Halloween is only two weeks away, and New Zealand is nowhere close to ready.
Back in America, they’re already piping Christmas elevator music at the Duane Reade.
We don’t even have a Duane Reade. Or elevators.
People, we are way behind.
Are we really going to do this again? Pretend nobody’s home on Halloween night, until the visitors give up and move on to Australia?
The least we could’ve done last year was put a bowl of candy out on the tarmac. It’s more than three hours to Sydney.
You guys. We need to do some soul-searching.
We are too house proud to be known as the neighborhood party pooper.
We need a plan.
This isn’t about going over the top. It’s about finding the mid-point between what’s tasteful and what’s West Auckland.
Good taste isn’t everyone’s “thing” here. And I dig, man, given New Zealand’s reputation for working toward a fuller life, not simply for the festoons of wealth.
Shit, man. You are the thriftiest, most resourceful, self-sufficient sheep-fuckers anyone has ever met. Nobody’s arguing with you there.
Indeed, your pluck is the envy of the world. You’ve worked toward an easier life in New Zealand, whether you came here by waka, merchant vessel, or airplane under heavy sedation folded up inside some strange woman’s carry-on luggage.
That thing you did, turning most of the native brush into grazing land? Classic!
And wiping every Moa and Huia off the face of the earth? That’s the kind of do-it-yourself project that makes even America seethe with jealousy.
And that’s the only country in history to have vaporized two cities.
So what am I getting at?
Atomic weapons, Halloween and Christmas decorations?
Well, I forgot.
Unlike some countries I’ve lived in, New Zealand does not rely heavily on ever-ballooning credit card debt to prop its economy.
That means, in short, there is no strong commercial motivation for retailers to shove the holiday spirit down your throat, no matter how much you want them to get you drunk.
It also means there is a relatively discrete level of holiday hard-selling in supermarkets and malls. Thus, fewer decorations. See?
You can wheel your cart down the aisles at Countdown oblivious to the calendar, which many Kiwis have been doing since the Muldoon years.
(Frankly, most Kiwis wheel their carts down the aisles oblivious to everything, which makes shopping so awful. I blame Muldoon.)
That’s the opposite of what happens in America.
Last time I went Christmas shopping in New York City, back in 2007, it was very obnoxious.
This one store had a decorated tree, a children’s choir, and a security guard dressed as Santa, who held a gun to my head because I hadn’t bought enough shit.
“You get back in that fucking Duane Reade or so help me your brains will be all over the sidewalk, you hear me?” Santa came to say. “What kind of asshole gets ten-packs of Tic Tacs and nothing else for Christmas? That’s not a gift. That’s a stocking stuffer.”
“But I’m half Jewish,” I said.
“You stingy motherfucker,” Santa said. “You get back inside and look for the Hanukkah section.”
Then he cocked his side-arm and pressed the muzzle into my mouth. “You think I won’t? You think I won’t?”
I really don’t miss that retail aggressiveness. I mean the guard with the gun was ok, but did he have to dress as Santa? It’s too much.
Anyway, that’s the kind of shit that goes on in America, and it starts weeks before Halloween.
New Zealand needs something that isn’t over the top like in America, but isn’t too beige either.
That’s why I’m proud to introduce the Haunted Seven-Candle Menorah, now on display through Halloween. Only in Parnell.
Halloween will never be the same again, with the establishment of the Haunted Seven-Candle Menorah.
As the only Haunted Seven-Candle Menorah display in the entire South Pacific, it’s certain to become not only a local feature of the Halloween season, but also a major tourist attraction.
Global demand for a Haunted Seven-Candle Menorah has never been higher.
Extensive market research via social media channels indicates that 85 percent of seven people around the world would “like” to see the only Haunted Menorah in the South Pacific.
Fifty-seven percent of those who would like to see it, would pay for it. Another 27 percent would pay, but only if admission included a complimentary fold-up laundry drying wrack.
The Haunted Menorah display is an unprecedented opportunity for New Zealand to celebrate its diversity, and tick off the Halloween box at the same time.
There is more to the Haunted Menorah than pumping up the tourism trade with “shock” “entertainment” “value” for the whole family.
Research also points to a unique cross-cultural, educational opportunity, a chance for New Zealand’s gentiles to add dimension to their dearly-held ethnic stereotyping of Jews. Indeed, according to the survey, 27 percent of respondents who would pay to see the Haunted Menorah, would also like to learn about its long, rich history, from its origin as a prop in the movie Frankenstein’s Bar Mitzvah to making landfall in Auckland in 2009.
What a history it has.
My part goes back to 2004.
Jacquie had recently been licensed to practice nursing in New York State.
Her first job was taking care of wretched, fossil-assed Park Avenue dandies, the only people in America who could afford Jacquie’s services.
Anyway, Jacquie was taking care of this 87-year-old British expat who’d suffered a series of bad strokes, and had to spend much of his time in bed because of the subsequent tennis elbow.
One stormy night, the British guy fell asleep, and Jacquie went into his library to see if there were any books she wanted to steal.
Suddenly, the British guy appeared in the doorway, and started talking about the seven-candle menorah on one of the shelves.
Apparently, his father had been a producer at Hammer Studios, famous for its vampire-mummy-werewolf style horror movies.
He said the menorah was a prop from the studios never-released 1958 buddy-horror flick, Frankenstein’s Bar Mitzvah, starring Peter Cushing and Henny Youngman.
The studio lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on the doomed flick, and they blamed the menorah.
The bloke said it was his most prized possession.
Then he keeled over from a massive heart attack.
Acting solely on professional instinct, Jacquie leaped to his side, grabbed the menorah and ran.
And it’s been running with us ever since then.
The bottom line is, everyone is sick and tired of the same old haunted hay rides and corn mazes. New Zealanders and the world alike hanker after pointless, time consuming novelty.
So, America, listen up. If you don’t have any plans for Halloween, come on down and visit the Haunted Menorah. You’re not welcome inside my house, but there’s a backpacker’s hostel down the block.