The Ryan Report – Episode 206 "Vampire Weekend" Ryan's Bio
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For some people it's Thanksgiving, for others it's Valentine's, but my most stressful holiday is Halloween. It's the worst time of the year for cops – for some reason, it causes people to go wacko and commit the strangest crimes. Murder rate always goes through the roof.. Must be because on Halloween, the veil between this world and the after-life is at its thinnest. Or maybe people are just stressed about having to figure out a costume.
Funny thing is, all this dressing up is a completely modern invention. Back in the day, when Halloween was invented by the ancient Celts as Samhain, it was just a time to light a bonfire, blacken your face with ashes, and slaughter your livestock. No worrying about whether you've got the correct style for Dick Tracy's signature hat – back then, all you had to do was toss some ashes on and you were all set to disguise yourself as a harmful spirit!
At least back when you were a kid, you'd be rewarded for the ingenuity and craftsmanship of your costume with candy. Trick-or-treating is the national sport of kids everywhere, complete with word-of-mouth scouting report. Every kid knows which houses give out "healthy snacks" (ugh!) and which ones give out full chocolate bars – those places always ended up with lines longer than the hottest bar in town.
Then there was always my favorite part of the whole shebang – going home afterwards and separating out my candy. Next day at school, we'd try to trade up for better stuff. Back then, if I was able to swap out all my candy corn for chocolates, Halloween was a success for me.
Nowadays, I spend my Halloween going over whatever loopy murders people commit that day. I'm talking about a man strangled with a hundred elastic bands or a woman who ended up eating the "Pancakes of Death." And even don't get me started on the man who died of a thousand cuts – we never figured out that one.
But it's not all creepy killings here in New York on Halloween – we've actually got a pretty cool history. Orson Welles pulled off his famous War of the Worlds stunt on the day before Halloween, using a radio booth in Manhattan to convince the rest of the country that the Martians had landed. Famed New Yorker Harry Houdini even managed to die on Halloween. Heck, Sleepy Hollow itself is only a short train ride away.
My personal Halloween history here in town is nearly as prestigious – a full Robocop costume three years ago then a perfect samurai costume, followed last year by my greatest coup, Zombie Abraham Lincoln. The half-burnt stove-pipe hat was my favorite touch.
But this year, zilch! I'm completely out of ideas, like one of those stressed-out designers on Project Runway in the final weeks. Er, anyhow you get the picture. I'll probably just end up borrowing my best friend's ER scrubs or something… Seems to me like Ancient Celts knew what they were doing. That whole tossing on some ashes and being a "harmful spirit" thing sounds really straightforward – all I have to do is figure out how to pronounce Samhain and I'm golden!