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Posts Tagged ‘halloween’

The Honesty of Halloween

Cat on a branch in front of a harvest moon.

For as long as I can remember Halloween, I have loved it. Consistently. Faithfully. Deeply.

Halloween was often my favorite holiday, and it remains so. It was easier than the bigger holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, which required me to be shuttled back in forth between my divorced parents. Half a day with only family, half a day with another, always waiting for the tension to boil over. Always waiting for my biological dad to find a way to let me know that I ruined yet another holiday simply because I missed my mom.

I dreaded both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I never knew how either would turn out but I was always waiting for something to go wrong. Often, something did. I was blamed. In some ways, I still dread both holidays, my mind and body primed and preparing for the worst.

Each year, I pined for Halloween.

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Horror and Halloween

There are only two days until my favorite holiday of the year, Halloween. None of you should be surprised that Halloween is my favorite. I’ve loved it since I was first able to make my own decisions about the costumes I would wear, and I continue to love it as I help my two kids pick out their own costumes, a neon skeleton with a tutu and a Power Ranger for this year. (I might have bought a Wonder Woman t-shirt with a cape attached and a felt headband for myself.) I have decorations, skeletons and a giant spider web for our house. I stock up on spooky Halloween decor because I might put some of it up in my house year round. As my youngest kid notes, “Mommy likes creepy things.” He’s not wrong.

Part of the reason that I have loved Halloween is that I have loved horror too. Ghosts, goblins, werewolves, vampires, zombies, and all manner of things that go bump in the night were my favorites. I was reading ghost stories as soon as I could read chapter books. I was reading Stephen King in middle school.  I read Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery (1948) in high school and loved it, while my fellow classmates were unnerved. I have watched The Lost Boys (1987) more than I am willing to admit.

There’s something comforting and familiar horror stories because horror is easy to understand. The rules are always clear, and there’s the gruesome reminder that it is so, so easy  for human bodies and minds to break. When I need to escape from the world we share, I often turn to horror movies, shows, and novels. More now than ever before, which I don’t want to think about too carefully. Over the years, I’ve continued to love horror, even as I wasn’t quite sure that it loved me back. (more…)