Thursday, November 4, 2010

...and suddenly, Halloween is fun again.

I think this may have been my favorite Halloween season since I was a kid. And as we all know, I don't like Halloween. Shocking. The key difference between this year and the past several years is that Halloween was not forced upon me.

Nobody subjected me to a ghastly horror film. The Internet was more interested in the new Back to the Future game than spooks and specters. I saw more signs of Christmas than Halloween while out shopping. It was as though the world had forgotten Halloween (and when Christmas takes place).

Can you believe that? Of all people, I had to be the one to carry on the tradition of Halloween.

I knew I'd be away all day on Halloween, but I bought a bag of candy and left a bowl outside my door for any wandering trick-or-treaters. I was one of two people to contribute anything Halloween-themed to GameCola. I finally busted out the Alien post I've had in mind for at least a year just because it was Halloween. I willingly attended a costume party without being begged or pestered. I began demanding that Alex show me a horror movie I hadn't seen because he was too overloaded to enjoy Halloween otherwise.

The strangest thing occurred to me when I was shaving off my manly beard in preparation for my stupid-easy party costume. I was dressing up like Kyo from the anime Fruits Basket, which requires only a black t-shirt, cargo pants, and a bead bracelet (which my Significant Other was kind enough to make me a Halloween or two ago).

Kyo is clean-shaven and has orange hair, but the last time I changed my hair color for a costume, it went from red to purple to pink and caused serious color-staining damage to a friend's bathroom (sorry again). So, clean-shaven would be good enough. Yet as I started shaving, I started imagining other possibilities. Pork chops and Super Troopers mustaches. Perhaps I could assemble a costume that required actual effort. I owned a bowler hat; perhaps a contemporary of Sherlock Holmes would be in order.

I was actively thinking of the fun I could have by finding a beard-powered Halloween costume.

Left to my own devices, I'm shocked to say that I can actually have a great deal of fun with Halloween. I used to enjoy dressing up in costume, and I still do it on occasion for conventions. The zombie-themed Flash Flood column I wrote was one of the most enjoyable to write, in part because it was so out of character for me. I could indulge in the basic principals of Halloween (costumes, candy, and whatever's creepy) on my own terms.

Do you know how I spent my Halloween evening? Watching Army of Darkness and Predators with friends. Had it been any other night leading up to Halloween, I might have even been willing to do Friday the 13th or Nightmare on Elm Street or somesuch, but the mere fact that it was Halloween and I was expected to watch a scary movie made me less inclined to do so. Since when did scary movies become so psychological?

Alternately, it could've been because I had just filled up on pig pizza--a few slices of delicious, greasy ham and bacon are not the best way to kick off a gut-wrenching horror movie marathon. You should've heard me trying to weasel my way out of Poltergeist. "We could watch Ghost--that's sorta the same thing, right?"

Either way, I still had fun, and I still watched at least one movie I was unlikely to watch without the prompting of Halloween. Best of all, I discovered that, after all these years, there might still be a shred of affection for Halloween left in me.

Let's not push it, though.

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