Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween, Spiky Armor, and the Generation Gap

Taking the kids out to Halloween last night was an absolute blast.  It's the first time all 3 of them have been old enough to dress up, and even my not-quite-two-year-old absolutely tore it up out there.  (For the record, we had a horse [after a Batman costume malfunction], a Care Bear, and Princess Peach).

It was interesting to see the costumes this year.  I felt like perhaps, at least in my neck of the woods, there was a little less anime, and a little more traditionalism this year.  I'm not talking Raggedy Andy or anything, but there were X-Wing Pilots, police officers, firemen, knights, medieval ladies, pirates, and, of course, plenty of ghouls.  I passed one kid who had a tremendous--and I mean, tremendous--Ghostbuster outfit on, who couldn't have been more than 11.

It's also interesting to see the comic book heroes that come out.  No matter how many times they want to kill off heroes or re-invent them as "dark and edgy", everyone has an ideal of Superman, of Captain America, of Spiderman that doesn't change with comics trying to pander to middle-aged collectors instead of kids.  I saw probably a half-dozen Captain America outfits in the span of an hour--who knew it'd be such a popular choice?  Of course, Supes and Batman are classic choices.

Perhaps most blessedly, I did not see any Dragonball Z outfits.  Nor did any child attempt to engage me in a 24-minute monologue before attacking me, or inform me that I had foolishly underestimated him, that he had only used 84.444444444445% of his power. It's the little blessings in life, you know?

Granted, this is one corner of my little section of Indiana, but it was sort of heartening for me.  We always hear about how the cultural influences of the past twenty years aren't what they were, and that's true.  It's part of the reason we have less standard full plate and longswords in our RPG books, and more unnecessarily spiked and buckled armor and ridiculously huge swords.  But I do believe there's still an undercurrent of identifiable cultural concepts that span the AD&D generation with the 4e generation, so to speak.  We hold more in common than we hold in differences.

Sure, you could subtitle this "Cranky 30-Year Old Pleased That Cultural References Are Not Totally Obsolescent", and that's a fair cop.  But I like that on Halloween, regardless of age, we're all goblins, we're all ghosts, we're all Superman. And that's pretty neat.


Loquacious said...

I took a 9 year old to TOT this year and participated in a costume parade. We saw an ADORABLE home made "baseball bat" (bat hat, Felted baseball shirt); a little kid as Dennis The Menace; a Medusa (beautifully hand made, too); 3-6 princesses, several cops/ firefighters, and the best- handmade Sully and Mike (two brothers) from Monsters Inc. No pokemon or Dragonball.

N. Wright said...

I'm not sure that people are as interested in the overly spiky and buckled armor as you (and possibly some marketing execs) might think.

Old-school superheroes, cheesy and silly as they are, are still beloved by a lot of people, as you noticed. I had a lot of guys who didn't look like they were into comic books arguing about Superman and Batman et all over the smoke-pit in Iraq, for example. Not your usual banter, to be sure.

clash bowley said...

Can confirm this in New England! Very much old favorites - witches, princesses, animals, ninjas, zombies, and ghouls - predominated.


Daddy Grognard said...

Oddly, I had zero callers this year. It may be a British thing that perhaps interest in the T/T phenomenon is fizzling out. It may be that it was a Sunday and therefore a schoolday loomed so kids were in bed early. Another of my friends reports only one group came calling.

Ah well, more chocolate for us!

clash bowley said...

Huh! We went through 2 four pound bags of candy! It was all worth it though! We snared a nice fat one for Thanksgiving dinner!

Dibs on the cracklin's!