There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.
I think it was a Snow White mask that probably turned me into a Halloween hater. Do you remember the days when getting dressed up in a Halloween costume meant wearing an awful plastic mask with eye holes that never lined up and with elastic thread that invariably got tangled in your hair? The ones that caused oxygen deprivation and patches of baldness on the backs of heads of millions of children back in those less safety conscious days when parents thought it was perfectly okay to send their visually challenged, clumsy kindergarteners into the street like tiny zombies in snowsuits?
Or maybe it wasn’t Snow White’s fault at all. Maybe it was those disappointing and dreadful pieces of peanut butter flavored taffy rolled up in orange and black pieces of waxed paper that old people who hated Halloween always tossed into my brown paper bag when what I’d been hoping for was a candy bar.
Actually, maybe it was just the premise of Halloween itself. For starters, I’ve never really liked that feeling of being scared. Isn’t real life scary enough? Do we really need a whole day of the year devoted to making it scarier? I don’t like wearing costumes, wouldn’t go into a haunted house unless someone was holding a gun to my head, and scooping the guts out of a pumpkin always makes me gag.
Having confessed all of this, it is both ironic and inevitable that I would host a lot of Halloween parties for my kids when they were in high school. Each year, teenagers would arrive in a swarm and stay until they’d eaten everything in our house. I always wondered what their parents thought as they dropped their kids off in the front hall. They probably assumed that I just loved Halloween. Or teenagers.
The truth of the matter is this. On that scariest of nights, I was less creeped out knowing that the two Beasties I was responsible for raising were home and not some place else so it was worth all the noise, the mess, and the barren refrigerator every year. Now that they are nearly grown, I know that the memories I helped create meant something to both of them. They were lucky kids. I think they realize that more the older they get.
And looking back, I know I was pretty lucky, too.
(Happy “Halloween” Birthday , Pete! October 31, 1989. I may never love Halloween, but I’ll always be crazy about you! Love, Auntie Ter)