I like to say that Halloween is my favorite holiday. There are a lot of reasons for that, ranging from having the best movies/ culture, to be the most unique, to being not drawn out and over-done.
Most holidays you dress your nicest, go see your family for a big dinner. But on Halloween you dress your worst, go see a bunch of strangers, and eat nothing but dessert!
The only other holiday with a lot of movies is Christmas, with a few very Christmas-y Thanksgiving ones thrown in. Some of those are great, Planes Trains and Automobiles, It’s a Wonderful Life, Scrooged, the list goes on.
But Halloween has its own entire genre! And the whole point of the genre is to make you feel the visceral emotions of Halloween. I am not a massive horror nut, I cannot go deep into the genre, but it is something I enjoy immensely, especially around Halloween.
I love to decorate for Halloween, to find gruesomely painted wall art, cover my lawn with spider web, and use strobe lights and scary music to make people wonder what they are really getting themselves into.
When I was in high school, and maybe younger, I would spend days laying out where all the decorations would go on our front porch, how the lights had to be angled and where I could plug everything in. I would rush home from school and my sister and my best friend would work incredibly hard to make it all come to life. My stepmom would love to dress up in a scary costume and sit out front in the midst of a fog covered porch and demonically beckon little kids with her finger. I took joy, no, pride, in the fact that kids would be too scared to come beg for candy.
I loved that all of our decorations combined only cost a couple hundred dollars. Those houses that spent thousands were always my envy, but we didn’t have the money or the space. If I was able to get similar skills for so little, that was even better.
I still have a similar fervor today, but my circumstances have made it difficult. My neighborhood has changed our Halloween celebration from the night of to the Sunday afternoon before. I don’t mind not doing it on Halloween, but why during the day? The reason for the whole thing is that I live very close to Detroit, and this way makes it very easy to turn off their light on Halloween proper and not give those kids any candy. Because it is the kid’s fault they live in Detroit and therefore don’t deserve to have a good Halloween, right?
Anyway, the strobes and fog machine (mine is broken but I am looking for a new one) and scary music don’t work so well at 3pm on a Sunday. My dummy demon that sits on the porch with the candy bowl in his lap isn’t as convincing either. I want to buy a system that projects haunted images on your windows, but not at 3pm.
It all becomes very kiddy and prophylactic. That is fine to an extent. We have a lot of friends now with young kids and I’m not terribly interested in scaring everybody anymore. But I think a big reason I love the big scary thing is because when you overcome it, it is such an amazing feeling. When a child looks at that demon holding the candy and says ‘I’m getting that candy, I don’t care how scary you look’ (actual thing said to me last year) that is an amazing feeling!
Being scared is fun! Let the kids be scared every once in awhile, it is good for them.