I’ve always loved Halloween, ever since I can remember, but I was a bit worried about it this year, concerned that it would hurt and open up old wounds… Halloween was one of the very few things I had in common with my brother, whom I lost earlier this year.
He and I really weren’t close. We didn’t see eye-to-eye and we really didn’t get along, except for that magical few weeks every autumn leading up to The Big Day. Halloween unified us, created a bond like nothing else could. We decorated together, watched Halloween specials (An old Halloween episode of Martin, any of Roseanne’s Halloween specials, Treehouse of Horror, and the classic Garfield special were among our favorites), critiqued the neighborhood decorations, helped each other out with our costumes, and sat together in his room, listening to Halloween themed (and anything you could even stretch to fit that theme loosely) records and 8-track tapes.
He loved inflatable skeletons. I briefly debated getting one and hanging it up in front of the house as some sort of memorial, but I couldn’t make myself do it. I think perhaps it’s because one of the last gifts I ever sent him was one of his favorite brand of inflatable skeletons.
Honestly, it doesn’t hurt as much as I feared it would. I do still love Halloween. For a little while in there, I was almost afraid that I wouldn’t, that I’d lose something that has been a defining factor in who I am as a person since I was very, very small. But I focused on some of the good Halloween memories I’ve had, and shared with others. I wanted to share a few of them with you, my friends and readers, as well.
When I was 3 or 4 and made my first Halloween costume all on my own. I was a picture of a vase of flowers, and I thought I was sooooo clever. I’d taken this big old picture frame I found in the trash, taken the glass and the picture out, and drawn flowers in a big vase on the cardboard backing. Then I cut a hole for my face, dressed all in black and put the hanging wire over my shoulders. No one got it. I mean NO ONE. I got progressively more crestfallen as the night went on and I had to keep explaining what I was to people.
When I was 5 or 6 and insisted on being Elvira, Mistress of the Dark for Halloween. I wasn’t old enough or worldy enough to really understand why that might not be the best choice for a kid that young and I was absolutely adamant about the accuracy of my costume, right down to the plunging neckline and tiny dagger (which I made out of foil and poster board, colored, and glued glitter to). THANKFULLY it was bitterly cold out that Halloween and I ended up wearing a puffy coat over my hilariously (to look back on it, anyway) inappropriate costume.
When I was 9 and went as the headless horseman and my brother went as a skeleton. One of my happiest memories of him involves that night, when, for effect, he not only lent me but actually SUGGESTED I borrow one of his most prized possessions (an inflatable skull, which was apparently very rare and incredibly precious to him). I knew how much it meant to him and it really touched me that he’d let me carry it around the neighborhood just to add to my costume. Granted, he watched me like a hawk the entire time, but it was incredibly touching nonetheless.
When I was 15 and depressed, not planning on doing anything but hiding in my room, writing and watching whatever spooky thing was on television, and my best friend, Laura, came over and dragged me out. For the first time in recorded history, I didn’t have a costume planned and wasn’t going to dress up, but she convinced me I had to (and she was right!) So I went outside and gathered some sticks and made a necklace resembling that thing from The Blair Witch Project, which had recently come out, and wore it over my all black outfit, calling myself the Blair Witch, which, I rationalized, was fair as the witch herself is never actually shown in the movie.
Halloween 2013, when I dressed up as a Calavera/Sugar Skull Makeup and enjoyed this interaction with a local kid:
Favorite moment of the night:
Teenage boy wearing a trash bag with arm/neck holes: “You’re barefoot. Aren’t you cold?”
Me: “The dead don’t get cold.”
TB: *scoff* “You’re not dead.”
Me: “Shine that flashlight in my eyes.” (My pupils are hyperreactive so I don’t blink in bright light, and I’m wearing FX lenses that look like red flowers)
TB: *takes a few steps back, then turns and calmly walks about 5 paces before bolting*
Those are a few of my favorite Halloween memories, now it’s your turn. What are some of yours?