- Dress up in costumes? – Excellent
- Carve pumpkins into faces? – Brilliant
- Collect money for UNICEF? – Wonderful
- Parties with themes? – Fantastic
- Free candy? – Hell yes!
- Firecrackers? – Ay, there’s the rub.
I’m afraid I spend almost every Halloween night on the constant verge of a heart attack. It’s the firecrackers. I loathe and fear them. I hate loud noises. I hate sudden noises. Firecrackers provide both.
Also, did you go to a school where before every Halloween they would show a short video called Firecracker? (It occurs to me, in hindsight, that being traumatized by school health and safety talks and videos seems to have been a bit of a theme in my young life. Remind me to tell you about the Earthquake Talk sometime.)
Firecracker was a safety video meant to teach us that firecrackers are dangerous and should be handled with care. This was demonstrated with several minutes of images of people in various stages of healing whose fingers, toes, or noses had been blown off with firecrackers. Some of these people told little stories about how it happened.
Now, I don’t like gore and I’m actually pretty attached to my digits. Add to that the sudden loud noise element, the fact that I was born cautious, and the further fact that as a child I wholeheartedly trusted in and believed everything I was told, and it goes without saying (except I’m saying it) that I wasn’t getting anywhere near a firecracker.
Best laid plans and all that.
My attempts at making my life safer and less stressful were – as they often are – foiled by my constant nemeses: other people.
First there were my so-called “friends” and “family” who said my avoidance of Halloween firecrackers meant I wasn’t any “fun.” These people purported to be looking out for my welfare because I was (am) too “serious” and needed (need) to “lighten up.” (As well as Halloween, today is official quotation mark day. I just decided.)
Then there were the bastard older kids who would throw firecrackers at me as I walked home from school. (For what it’s worth, this was not targeted bullying. They threw them at most kids who walked home. They were equal opportunity bastards.) (Actually, they were probably just dumb pyros who hadn’t paid as close attention as I had to the firecracker video.) It wasn’t just Halloween either. Firecrackers would start appearing a week or two before and still be around until mid-November or so.
So. Current day. I am nicely ensconced in my home and I’m going to stay here until I see daylight. I can hear the hooligans outside with their maiming fire sticks of death. But they won’t get me. No sir. I’m watching them, through the cracks in my curtains. When it comes to hooligans, one must be ever-vigilant.