Beware of the Blob

blob-poster-782025 Each year at this time I fall off of a cliff.  One minute I’m walking with my family through The Apple Farm, out in Fairfield, bathed in golden autumn light.

Then,  a minute later, all the leaves have been blasted out of the tree by a Nor’easter,  and it gets dark at four in the afternoon and there are guys in the woods with shotguns.

And there’s no more baseball.

The only thing that raises my spirits is the thought of the blessed holiday season ahead.  Christmas, you think?  Nope:  Halloween.

Sometimes it seems as if Halloween and Christmas have swapped places.

I don’t mind the fact that Halloween is getting more Christmasy all the time; that’s fine with me.  But the way in which Christmas is getting to feel more like Halloween?  I’m less crazy about that.

I have one neighbor who puts more effort into his Halloween display than his Christmas one.  He places a Grim Reaper in his front yard, complete with scythe.

At Christmas, he puts one austere yellow light in his two upper windows.

Last Saturday I went over to my friends Tom and Laura’s for the all-night jam in their barn.  I wore a gorilla suit for the occasion, which was hotter than you’d think.  We all sang songs together, and then we took “a cup of kindness, yet.”  For Auld Lang Syne.

On Tuesday night, I was up at Colby, just as I have been each October 31st for the last 19 years, reading ghost stories for the students with my friend Charlie Bassett in  Lorimer Chapel.  This year, in addition to Charlie and me, there were a number of singing groups, who joined me in a group performance of the theme song from The Blob.

Beware of the Blob! It leaps and creeps

And glides and slides along the floor

Beneath the door, it’s over on the wall

A blotch, a splotch, Be Careful of the Blob!

By the morning of All Saints, the Boylan household was exhausted from a month of disguise and celebration and the ingestion of a mountain of Kit Kats and Mars Bars and Chunkies.  We love Halloween.

Christmas, meanwhile, is a macabre holiday when the dead come back to haunt us.

It was Dickens, of course, who most famously observed that Christmas is the most haunted of holidays, and the older one gets, the more haunted it gets.  It’s impossible for me to set up the tree in my mother’s house, for instance,  without thinking of the Ghosts of Christmas Past—the father who isn’t there, the sister who doesn’t speak to me any more, all the memories of being a child, back in the prehistoric 1960s, when virtually all of my Christmases were Christmas Futures.

It’s become a cliché, now, for people to speak of their depression at Christmas, but it’s true.  So many of us at this time of year,  wind up  haunted by the ghosts of our younger selves, laid low, as we approach the end of another year, by a sense of the speed with which time slips through our fingers.

The only thing missing from Christmas, sometimes, is a Grim Reaper in your front yard with a scythe.

I love Halloween, and I love how happy my children are at this time of year.  Their wild energy makes me feel young again.

But is it too much to ask of this season, that Halloween return to October, and let Christmas be a season of light instead?    Would it be so crazy if this year, Christmas was a time of joy, of looking forward, of people celebrating peace, and love, and singing songs together?

It’s a nice wish.  But I have a funny feeling I already know what carol I’m going to hear, when I start, once more, to decorate the tree.

Beware of the Blob! It creeps and leaps

And glides and slides along the floor

Beneath the door, it’s over on the wall

A blotch, a splotch…

Be careful of the Blob.

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3 Comments

  1. Kathode Ray Tube
    Posted November 9, 2009 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    My husband went to Colby (’77) and we looked forward every year to the Phi Beta Kappa fundraising letter from Mills and Bassett. It was one of the funniest, most unique letters we’d get all year. Bob would send a check just out of appreciation for the letter. Now, Mills and Bassett have retired from PBK, so we get a much more mundane, generic fundraising letter and it’s no fun anymore. So please tell Prof. Bassett we said so!

    Love your book — I am reading it now (She’s Not There). Go Red Sox!

  2. Posted November 10, 2009 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    Hallowe’en has always been my favourite. Long before “Trick or Treat” crossed the Atlantic we’d torment our neighbours with “AnyTING for Halloweeeeeeeeeeeen” . There was always a party, barnbrack and ,bizarrely enough, coconuts. To this day whenever I see one I think of an Irish Hallowe’en.
    Then on All Saints it was up to graveyard to visit the quiet branch of the family.

    True for you about the kids. They make it all so worthwhile.

  3. Liz Levitt
    Posted November 22, 2009 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    this fall is a sad time for our family as my Dad lies in hospice care waiting. Is it wrong to prey that he gets to go home soon, now, and not at Christmas time. For my grandaughters to loose there beloved Pa Pa at christmas time, that’s too sad to contemplate. So I am praying for him to sleep deep, and wake up with his Mom, and my Mom.

    sad Lizzy

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