Every year, when October rolls around, I can’t help but anticipate Halloween. As trees shed their leaves and become bare-boned skeletons of their former selves and temperatures dip enough to give the air a crisp chill, the whole atmosphere of the outdoors changes. The stage is set for ghosts, ghouls and goblins of all sorts.
Like every year, Rebecca and I will dress up to give out candy on Halloween. We also will dress up for the costume party we’re hosting a few days earlier. Unlike past years, I won’t wear the same costume both nights.
This requires a bit of explanation.
Just a few days ago my younger brother and I were talking about our Halloween experiences growing up. It involved trick-or-treating on post at Fort Knox or in Muldraugh and Radcliff.
Talking about Halloween with my brother brought up a lot of memories, like how our father would drive us from neighborhood to neighborhood on and off post. Our mother would walk with the three younger kids. The three older kids got to run ahead of us and trick-or-treat on their own.
Using large brown paper grocery bags, the six of us kids would rack up between seven and eight such sacks filled with candy. One year we racked up enough candy to keep us supplied with sweets until July of the following year. Dad got to keep all the chewing gum; that was the deal. Mom rationed out the candy over the coming weeks and months.
During our discussion, my brother mentioned seeing at an antique store some vintage Halloween costumes that reminded him of costumes we had as kids. We agreed that we always felt Halloween costumes were meant to be scary or creepy. Halloween, after all, is about scaring yourself silly or creeping yourself out.
While others have fun dressing as superheroes or celebrities or enjoy concocting funny costumes, I’ve always embraced the scariness of the holiday, as did my family when I was growing up. Some of the costumes my siblings and I had were a skeleton, Frankenstein’s monster and a devil.
So for all that trick-or-treating as a child, and for nearly every costume party I’ve hosted with Rebecca or attended, and for each time we handed out candy on Halloween, I’ve dressed in a scary costume. I’ve been werewolves, ghouls, demons, vampires and even death, among other things. It is only on a rare occasion I haven’t upheld this preference.
You see, Rebecca and I have been hosting Halloween costume parties for some 25 years. Accordingly, for our costume contest, we usually provide two theme suggestions, and one of them typically allows for scary costumes.
This year is different. The suggested themes for our weekend costume party involve masks and celebrities. There’s not much room for scary there (at least not the actual monster-related type!).
But that’s OK. Sometimes delving into something new is scary enough.
And there’s always Halloween night.