 40-plus years ago when I was trick-or-treating age, we could put the Vietnam War, the sexual revolution, civil unrest and the drug culture out of our minds long enough for some good old-fashioned fun.
Not so in 2012. The political wrangling and celebrity shenanigans of the real world have stealthily intruded into the fantasy world of Halloween. Here are some examples.
Remember the old days when Dr. Frankenstein was satisfied to present his original creation with the Bride of Frankenstein? Cable TV polygamy has now produced The Sister Wives of Frankenstein. (“If loving you is wrong, I don’t wanna be right...in the path of the lightning striking your electrodes!”)
And with all the cap-and-trade red tape for brandishing traditional torches, the angry villagers now menace the Monster with solar light sticks. And threaten to drive him over the “fiscal cliff.”
Maybe you haven’t noticed yet, but cobwebs in creepy old houses are becoming scarcer and scarcer, as arachnids turn to DRONE technology. (“Hey, they’re not as tasty as flies or crickets, but you can get used to collateral damage squirrels, poodles and real estate agents.”)
The holiday just loses something when Wolfman (CEO of Wolf-Bain Capital) is busted for using a copyrighted howl without authorization, or when a lazy Count Dracula murmurs, “I vant to suck your ...no, vait! There’s an app for that! Or Craigslist! I can get a whole varehouse of blood on Craigslist!”)
If you scrutinize the monthly unemployment report, you’ll find a new category for black cats. It seems that Broomstick Airlines started charging witches a hefty fee for carry-on familiars.
Yes, I’m giving you 2012 warts and all. Most witches’ cauldrons have now been converted to trendy microbreweries. (“Double, double, toil and trouble ...Here come ATF agents to burst our bubble!”)
The truth about the Headless Horseman? He had his noggin removed after accidentally seeing Hulk Hogan’s sex video. (“Gouging out my eyes just wasn’t enough!”)
Back in the day, your typical “walking dead” zombies tended to actually, you know, WALK. Now they’ve become the “standing in line waiting for iPhones and Air Jordans” dead.
I caught a glimpse of a subdued Hillary Clinton on CNN saying that she takes full responsibility for Charlie Brown’s missing out on seeing The Great Pumpkin. (I suspect the truth is that the Pumpkin was in a back alley selling genetically modified pumpkin seed to Lance Armstrong.)
The Invisible Man has been co-opted by the Obama administration to give it some TRANSPARENCY. (“Just umpteen unelected czars casually discussing a plan to move the West Coast to the East Coast. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.”)
The latest Rolling Stones tour stops mummies from their comfortingly familiar lumbering and turns them into giddy fans. (“Last time we met, Mick autographed my bandages — before I put them on.”)
Can Halloween be returned to its innocence? You can ponder that as I leave you with the words of a young man who has known the pain of bullying. (“I’m supposed to be the Son of Dracula, but all the kids tease me and say I bear an uncanny resemblance to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Let me ask my mom. I’ll be back. Aaaaaaggggh!”)
2012 Danny Tyree. Danny welcomes reader email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”