While actual horror struck Lower Manhattan, the rest of the island mostly shut it out of their minds while indulging in horror of the plastic tat, candy gorging kind.
With one eye on the breaking news, I took the four-year-old out. She got to experience all the joy of Halloween – namely, being slammed against gate railings by ten-year-olds who in a sugar frenzy will quite willingly destroy any pre-schoolers in their wake. There was a perhaps important lesson for the four-year-old as she watched older child after older child step in front of her to get what they thought was their rightful candy – in America you are rewarded if you push aside the weak and the vulnerable in order to get what you want. There was a less profound, but equally important lesson for me, that shouting at ten-year-olds is not the best of looks.
The costumes were disappointing this year. Not a single Paul Manafort out there. Although, in fairness, now that I think about it, some of the more mature Upper East Side fathers in their expensively tailored suits could have been dressed as Manafort; it can be hard to tell. I mean several times I thought about congratulating one of the Dads on their excellent Jared Kushner outfit, but then realized that was just their own aesthetic.
They were a few teens in Trump masks. His face does have the benefit of lending itself to Halloween better than any President since Nixon.
The only costume I saw with a bit of a wit about it was a woman dressed as the picture of Dorian Gray.
The children dressed as Harry Potter characters, however, are the worst, even the political campaigners hiding behind a witch’s hat – seriously, no child wants a Keith Powers for City County leaflet dropped in their Halloween bowl – are not as dispiriting as the sight of child after child choosing a school uniform as their Halloween costume. There should be something a little taboo breaking and rebellious about the choice of costume. This is, after all, a night when you can play around with identity and break away from the more conservative restraints of our society. Being dull and conforming is part of the design spec for a school uniform.
“What are you going to wear for the school Halloween parade?”
“I’m going to wear a school uniform.”
“But you can be anything. The only limit is your imagination. Is it, at least, an interesting take on a school uniform? Have you ninjaed or zombied it up?”
“No, just a normal school uniform. Except …”
“I’m going to carry a twig with me as well.”
“That’s how you know it’s magical – cos I’ve got a twig. So I’m not just wearing a school uniform – that’d be ridiculous – I’m wearing a school uniform while holding a twig. What are you going to dress as?”
“I thought I’d go as adult Harry Potter, so, you know, just office casual … but with a twig.”