Reporting aside, who needs Halloween when we’ve got the nightly news?

We don’t have to watch horror movies to scare ourselves.

We just have to turn on the nightly news.

Although I am a dedicated news collector and feel it is my duty to keep up to date with what is happening locally and around the world, I sometimes dread watching the TV news.

In this sense, Halloween has become a nocturnal event.

Last week, a news program ran a story about a Michigan man who traveled to Florida to help with hurricane cleanup and contracted a flesh-eating bacterium from the floodwaters, killing him.

Another story that evening was about the recent scourge of RSV, or Respiratory Syncytial Virus, which is making children sick and killing some. That’s enough to scare someone to death.

Add to that the report of the Mississippi daycare where staff donned horrifying ghost masks and scared young children into crying and screaming. Someone videotaped the activity.

Who does that?

I also dread reports of constant shootings in the US to the point where my brain shuts down.

With such a simple solution in hand and no one chasing after it, I find myself angrily yelling out loud, “Give them more guns.” Doesn’t common sense tell us to just get rid of the deadly guns? Most other countries do not have this problem.

To say the war in Ukraine is a horror show is an understatement and we see news about it every night.

I’ve never been a fan of horror stories or movies. When I was a student, I saw the movie Jaws and wasn’t too scared, although the person accompanying me was very scared. I only read a Stephen King novel called Pet Sematary a long time ago. Scared me to death. Never read another.

To be fair to King, the films The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and The Dead Zone were very well done and not at all scary.

It may be my imagination, but it seems that interest in Halloween has increased in recent years.

When we were kids, vacationing was a lot easier. We bought a mask, made our own costumes and did trick or treat.

Decorating for Halloween meant carving a pumpkin on the kitchen table with a butcher knife, carving out triangular eyes, nose and a smiling or scowling mouth with missing teeth. We cut open the top of the squash, scooped out the seeds, put in a lit candle, and left it on the porch step. Sometimes we would find it smashed in the street the next morning.

Dried corn stalks from a farmer’s field, balled up and tied around the mailbox with bale string, were another holiday decoration.

Now, people’s lawns are littered with giant explosive witches, ghosts, skeletons, and other spooky depictions.

At the risk of being branded a party spoil, I’m appalled at the thought of all that plastic being thrown away, replaced with more modern fare, and eventually ending up in landfills.

As Halloween approaches, I recognize that little ones are terribly cute in their trick-or-treating attire and are looking for candy.

Except this year, US Drug Enforcement Administration officials say federal agents have seized fentanyl, which was made to look like brightly colored candy.

Shall I wish you a Happy Halloween?

“Aarrrgggh,” might be more appropriate.

Amy Calder has been a reporter for Morning Sentinel for 34 years. Her columns appear here weekly. She can be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to centralmaine.com.


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