Nick VarneyNick Varney

Nick Varney Nick Varney

Unhinged Alaska: 2020 — The Halloween Year

2020 has nixed Oct. 31 as the official observance of Halloween and hijacked the mantle as its own.

2020 blew onto the world stage with the usual fanfare of fireworks, concerts, parties, subsequent hangovers but barely a clue of the witches’ brew steeping overseas that would soon be exported around the globe.

The year has now nixed Oct. 31 as the official observance of Halloween and hijacked the mantle as its own.

The beast’s spawn of 365 days has been laying it on so thick that some people don’t know whether to be exceedingly alarmed or just shake their heads at the plethora of weirdness. Probably, both.

There is no question that the Halloween year has given a whole new meaning to the expression, “unprecedented times.” There’s the coronavirus pandemic, Australia’s and the U.S. devastating bush fires and, of course, rapper Kanye West announcing his presidential bid and then promptly dropping out before he dropped back in again.

The announcement that the Olympics contests were postponed was poignant, but why was the trumpeting of Elon Musk of SpaceX and Tesla, naming his new son X Æ A-Xii, even noteworthy?

It must have been a slow “breaking news” week because rabid politicians are normally flinging so much dirt on each other that their dust is starting to blot out the sun. Much to the delight of drooling media commentators wearing the ridiculous costumes of supposed journalists.

Let’s see. Oh yeah, a star went missing.

For nearly two decades, astronomers have been studying a star in a galaxy 75 million light years away. This year, when they took a look, they couldn’t find it. Conjecture is that it could be the first instance of a star collapsing into a black hole without first exploding into a supernova. Eerie stuff. The star probably took it in its celestial shorts when its personal 2020 rolled around.

Stranger yet, the reports of mystery drones spotted over Colorado and Nebraska back in January. According to the New York Post, drones about the size of cars were supposedly flying around during the night in grid patterns. The Colorado observations were questionable because of the state’s population has easy access to primo legalized weed. No excuse of the Nebraskans.

Lest we forget, this full year of Halloween also conjured up the infamous Asian giant hornet in a bottle trap near Custer, Washington. The invasive, predatory frankensect, dubbed the “murder hornet” ignited terror due to its antisocial behavior pattern that included stinging multiple times while delivering large doses of venom, just because it could.

It didn’t help matters when an entomologist at the Washington state Agriculture Department, stated, “What we’re told from the literature is that most people can survive one or two stings.” Most? Jeeze, not cool. Rumors were already circling that several unfortunates had assumed suborbital status after they sat on one.

What else? The brain stems in marketing at the Planters Peanuts plant ghoulishly released a Super Bowl commercial where Mr. Peanuts perished after a nasty fall and subsequent fiery explosion. Backlash from Mr. P fans reflected that they were less than amused watching their beloved nut getting roasted. Co-advert stars Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh must have been mortified to lose a popularity contest to a 104-year-old legume.

Come on now, you say. Has 2020 really been all that bad?

Well, there was the massive disappearance of toilet paper that directly led to a tree bark shortage and a dynamic upswing in emergency room visits for impressive butt sliver extractions and keister balm applications.

Paper towels along with antiseptic wipes, disinfectant sprays, and face masks were designated endangered products adding them to the panic-stockpile items of the moment. Meat nearly assumed the status of bullion.

And the year’s assorted chicanery continues:

The pandemic seems to mimic the ocean tides flowing in cycles of high and lows as arguments continue flare as to the efficiency of mask wearing, lockdowns and social distancing.

It’s also a presidential election year that has become so polarizing that even friends and family members are sniping at each other while politicians go out of their way to chainsaw each other’s reputation. Speculation is rampant that Michael Myers might have a chance as a write-in.

Common courtesy and civil discourse is becoming as rare as snowshoe hare taking out a lynx with a roundhouse kick.

So, what’s next?

How about an asteroid the diameter of a refrigerator striking the day before the November election? It’s hurtling towards Earth at a speed of 25,000 miles per hour but, supposedly, is not large enough to do any serious damage and has less than a 1% chance of clipping the planet. Really? 2020, anybody?

Just to pile on, last Monday, Oct. 19, we had to immediately ghost the Homer Spit because of a tsunami warning. Come on man!

When is it going to be the lava-chuckers turn?

Don’t put it past H-20 to go for the record held by year 536 when a volcano erupted in Iceland and the sun dimmed for a year and a half, leading to a catastrophic global cold spell.

The way things are working now, it will wait until New Year’s Eve to play the last surprise in its bag of 365 goblin tricks.

Stay tuned.

Nick can be reached at

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