Halloween has grown on me lately. It started to annoy me in my twenties, but it’s a lot more fun with small children.
B is going to be Wall-E, and Brad wants to be a “green purple.” Last year B was an F1 driver, and we used cardboard and spray paint to turn the Cozy Coup into a pretty stellar F1 car. Brad was a bear- which he loved- but even at 18 months you could see the disappointment of not having a race car himself. So for a lot of the night there was a bear driving a race car looking confused.
Decorations are more elaborate and out earlier than I remember as a kid. Somewhere in the neighborhood there’s a zombie crawling its way out of the ground ~8% of the year. But as far as holidays go, I appreciate that it’s just for fun. No gifts, just candy. There’s no travel or obligatory family, no one expects much effort, and observing it at all is totally optional.
For how ubiquitous it is, I’ve also come to appreciate Halloween for just how *weird* it is. Like if you were explaining the holiday:
“It’s like a holiday where you celebrate death.”
- Oh, like honoring dead ancestors?
“No, like... gruesome murder. Terrifying abominations summoned from the depths of hell to feast on the living, or just plain crazies. Creepy bugs and demonic children. We watch movies with lots of blood, or visit old houses where people jump out of the dark and pretend to dismember you in… oh all kinda of ways, knives, axes, chainsaws even!”
“It’s mostly for the kids. As a family we carve faces into pumpkins that the decapitated can use as prosthetics. The kids don’t like the pumpkin goop, though. And so much candy!”
Halloween has been my favorite holiday as long as I can remember. Parents forcing me into a button up shirt and combing my hair before church didn't sell Easter to me very well, and the family obligations and reverence of Thanksgiving and Christmas never resonated with me. I suppose the next favorite was good ol' American Independence Day, but that's just because it's fun to blow things up.
For me, every day is Halloween. But it's true that October is *especially* Halloween. I have a lot of personal Halloween traditions, including reading a classic (pre-20th century) Gothic novel every October. I've had friends over for horror movie nights.
I'm excited this year because of getting to go to a grown-up Halloween party for the first time in well over a decade. And it's attached to a performance of the Rocky Horror Show, so I'm extra-enthused. My outside decorations have been a little limited by moving to an apartment with no exterior electric plugs, but the inside is good. And the party is a few days before Halloween, so I can still hand out candy.
I love the sound of your reading tradition. I knew movies were a thing but I never even considered making a book a personal tradition. Thank you for sharing this ~tatterdemalion. I might nick it and pick up something exciting, spooky or classic this weekend.
I want to witness Halloween in the US just once in my life. Here it's always kind of half-assed, and the supermarkets force this shitty calibre disposable plastic stuff aimed purely at kids.
For once I want to see an adult frankenstein stagger drunkenly around at a house party. Is that too much to ask?
Hah- get some green face paint and a handle of booze: be the change you want to see in the world.