Another Halloween has come and gone. Another season of skulls and horror movies and carving pumpkins. Another night of becoming something else, of facing that which scares us. The crunch of leaves underfoot. The colors of fall. The chill in the air. There’s nothing like Halloween.
As a kid, I couldn’t wait for my dad to get home so we could go trick-or-treating. Always proudly wearing my costume to school that day. Always ready for a bag full of candy that never lasted until Christmas like I hoped.
When we moved to this big old house with a front porch…and his kids no longer wandered the streets begging for candy…Halloween evolved. My dad set about creating a scary scene on Halloween night. I remember the first Halloween in our new house. I remember the creepy sounds and flashing lights. I remember the kids who were too scared to come up to the front door. As my sisters were up in their rooms or watching TV, who knows, I was hovering at the front window, watching Halloween.
As the years passed, Dad added new terrors to the porch, which eventually spilled out onto the front yard. This tradition continues. Each year he looks for a new scare. Each year he finds a new creepy mask. Each year he stands at his front door in his mask and robe with a bowl of candy and waits.
When I got married and moved away and into my own house…I knew exactly what I wanted. I wanted Halloween. We had moved into a city neighborhood, a street lined with houses. So I got lights. I got a scary music CD. Hubs made me headstones. I constructed ghosts. I bought skulls and bones. I found a caldron to hold the candy. And the yard glowed with terror.
I stood at the door, handing out candy, smiling at the compliments for my decorations, and drinking in the night. Even after the trick-or-treaters had gone, I sat on my porch in the middle of the lights and sounds and enjoyed the chill on my skin, the gray of the night, the leaves skittering across the road.
Then one year a ‘For Sale’ sign was added to my decor. That year, many parents of trick-or-treaters told me they’d miss me, that my house was always a favorite, and a few asked where we would be moving, so they could find me. Too far, I answered. To a little town outside the city, to a street away from people.
Out here in the middle of nowhere, where miles don’t hold as many houses as that city block, where I have a great front porch, one perfect for Halloween decorations…but no trick-or-treaters. I bought candy the first year…I put out my skeletons and spider webs, to be disappointed.
In a few years, my kids were old enough to haunt the streets in hopes of candy, so we drove into town, parked, and joined the fun. I loved those years, being a part of Halloween again.
But that ended.
Now on Halloween, I decorate my house. I watch horror movies and remember.
For Halloween goes on without me, away from me. I live for texts from my mom showing pictures of Dad’s yard, for updates on the kids that wouldn’t climb the stairs or set foot on the sidewalk to approach the big man in a mask.
I miss it…a lot. I love my big house in the country, but if I could have one thing from the city, it would be Halloween. The one night I want to be around people, that I want to be among the crowds. So I will do what I do to make me happy on that bestest of nights and wait…for maybe Halloween will evolve again.