My neighbors started decorating for Halloween recently. My husband pointed out the witch and the ghost that were hanging in their tree to my daughter and now every time we get in the car she points and says, “Oooo, scary witch, scary ghost!”
She’s not really scared, she thinks it’s funny.
We went for a walk the other day to look at more Halloween decorations, and passed a yard with some headstones and zombies crawling up out of the ground. There was a bloody decapitated head swinging from a rope in the tree, and it turned my stomach. Almost every house has some version of a disgusting spider crawling up the walls. I don’t really see anything fun about spiders. I don’t get the fascination with zombies, and I’ve never seen an episode of Walking Dead. Since I had my daughter, I’ve tried to get more into it, but the thing is, I really don’t like Halloween. I enjoyed it as a kid, but then things happened.
- When I was in eighth grade, my grandma passed away on Halloween from a battle with pneumonia that she should have recovered from. My grandfather had a sudden heart attack 18 months prior, and she was lost without him. She was doing better and I think she was even scheduled to be released in a few days, and the next thing I knew, she was in ICU with her organs shutting down. My mother and I stood side by side on the morning of Halloween, held her hand, and watched her go. When I try to bring that day back in my mind, it’s mostly flashes of smells of the hospital and images I’d rather forget: rubbing alcohol mixed with the stale stench of bad coffee and the unmistakable stink of cafeteria food. Images play in my mind of her hands swollen from fluid accumulation, and her skin turning yellow. I can still hear the beeping of the machines that monitored her, and the rhythmic time keeping of the ventilator that was breathing for her. I remember watching the machines for the last beats of her heart, and the tearful embraces between my mother and I. How we left the room when it was over so the nurses could remove the tubes and wires, and how when we came back in, her lower lip stayed depressed from the ventilator and distorted my last memory of her beautiful face. Celebrating death didn’t seem like much fun after that day, no matter how much candy I ate.
- Don’t worry, the rest of my list isn’t that gloomy. Before I hated Halloween, I went to a haunted house one year–I think it was Fright Night at Six Flags or something, but my opinion on haunted houses remains to this day–Why? You’re just walking in a line in the dark with a bunch of strangers waiting to have the piss scared out of you. Shuffling your feet, heart racing, looking at disturbing things, and waiting for someone to jump out at you. I hated them anyway, but in this haunted house, someone had an axe as a prop. When I walked by them, they brought the axe down, and it scraped across the back of my neck. Whether it was plastic or real, it felt real enough in the dark, the axe left a mark, and as I reached the end of the darkness, I was convinced that someone could really kill me in one of these things. That was the last time I went into one. I’ll wait for you outside, thanks.
Scary movies and books give me nightmares. Every time. I can’t watch them or read them anymore. I won’t. My daughter seems to have this problem already too. She woke up the other night screaming from her bed. When I went to her, she told me Spider-Man was trying to get her. She was terrified. I rocked her back to sleep, trembling in my arms, wondering how the Spider-Man she knows could have scared her so badly.
- I tried once more in my mid-twenties to get into the spirit of Halloween. My ex-husband was a musician, so a friend and I rented out a big room at the Music Lab (that’s where most of the bands in this town rehearse), ordered some kegs, made flyers, and had a band promotion party. It was the first and only time I dressed as a sexy anything, and I drank enough to almost enjoy the attention. But the night ended in over-indulgence, not mine for once, and I spent the end of the evening and the next morning babysitting and cleaning up vomit and other things I won’t talk about. It did nothing to improve my opinion of this dumb holiday.
- I like seeing the kid’s costumes, but I really don’t enjoy handing out candy. See, I spend most of my time avoiding people who ring the doorbell. If I could change one thing about our new house it would be the glass window in our front door. I can’t ignore solicitors unless I hide, and my dog and daughter always ruin that by running to the door, and barking and yelling, “Hi!” through the glass until I finally answer. It’s a hard habit to get out of, so I generally leave the candy distribution to my husband who doesn’t mind answering the door.
I’d like to dress up this year because I think K is old enough to get a kick out of it when we take her trick or treating, but as I wandered around the Halloween store last week, I was once again appalled at the costumes available for women. Even the older girl’s costumes are bordering on too sexy, and it disturbs me. Thankfully, the toddler section is still cute and cuddly, and I found the perfect costume for K. She puts it on every day and can’t wait for her candy. But, I found nothing appropriate for a 35-year-old woman to wear in public. Even the superhero costumes look like they should come with a complimentary lap dance.
How do you make a t-shirt with a cape attached look trashy? Easy, make even the X-large in a size that is more appropriate for my three-year old. Pair it with matching underwear and knee socks.
I just…I can’t even.
Snow White was the most covered up costume I saw, but even that one required a heaving rack to pull off, and unfortunately my B’s don’t heave. My husband encouraged me to buy a costume anyway, wink, wink, wink, and at my age that’s where most of these costumes belong. In the bedroom behind closed doors. I’m past the age where walking around in the neighborhood as a sexy superhero in my undies is appropriate.
Maybe next year, I’ll start shopping early and online for a non-sexy costume I can wear for the majority of the trick or treating years, but until then, I’ll do what I always seem to do in October. Avoid the horror on television, hide from the begging children who come to our door, wait patiently for harvest decorations to replace severed limbs and zombie yard gnomes, and look forward to the holiday dedicated to shoveling food and pie in my face and then taking a nap.