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Stop thinking of the children

I don't hate the children.

I'm just tired of cowering one step below them on this country's cultural food chain.

No more! I'm making a stand right here in this column against this country's disgusting child obsession.

I ask you, the fully formed adult, to follow me in rebelling against the Cult of the Child that's taken root in America. Be warned, though. Those who speak ill of the children will most likely be banished into the cornfield like those poor folks in the "Twilight Zone" episode.

My personal rebellion started last week as I read and watched pundits decry the adultization of Halloween, that most childish of children's holidays, so it is said.

"What happened to Halloween?" wrote Susan Estrich in her Nov. 4 column that appeared in this fine newspaper. "I mean the Halloween of ghosts and witches ... I mean the sense of neighborhood and community, of childhood and innocence, of a special night for kids?"

Estrich went on a jag describing the skimpy costumes worn by young women and the young men dressed as (gasp!) pot doctors she saw walking around her town.

Here's the beauty of Halloween, Susan. At some point you put the kiddies to bed and allow the big people their fun. The kind of fun earned by a lifetime of paying taxes, reporting to work five or six or seven days out of the week, the daily mirror exam harshly detailing your swelling gut and ever-falling breasts and of dragging your kids to soccer practice, school open houses, dance recitals, ballet lessons and whatever punishment the cruel After-School Activity God has devised.

Bill Maher said it best: "Must everything be for and about children, our most precious resource? I promise you, our most precious resource is petroleum."

This attack on Halloween perplexes me. To say that the children deserve one night a year in which they should be celebrated is to suggest that their wants and needs are not the primary focus of every other holiday, or at this point every night of the calendar year.

I can't believe anyone would criticize the adultization of Halloween as it has recently stood as the barrier to that child-rotten epoch known as the Christmas Season, which now seems to start sometime in mid-July and ends around Easter.

Can we, the adults, not have our night of sin and squalor before slitting our bank accounts' throats in preparation for Dec. 25?

Grant us this one night, oh child-worshiping powers that be.

Can you not see we live in a culture in which Harry Potter is the most-read book of a generation and the Shrek films far outstrip truly adult fare such as "Gone Baby Gone" or "The Lives of Others"?

That's not to say there's no place for Shrek or Harry Potter. It does bother me, as an adult, that these characters dominate the literary and cinematic landscape at the expense of any other idea.

And now, we, the adults, are expected to give up Halloween.

They'll have to pull it from my cold, dead hands.

I don't know about Susan Estrich, but I thoroughly enjoyed my Halloween night. I caroused Ashland Plaza, admiring the vinyl knee boots and spider fishnets, the ball gags and Princess Leia metal bikinis.

It did my heart good seeing a couple in their late 40s boozily dry humping in the corner of a bar for the first time since the Carter administration.

When I've been married for 25 years, I hope to be that couple.

To be sure, I had a ball earlier in the evening seeing the kiddies dressed like elves, pumpkins, Harry Potter characters and flower faeries.

See, I don't hate the children. They have their rightful place.

Now if their wayward parents would only allow me to have mine.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471, or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.