"... there was nothing electric, nothing inflatable, nothing with latex membranes or strobes. I do remember the first time I saw bright orange lawn trash bags decorated with smiley pumpkin faces, which was about ten years ago; I thought they were kind of clever and festive, if a bit commercial. Now they seem quaint, compared to, say, yard decorations like Demonica Zombie Baby ('a latex skin foam filled child with sound and motion activated flashing eye lights,' in stock and ready to ship for $39.99) or a life-sized Hellraiser Pinhead Animatronic (a big investment at $279.99)."
That's Susan Orlean, who also bemoans the trend toward Halloween as a time for adult revelry: "when I was young, Halloween was a holiday celebrated only by children." That made me look up Orlean's age — 54 — and city of origin — Cleveland. The trend toward Mardi Gras-style street parties and parades for adult revelries goes back to the 1970s. That's when Freakfest began here in Madison, Wisconsin and the time of the first Greenwich Village Halloween Parade in NYC. I remember those parades in the late 1970s, when I lived in Greenwich Village. It was a continuation of the counter-culture of the 60s, isn't it? They called us Baby Boomers, and we internalized the concept of "baby." You'll just have to deal with it now.
ADDED: Orlean... Mardi Gras... Maybe that has something to do with her annoyance at the migration of adult revelry to the autumn holiday. That and the fact that — as she reveals in the article — Halloween is her birthday.