In America we love Halloween. But in New Orleans, as soon as one even thinks October might be near, it’s like …
IN YOUR FACE.
Within the past few years, it’s been all about the pumpkin spice. And even though it’s made fun of and is now a seriously pedestrian thing to take part in, it’s everywhere. And it’s not going to go away. Until the first brush of spring, anyway.
As for me? I revel in it.
Just a few days ago before work, I walked into PJ’s Coffee wearing my chef’s coat and proudly ordered several pumpkin spice lattes. Should I be ordering something a little more in tune with my profession? Say a single cup pour from only the purest and most precious single-origin beans? Perhaps. But I’m not gonna.
Instead, I went back to work armed with lattes and set one down in front of a co-worker who was in the midst of becoming an American citizen. I said, “You want to become an American? Learn the ways of the pumpkin spice. It’ll be on the test.” (I’m totally kidding here. It’s not on the test, but I think it should be.)
Pumpkin is from this land and part of the indigenous “Three Sisters” of corn, squash and beans. Boom. God bless America.
Another co-worker teased, “Pumpkin spice brings all the white girls to the yard.”
I said, “Yes. Yes it does.”
And therein lies the reason why pumpkin spice is now horrifically uncool. Cinnamon and nutmeg are seen as girly. It’s something that women love, therefore it will be unashamedly marketed towards them – but then they are ridiculed for buying into it. We know how this works.
I say screw that, as I eat a breakfast of Pumpkin Spice Frosted Mini Wheats (for a Limited Time Only) with half-n-half.
It’s just some campy fun, much like Halloween has become for us. Around this time of year, we love to decorate our houses in obscene amounts of orange and black, colorful witches that look nothing like actual witches and skeletons, zombies, etc. We like to watch garish horror flicks, the bloodier the better, and gorge on single-serving candies.
We even love to go to “haunted houses,” real and fake, to have people dressed up like zombies or serial killers scare us – professional frighteners. We employ professional frighteners in this great country.
A few days ago, I asked one of my English pals how they celebrate Halloween across the pond, and she said that it’s not nearly as popular over there. It’s seen as too “American.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?" I said, "It’s too fun?”
“Too over the top. Too American.”
“Sounds like y’all just hate fun over there.”
And I get it. Every holiday now has its own section at every store, filled with cheap crap that you might buy just because it’s there. You didn’t need those black cat sippy straws, but they were there!
I’m over here thinking, "man, why do I have to feel bad about loving Halloween and pumpkin spice lattes? There are so many other things to feel bad about, I have to feel bad about a drink too?"
Nope. I choose to revel. And I love New Orleans because it revels so well. No one here is going to judge you too hard for partaking in a good revel.
And so today I’ll be stopping by the coffee shop on my way home from work and picking up a latte. My protest against snobbery – along with one of those new Cadbury cream eggs with the green ooze inside (because it’s Halloween, not Easter). And I’m going to enjoy every minute of it. Because I am an American woman and an adult, and I do what I want.