"Why give Satan more publicity?

This week and next, thousands of adults in our city will be looking through catalogs, talking to their friends and generally worrying themselves to death about what kind of Halloween costume they’ll be wearing this year.

Personally, I haven’t dressed up for Halloween since I hit puberty and the neighbors decided they didn’t want to hand over fun-sized bars of Snickers or 3 Musketeers. But there are plenty of grownups who go to elaborate lengths on their costumes, and it just baffles me.

Why would an adult want to dress up like Raggedy Ann, or Cartman from South Park? Don’t they have better things to do? Is it really that important?

I have absolutely no problem with kids wanting to wear a costume and prowl their neighborhood in search of free candy. I was an expert at doing so myself. There is a reward in doing so. The expense of a costume is exceeded by the benefit of getting a grocery bag of Smarties and Twizzlers.

As a grownup, I’ve reversed my position. Feed your own damn kids. Don’t send them to my house unless you want me to offer them some hypertension medicine, some empty soda cans or a box of Kraft Macaroni ‘n Cheese. That’s all I have to offer them.

I wish someone would explain to me the reward for an adult who dresses up like Superman and attends a Halloween party. Usually the only reward is free booze, which is available at pretty much any party anyway. If you’re a single man, your costume is unlikely to impress any female enough to make it worth your while.

And in the worst case scenario, you’ll wake up with vomit all over your George W. Bush costume, nursing a bad hangover and kicking yourself for being so stupid as to get dressed up in the first place.

Besides that, I’m not sure I want to associate myself with someone dressed up as a Lord of the Rings or Star Wars character, much less a witch. I’ve tried all my life to disassociate myself from Star Wars freaks, witches, Harry Potter fans and the like. So far, I’ve been pretty successful.

Secondly, I have a problem with the idea of Halloween as a holiday. I’ve read too many Jack Chick tracts telling me that Halloween is Satan’s Christmas and I’m uncomfortable with anything that celebrates the Prince of Darkness.

We get enough satanic rhetoric from Ann Coulter and right-wing politicians these days. We don’t need to go creating more of it. I’m a fundamentalist Southern Baptist and holding a special occasion to celebrate the lord of the demonic underworld is just a little too much to ask of me.

Besides, Satan is already winning the battle for souls on earth. Why help him along with his task? He’s got wars, famine, disease, pestilence and American Idol, so why give him another thing to celebrate? We may as well just open up the seventh seal, take the mark of the beast on our foreheads and make Bush president for life.

OK. I’ll admit it. I hate Halloween only in part because of Satan. It’s mainly because I’ve been getting a little bit of pressure at home to choose a Halloween costume. My wife, who has a genius-level IQ and impeccable judgment in almost every single category, would like us to attend a Halloween party.

I knew a guy who dressed up as the World Trade Centers right after 9/11 and he almost got lynched – rightfully so. I’d wear a Nixon mask, since he’s my hero, but they stopped selling those things in the late 1970s. And nobody would get it if I dressed up as a character from my favorite video game, San Andreas. They’d just think I was trying to be Biggie Smalls.

So, besides the fact that I’ll be assisting Satan if I celebrate Halloween, I just don’t have any ideas. I thought about wearing a three-piece suit and pretending to be Sen. Larry Craig, but I’d just look like a dork in a suit who’s tapping his feet and soliciting gay sex.

The only idea I like is the notion of Katie and I dressing up as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, the stars of our new favorite TV show and the topic of much discussion between us. Briefly, my position is that Ricky is the coolest character ever. He owns a business, wears snappy clothes and is a talented bandleader with plenty of celebrity pals. Lucy, on the other hand, is a gold-digging, loudmouthed trollop with a penchant for getting into trouble.

So I could get behind being Lucy and Ricky, since I’m already a talented, good-looking person with plenty of celebrity friends. I’m on a first-name basis with David Lindquist, Tufty and the Slurs. It would be like playing myself.

But if I win this argument, there’ll be no Halloween in our house. If I don’t, I’ll be carrying a conga drum and singing “Babalu.”

To me, that’s as bad as honoring the devil.