From the desk of The Irrational Library, Joshua calls out to you Haarlemtown. For the last 16 years he has been among you, seen you and has gotten to know you. And now from the depths of Haerlemse Bodem he will rise to meet you, Haarlemtown. To once a month share and deal with you a little slice of life here in Haarlemtown. A slice of life taken from our communal feast. One for all of us to be nourished upon as we go about our Haarlemtown days.

In the last couple of years I have noticed that the celebration of Halloween has grown here in Holland. Fantastic. I always liked Halloween as a kid growing up in the american suburbs. Getting dressed up in some funny costume, going door to door with your friends ’trick or treating’. Great memories. Lots of stomach aches afterwards. I remember beautiful crisp October evenings, going out in the afternoon while it was still light out, staying out till it became dark and the spookiness set in. It would get colder but there was no way you put a jacket on and cover up your costume. All the candy I would gather and I loved even then all the spooky decorations. Halloween was always super sweet.

I am glad that Halloween is growing in acceptance here in Haarlemtown too. It is fun for everyone who wants it to be. In the Badhuis in the Leidsebuurt where we live, my wife and our neighbor put together a great Halloween party for the little kids. There was a monster disco and snot colored pancakes. Fantastic. I even got myself dressed up in my ‘Mr. Weirdbeard’ burlesque tuxedo and shmincked myself up to look a little bit scarier than usual. We all had a great time dancing to the Monster Mash with the kids (though more parents need to lossen up and join in the fun.) When I had to choose the five best costumes out of them all and break the hearts of the rest of the kids, well that was less fun. Something about tears and shmink…especially when my own daughter cries out to her Momma that “Poppa vindt mij niet mooi”. Ouch. Thank you candy and the Action soothing that situation out. Anyway I digress… back to the bloody mess.

But these two teenage delinquents scared the shit out of Pippi. Our little charming curious witch cowered into her mothers shoulder and cried that she just wanted to hop on her broomstick and fly the fuck home.

On the Saturday evening before the 31st (the exact date of Halloween for those who are still unsure) my wife and I, with some friends took our daughters to see the ‘optocht’ Halloween parade congregating on the Grote Markt. It was cute in a sort of ‘net niet’, next year will be better sort of way. There seemed to be more ‘normal’ people just gawking at those who were in costume. The majority of the costumes I have to say we’re on the relatively gruesome to menacing side or the ‘I watched a youtube video on how to do scary makeup’ net-niet really that gruesome at all. I got the feeling that that here in Holland (generalizing) Halloween is so far played out in a more creepy than spooky sort of way. Lots of fake blood, lots of gore, not a lot of joking. For example, there were two kids with sort of Joker makeup on walking around with chainsaws. They were loud and they stunk like gasoline but I guess they were actually harmless to everything accept our ears. But these two teenage delinquents scared the shit out of Pippi. Our little charming curious witch cowered into her mothers shoulder and cried that she just wanted to hop on her broomstick and fly the fuck home. I couldn’t blame her, those two punks got a bit too close for comfort for even me. So we moved ourselves to the back of the ‘crowd’. From there we had a better overview of the undead under the glow of the Bavo.

But what really freaked me out were these two other little shitfucks who were dragging metal pipes across the coblestones. This gave me the creeps. They were also shminked up to look relatively ‘evil’. The clinking of the metal along the stones, the kids dressed to look like maniacs, it was like something out the five minutes I wasted watching the Purge. As kids back in the day, we used to walk around with inflatible caveman clubs or a plastic machette, maybe a toy pistol (don’t recommend that anymore), but carrying metal piping… there was also a kid with a fucking aluminum bat across his shoulders. As a parent I thought, you know what, fuck this. This was not an event for my kid or me. For me Halloween is about the fun spookiness of the macabre not the menace of mankind. That is what every other fucking day out of the year is about, especially Valentines Day.

We ended the night by the Brinkmann terrace, a place I normally would never sit, too many vampires for my liking.

Though that night from a safe distance we watched the parade slowly take off for wherever they were going to party like only the undead and dying can. I hope all those little maniacs had fun. I had a cola lite and Pippi fell asleep in her mom’s lap. I try not to eat too much candy anymore anyway.

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