Happy Halloween! I have always loved Halloween. I love costumes, candy, spooky business, haunted houses and the general get-outside-yourself-ness that is Halloween. Then I learned about Day of the Dead … now there is a celebration! I still haven’t managed to be in Mexico for Dia de los Muertos. It’s a dream. Maybe next year?
When I was a kid, we went trick or treating without our parents. There was never a problem with this. We would just be a band of kids with our candy bags and UNICEF boxes out on the street in the dark. And. there. was. never. a. problem. I’m sad for kids today who can’t have that experience. Who won’t get to know what it’s like to not have to worry about going up to strangers’ houses and getting gifts from them. Who won’t get to know how to be kids in the same way my friends and I got to be kids.
Every year, there would be a big haunted house. Usually it was in a bigger town not far from where we lived. We’d have to go early because the line would be down the street, families coming out to get scared together. They were always set up in big buildings — warehouses, closed stores. I have no idea who put them together. As a kid, that part of it didn’t matter to me at all. If I’d stayed living upstate, I probably would have gotten involved in the production side eventually, but as a kid it was just about the scare.
I loved those haunted houses. I loved the darkness and the uncertainty, loved that there were so many of us in there, all getting freaked out together, loved not knowing when the next ghoul was going to leap out at me. I would have gone back every day through the season if we could have afforded it. I know there are still haunted houses today, but I’m willing to bet they are very different from the ones I went to as a kid — gorier, scarier, creepier. In some ways, that would probably please me, but at the same time I don’t think I’d really like it. Part of the fun of those haunted houses was being able to see the man behind the curtain, being able to see how it worked and see the make up and costuming (you know, after your heart started beating again!). Our ability to be scary is so much more advanced now, I just imagine that haunted houses have stepped up their game enough for it to be too much. Maybe I need to go to one and see. Hope my heart can handle it!
My mom was crazy for Halloween. She dressed up and decorated and marched in the school parade when Fox was a kid. She still does Halloween. She’s in a child-rich neighborhood now, so she was really looking forward to this year’s festivities. I’m sorry I’m not there to see it all!
As for me, I’m gearing up for giving out candy. I’ve got my supply, I’ll have my outside light on and be ready for the kids when they come. I’m opting out of the costume this year … well, maybe.