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Chicago Halloween 2014: The Frozening

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood  of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, who just discovered that the cold DOES bother her.

Forget vampires, witches, zombies, mummies and frankenberries – the scariest thing about this year’s Halloween was the weather. With temperatures in the low 30s, freezing rain, snow, hail and 74 mph winds, (numbers only a Skilling could love) last Friday was terrifying even in a city famed for its lousy weather.

Trick-or-Treat was pretty much a wash out this year – our street is known for its decorated porches and popularity with the candy grubbing set, but you could have fired a cannon down the sidewalk and not hit anyone. I’m out of the “sexy” Halloween business these days, but I can’t imagine there were many scantily clad Ebola nurses on Southport that night. Luckily, our neighbor friends had trick-or-treating in their large building hallways or we might have a Twix- free house right now. (As it stands, we have more candy than ever, because everyone was in a “To hell with it, take five pieces” kind of mood!)

It’s not fair, really. How many fun Halloweens does one get? And one got iced out? It’s bad enough it was on a Friday, so the commute back to the city was extra-bad, compounded by the weather, so many folks could barely get home in time to see their kid, but then it was miserable out. Why can’t we get a do over? Who is going to be upset if we don’t celebrate Halloween on Oct. 31? The Druids? Next year it’s on a Saturday — why isn’t always on a Saturday? Better question, why isn’t it on SEPTEMBER 30 when it’s 70 degrees out? Who is in charge of holidays? Obama is a hometown guy, somebody call him and get Halloween moved, please.

I suppose my daughter got to feel a classic Chicago Halloween, though. It took me back to the ‘70s and ‘80s when my plastic Chachi Arcola smock was covered in a heavy coat, hat and scarf.  “Wa, wa, wa,” indeed. All these warm Halloweens where you can dress like a no-shirt warrior from “300” are just unnatural. This isn’t Sparta, this is Chicago, and the weather is cursed – probably because of something the Cubs did.

It’s also possible, I suppose, that the proliferation of Elsa costumes this year actually CONJURED the terrible weather. We went to the annual Halloween celebration at the Gethsemene Garden Store in Andersonville the weekend before, and there were two kinds of costumes: Elsa from Frozen, and whatever boys wore. I suppose there were a few Annas, but they are starting to fall into the same category as “Luigi.” No self-respecting kid chooses to be Player 2.

Viva dressed as Elsa, and we dressed as the parents who teach her to hide her powers and then go down in a shipwreck (leading to her going mad and freezing all of Northern Europe… great parenting, Royal Family of Arendelle – no wonder you got Bambi’s-Mom-ed). It seemed appropriate that ice should be blowing sideways, although we didn’t have a jolly soft-shoeing snowman, just cold fingers and windburn. I’d even be willing to bet that whatever force splashing Lake Michigan all over Lake Shore Drive was some kind of mystical Norwegian Maelstrom. Probably of the variety that killed our characters in the movie. Somebody call Aliotta-Haynes-Jeremiah and tell them the pretty blue lights aren’t going to do it.

So that’s it, then – start thawing the Butterball and tell the crying kiddies that there’s always next year. (It’s what we do in this town, isn’t it.) Maybe next year we’ll make all the kids dress as “Heat Miser” – it might improve the forecast.

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