I have always hated Halloween. Well, except for that one time when Aidan inexplicably looked like this for about an hour:
Even when I was but a wee child of six and I wore that creepy brown onesie with the moulded, plastic mask, I couldn't grasp the joy in any of it. My zipper itched, the mask did nothing to convince anyone of my wolfiness, and I wasn't thrilled with the largely unexciting candy my neighbours were dumping into my pillow case.
I realize that there is better candy and more inspired costumes out there than I saw back in 1978, but the truth is that I hate costumes in general. If people are wearing too much face makeup, let alone masks, I can't read their facial expressions, and bulky costumes hide body language, so my ability to interact with anyone is limited. I'm distracted by dangly bits and moving parts. Costumes often smell either musty or like chemical preservation agents. Also? I'm sober. Who wants to hang out with a pile of drunk people in bad makeup and outfits that smell like storage without the promise of inebriation to make it all seem palatable?
I am a natural-born Halloween killjoy.
One year when I was about 11 years old, I decided to officially quit all the Halloween nonsense, but my mother kept agitating for me to dress up and go out. Finally, in a fit of abject sarcasm, I stapled a sign that said "SELF" to a string around my neck and went around the block like that. Neighbours opened their doors with big smiles and asked "What are you?!" They expected something fun! and creative!, but when I only replied by pointing at my sign, their smiles fell off. Two of the houses refused to throw any candy in my bag. I can't blame them.
I am trying to be better about it now, though. Honest. Susan and I met up in Winnipeg (our halfway point between Regina and Thunder Bay) to work on a project together. She suggested that we could go to a live performance of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", because neither of us had ever done it. For once, I actually thought it might be a good idea, so I drummed up some enthusiasm and tried to buy tickets. The show was sold out, though, which I assumed meant that the universe knows I need a little more loosening up before I can dive into the Halloween tradition of interactive live theatre.
I mean, seriously, can you see me sitting around with a bunch of strangers whose communication I can't decipher and who also smell funny and who also waste perfectly decent toast by throwing it around in a dirty room? Toast wastage is no joke, people.
I can feel myself edging over to the Halloween side, though, if ever so slowly. That I even considered going to a Rocky Horror production is groundbreaking, and I didn't even once judge anyone for dressing up stupid. It's like I'm getting better at both fun and compassion all at the same time. Who knew Halloween could be such a catalyst for growth?
At this rate, I might don some cat ears by the time I'm about 77, if we can still survive on earth's surface in the year 2049. Here's to hoping.
I'm writing a post a day in November for BlogHer's NaBloPoMo.