Each Halloween, Chloe picks someone, then ruins his or her life. She learned what Halloween is all about: Finding out people’s fears & making them come true. She might find them obnoxious. She might think that playing with fears is stupid. She might think that people like to show off – Halloween encourages boasting. Chloe either hates a boaster or wants to fight the competition. Either way, people will suffer, because they cannot face fear.
June is horrified to hear about this elaborate design – it is impious, a crime against a holiday, where people are in the habit of being trusting & unafraid. She herself likes fun activities that only seem to be remotely unpleasant. All thrill, no danger. Her Halloween costume is a hobbit – every girl wants a ring. June is democracy. Unfortunately, Americans are not all democrat – whenever holidays give them respite from America, they jump at whatever seems like happiness; hung over the next morning, they take the walk of shame…
Chloe meets her match, a movie director who is as hateful as she is. They have a lovely romantic comedy together – the comedy is that they are trying to destroy each other. Comically, the romance turns out to be serious: They love each other, each loving himself. She tries to destroy him by playing his mother – a mother abandoning a child being the best image of helplessness. He tries to destroy her by playing her romantic lover – rom-coms being the most popular image of true love.
Chloe is terrified of rom-coms, though she is living in one, as June attests, thrilled. The prospect of happiness is immediately arresting, everyone is interested in it. The chasing to the airport shows that love is about destroying someone’s independence, keeping them in the city, even an Australian. Chloe refuses to settle the problem of love – she says, see you in the sequel.
James’s Halloween party is all about love, not about fear. Only pleasing costumes are allowed. He does not like scary things, because they are scary. James is one of those happy souls who do not have morbid thoughts & do not even need to get angry at themselves for some desire to see ugly things. But that’s also the reason why he cannot save Halloween from this dark fate: Maybe joy cannot defend itself by toughness.
Mark is the man to confront this unconventional paradise. He dresses like the devil & angers James. But the anger of the confrontation is too much for Mark, who is anyway given to self-loathing. All the thrill of transgression forces him to see his cowardice & spinelessness. James wins – but surely the conventions have more conviction behind them than this poor soul…