Frederik De Backer is a columnist.
If we lived in a more beautiful world, I would stuff every child who crossed my path with candy. I would go through life with a backpack full of sugar and enticingly wave sour mats, cherries and face-pullers between the bars at every school gate. “Psst! Hey there, bullied kid, want a treat?” The world would become a more beautiful place, despite all parental disdain.
I am generous in my giving, although, after what I consider somewhat premature but no less decisive intervention by the authorities, I am more selective. Since then I limit the sweet luxury to birthdays and other holidays; elongated treats only if limp.
What remains difficult to bow to, however, is the annual kitsch farce called Halloween. If such a clique dressed in American tawdry stands at the door, I grumble through my teeth that there is nothing to eat here, Super Mario and co., after which I show them the house of that one neighbor with his glass eye, who then polish it in their presence for a price agreed in advance by me.
If they let it go, or if it turns out that they don’t have a hollow eye socket, I’ll pour a bag of granulated sugar into their bucket. Does one of those damn Ironmen dare to do that “trick or treat”like scratching nails on a blackboard, then it is a bag of flour and it is thrown in the face, whether opened or not.
What’s wrong with Epiphany? Since when is a crown, a star and a bedspread tied tightly around the throat no longer enough for those little bastards? Isn’t there enough confrontation with Carnival that they have to be there in October like Acid and Cardi B and Conner Rousseau and whoever else worships that kid?
Weeks in advance you see women in toy stores trotting behind a drooling hyperkinetic. Their poorly accentuated chatter resounds between the districts: “Héllowien, Héllowien, what idiot should we hang on our door with Héllowien, no, Liam-Tejodoor, little sister is already going to be Harry Potter with Héllowien.” A person can no longer even calmly evaluate which Paw Patrol figures are easiest to weave between the bars.
Fine, then take over that monstrosity, interrupt your precious Flemish traditions until they look red, white and blue, but at least give the puddle a different name: Bad Taste Day, Lack of Inspiration Day, call it Walpurgisnacht and celebrate it in spring, when opening a front door fifty times does not make the heating costs the biggest horror of the evening, but do something else with it than blindly adopt it. Make it a celebration of creativity, an ode to fantasy, with cardboard costumes and no English. You don’t buy culture.