Friday, October 5, 2012

My Halloween

Anyone that knows me pretty well knows that I love Halloween. Always have, always will. When I was a kid, it wasn't about the candy so much as it was about the experience of it all. Being able to go out one night a year and dress up as something spooky was good enough for me. The candy was just an added bonus. Where did my love of Halloween come from? Well, I don't really remember, but I kind of associate it with my father. My dad has always enjoyed all the spookiness of Halloween too, so I'm sure his enthusiasm just rubbed off on me. My parents always decorated the house for Halloween, with paper cutouts of ghosts, witches, and other assorted spooks. So, I basically grew up around it. It's not just the night of Halloween either, but the whole month of October, and basically anything spooky. I could ride The Haunted Mansion ride at Disney World a million times and not get sick of it. I love scary stories, and every once in a while, a good scary movie. So this is basically just going to be a little walk through of my obsession with Halloween.

The best tradition as a kid always is going out trick-or-treating. Like I said, I loved the candy and everything, but it was the night itself that was exciting for me. What other night could I walk around a strange neighborhood in the dark while being dressed up? No other, because I'm pretty sure you'd get picked up by the cops. There was a certain magic to it. Halloween night is always a special one, and I can't rightly say why at the moment. It's out of the ordinary is all I can say. I could dress up, be something scary like a ghost, or harmless like a clown (I know some of you find clowns terrifying so I'm sorry), and pretend for a while that the neighborhood I was in was inhabited by all these other mystifying creatures that you could see no other time. It was always best when it was not too cold, as my mother would often make me wear a coat over my costume if it was too cold, and not raining. Rain did not make everything spookier, just wetter. The neighborhoods we visited would change from year to year, but we always went to my Great Aunt and Uncle's house in Highland to get some candy and visit. I didn't have that much of a sweet tooth as a child and I still don't. That being said, I still loved having a haul of candy at the end of the night. My parents, like everybody's, stole some of the good stuff, but there were enough goodies left to consider the night a success. The best houses were the ones that gave out actual full sized candy bars. Those were the rich people who just wanted to do something nice for the kids. God bless em'! Another rare treat was a can of pop. That only happened a few times in my childhood, but oh man was it ever awesome. Thanks to that, I could walk around for an extra hour and not feel tired! But for the most part it was fun size candy bars, licorice, hard candy, pennies (I hated this), and popcorn balls. And there was always that one nut-job that gave you a toothbrush. Every neighborhood has to have a dentist. Jerks. I would thank you kindly to let me rot my teeth. The modes for carrying around the loot changed throughout the years, and is oddly specific to my generation. McDonald's came out with these trick-or-treat buckets in the late eighties, early nineties that had a ghost, a witch, and a pumpkin. Man I loved these things, and almost every kid had one. The problem was they were too darn small and you'd fill it up with candy too fast. We used to have to run back to the car to dump out our full pails. As I became older, I had to resort to a pillow case. Not as spooky or fun, but hey, it held a ton of candy.

My parents were great not only because they took us trick-or-treating, or that they decorated the house, but also because they taped a bunch of awesome Halloween specials. Every Halloween we would watch these specials, and they were probably the best things ever. You have the classic Garfield's Halloween Adventure. Garfield and Odie go out trick-or-treating, only to run into a bunch of pirate ghosts...or is it ghost pirates? The Real Ghostbusters had an episode called "The Halloween Door" and it dealt with this old dude trying to get rid of Halloween. He went even as far as creating a device that makes Halloween associated things disappear. Geez, someone's a killjoy. Well it turns out that he releases a bunch of demons in the process and the Ghostbusters have to stop them and bring peace back to Halloween night. Fun episode, and it has a lot of little bits of history on Halloween. Everybody watched It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, as it is a classic alongside the Charlie Brown Christmas special. The whole episode is genius, but I love anything that had to do with Snoopy. My all time favorite thing to watch though was Disney's Halloween Treat. It was a TV special that came out in 1982, I believe, and all it was was a bunch of old Disney cartoons that had to do with Halloween. It was all narrated by this jack-o-lantern puppet too, which had this kind of creepy voice. My favorite part of the whole special was the headless horseman chase from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. That story creeps me out, but is still one of my favorite Halloween stories. Oh, and Night on Bald Mountain. So awesome. I'm unusual because I've basically watched those specials every single year. I literally just watched the Ghostbusters one today. It's a stupid tradition, but I love these old videos.

I'm pretty serious about Halloween. I've decorated for it ever since I was old enough, except for this one year back in middle school. I'm not sure what my deal was. I think it was in that transition where I thought Halloween could only be enjoyed by kids, and since I was a little older, I wasn't supposed to like Halloween. I must have gotten over that, because my love for the holiday is going strong! I've even had a Halloween party every single year since the beginning of high school. I like to get the most out of the whole month by trying to watch some scary movies, maybe play a creepy game like Castlevania or Zombies Ate my Nieghbors, and read a few scary stories. I don't think I'll ever recapture the wonder I had as a child during this season, but it's still fun to try and get into the festivities. I see people that put a lot of emphasis on Christmas, and I get it, it's a fun holiday. However, I put as much energy into Halloween. I may not fully decorate my house and the outside, but I like to live the season. Yes, I realize that I am a crazy person, as Halloween is not typically one of the holidays that people go all out for, but that's just who I am. The one thing that I have never been able to do on Halloween is hand out candy. My parents house, and all the previous places I lived in weren't conducive to handing out treats to kids. I don't know why I want to do it so badly, but I think it has to do with just being able to see all the kids in their costumes and seeing how much fun everyone is having on the holiday. Plus it gives my wife and I an excuse for buying tons of candy! Now that we have a house in a subdivision, my dream will finally be realized!

So please enjoy the month, as I always have. Go out and see a scary movie, or watch one at home. Go to a haunted attraction, or a corn maze. Just do something fall related! It's the best season of all, so you might as well go enjoy it at an apple orchard or something! Hope I've given some of you some holiday cheer, or at least brought back some Halloween memories.

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