The Last October Night
Last night, as I sat with my extended family, a mixture of baby boomers, Gen X’s, and Millennials, we spoke of haunting experiences: fear intentionally endured for fun. Few of us said we wanted to repeat those ‘fun’ occasions. They were things that fell into the it seemed like a good idea at the time category, but now we wished we hadn’t risked them.
We have learned that Halloween can be fun and scary without doing long term psychological damage. What adrenalin rush is worth the walk into nightmarish darkness? I recall the fun: the costumes, the parties, the doors to knock on, the treats, the stories, and the songs we made up and sang. We were having fun. But when scared, boy did we run!
I recall winning a Halloween party costume contest as an adult. I was not in the best costume. Was I given an honor for courage? Was humor involved? Did my green legs catch the judges’ eyes? No one fears a giant tomato.
What I like about Halloween is that I owe no one anything for it. It has a strange history and a life of its own with unique childish traditions. It is when it is, on the last day of October, followed immediately by November. Halloween has as many bizarre religious undertones as it does silly religious rejections.
With nods to the goths and the goolies, to the vampires and fried eggs, to the ubiquitous hobos and fun folks in clever, challenging outfits, I like Halloween and I know I’m in good, scary, company.
Look both ways on those dark October nights.
Mind the gaps where memories of youth dance and sing because it is time for all of that.
But this Halloween tragedy was way over the top.