October is in full swing. I love this time of year. Cool autumn nights, carving pumpkins, wacky Halloween decorations, avoiding the beckoning multitudes of candy at every major store. It’s also the best time of year for spooky reading. Since I’m not the only one who enjoys theme reading, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites:
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman and The Gates by John Connolly are written for a YA audience but should please all ages with their vivid characters and clever stories.
There’s a huge variety of sci-fi-ish short fiction to choose from. I adored Twilight Zone and More Stories from the Twilight Zone (currently reading), both edited by Carol Serling. Their topics are as intelligent and varied as Rod Serling’s original TV show. There’s also Richard Matheson who had a huge impact on modern suspense and horror. Some of his collections include Button, Button, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, and Duel. John Connolly also has a collection of short fiction and novellas, Nocturnes, that definitely gave me chills.
If you prefer full length fiction there’s Gil’s All Fright Diner and The Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez to keep things light; I Am Legend by Richard Matheson to keep things suspenseful; and the Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Potzsch to keep things book club friendly.
If you want a how-to guide to get through Halloween, How to Survive a Horror Movie by Seth Grahame-Smith and Worst Case Scenario Guide: Paranormal by David Borgenicht are really great bets. I’m sure they’ll come in very handy should you find your home haunted in the coming weeks. The Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks could also prove useful should the uprising occur this year.
If you prefer your darkness to be closer to reality The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout and Without Conscience by Robert Hare should do nicely. They look at people who are without conscience or empathy which is scarier than most ghouls since these monsters are entirely human. If you want the nonfiction without the monster, there’s Spook by Mary Roach and The Science of Superstition by Bruce Hood.
If you want to avoid the creepfest altogether you can focus on one of other major highlights of Halloween: chocolate. Mort Rosenblum wrote about the history of chocolate in Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light (in brown ink no less). There’s also the Hershey vs Mars battle in Joel Glenn Brenner’s The Emperor’s of Chocolate.
In all honesty, I found the pun funny. It's more about social satire than offending people (as far as I can tell) but companies are responding since it's the safe road for corporate America. Latinos are not the only group who live in this country illegally. While it's the stereotype, there are other groups of people including including Asians, Africans, Australians, Europeans and even Canadians. I read an article in Marie Claire some years ago about an Irish bartender who was here illegally. She's not what you expect but it's the reality. Latinos are not the only ones who have the right to be upset but they seem to be making the most noise since they are the stereotype. That bugs me that only one group of people seems to be upset about this. What about every other racial group/nationality? We haven't heard a peep from them. Maybe that's the numbers but everyone seems to forget that even white people can be illegal immigrants.
I can see the point that someone finds it unfunny because of the resemblance to the jumpsuits aliens wear in detention centers. I would feel a little offended then and I can see that point. It is fully within every citizens right to complain about that but it's also in other citizens right to wear it and find the humor in it. I truly don't think it's that bad. It's certainly in better taste that Prince Harry's Nazi costume. Since I was born here and am not Hispanic (despite the semi-regular confusions otherwise), I can't fully grasp the empathy for the other side. I'm sure it sucks to be illegal or have everyone assume you are. But where do we draw the line to just loosen up and find the humor?
No one made this costume with the intent to offend. It was probably made to make light of the political situation or just to have fun. If you try hard enough (which is minimal effort), witch and vampire costumes are offensive. Ask half the Bible belt and Harry Potter and She Devil costumes are highly offensive. Michael Jackson costumes, if done wrong, will probably cause a number of bar fights this year. I'm sure several of my friends whose families immigrated here from other countries would find this at least a little funny. Even Don King, who is half Cuban, doesn't really care. I can see where some people would be offended but I can also see where some people need to lighten up a little. It's a fine line but I've seen worse on Halloween.