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10.27.2003 by Dan, every Monday.

Well, it's once again time for my favorite holiday to roll around. A holiday of lighthearted fun, fanciful masks, eerie flickering candles and the taking of loot from total strangers. That's right, this Friday is “Mug a Canadian Day.”

No! That was only in a dream I had that featured 50 Cent and Elmo from Sesame Street, and I have decided that I'd best not speak of it. No, this Friday is the holiday dedicated to visions of madness almost as unsettling as my dreams, Halloween.

Halloween is a great holiday. It's not overcommercialized like Christmas, there are no Halloween bowl games, and you're not expected to eat too much of a mediocre dinner while being forcibly polite to people you hate. Halloween is about fun, pure and simple. If you're a kid, you get to dress up like a ninja or a ballerina or a cyborg skeleton zombie hellbeast or Khalil Gibran and go door-to-door asking for candy. If you're an adult, you get to dress up as a robot or crack whore or acupuncturist or Kenneth Lay and, well, drink. If you're lucky, you'll also get to inflict some psychological scars on some trick-or-treaters.

The history of Halloween is a long and exciting one, filled with wars, aliens, potted ferns, knife fights, and even a musical number. The word “Halloween” comes from the Senior Citizen English “Hall O' Weenies,” an annual fall festival where the British would gather in a large hall and drink. Soon they would pass out under the table, and the Druids would come in and rob them. It was in this manner that Halloween came to be used to refer to the Druidic Fall Festival of Savings, where the Druids would sell off their old hooded robes at or below cost. Obviously, these were truly crazy times in which to live.

In 1467, nothing of any consequence happened. But the very next century, Halloween would be raised from the ashes of the Druids, brushed off with the brush of reinterpretation, and thrust once again into the light of day like some sort of an awkward metaphor. In southeastern Spain in 1522, one of the last surviving bands of the brutally persecuted Scientologists, hiding out in caves to avoid the vicious bands of Inquisitors, Peasants, and Quail that constantly sought the bounty on their ears, took the name for their annual Rite of Auditment. This sacred ceremony involved the giving of all their worldly goods to the tribal leader, then digging a huge hole and shoving each other in. There wasn't much need for others to persecute them, really. They did well enough on their own.

In the intervening centuries, a bunch of stuff happened, but I'm not going to get into that since I'm getting close to my 600-word goal for this column. Suffice to say, a lot of enlightening and fascinating things happened to give us our Halloween rituals of dressing in costumes, asking for candy, drinking, and vandalism. It's a safe bet that Pagans were involved.

So now we come to today, where Halloween is a benign secular holiday, loved by all but certain religious fundamentalists with a huge stick up their collective ass. However, since these religious fundamentalists have sticks up their asses over everything but mandatory Bible study and wife beating, they're best left to the ATF.

So in conclusion, I'm not going to waste any more time on this column since you and I both know that it's utter crap. Instead, I'll just save up my creative energies for next week's column. It'll be funny. Just you wait. In the meantime, I'm going to say hi to some friends.

So Livvy, Daniella, Redalert, Tim, Joelle, Shannon, Vin, Megatron, Serpentor, Captain Crunch, 8-Ball, Torg, and most of all, Scarecrow, I am in fact admitting that I know you, so pay up.

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