Wednesday, November 4, 2009
This time of year, pumpkins sag on their stoops with sullen, warped expressions, choking on slivers of wax, wick, and cool air. And many bats, cauldrons, cobwebs, ghosts, gravestones, and witches on broomsticks remain fully intact in yards and in windowsills.
Halloween has come to an end, and the next holiday is rounding the bend, but I, like many others, haven't let it go just yet. I think sometimes people get stuck in that awkward "Should I leave it up for a few more days or take it down now?" period that comes along with the conclusion of any holiday. Or maybe people just feel fatigued.
Fatigue must be the case for me because I've been staring wearily at the Halloween-themed Martha Stewart catalogs taking up room on the couch, the haunted house with tea lights sitting in the living room, and the string of pumpkin lanterns in my bedroom for days now wishing they would put themselves away.
The only items I don't mind having around are the sugary ones in the kitchen: the Brach's Mellowcreme Pumpkins, the vanilla-frosted cupcakes with orange and brown sprinkles, and the bag of leftover candy with Hershey bars, Reese's Cups and Whips, and M&Ms.
Then again, the cupcakes are starting to get stale, and the thought of eating another Mellowcreme makes me sick to my stomach. I hate to admit it, but I've been eating them since September. After all, that's when I usually begin my Halloween festivities.
By mid-September, I had already scoped out most of the costume stores nearby and online, the Halloween shows that were to air, the craft and decorating tips in magazines, the haunted houses in the surrounding areas, and, of course, the goodies in the grocery stores.
By mid-October, I decided to gather up some friends and drive them to a haunted house in Pennsylvania called "Haunted Mill Scream Park." The roads were windy and there was a bad rain storm that started an hour or so into our trip. But, I suppose it was worth the drive because we were scared out of our minds in four different houses by masked people chasing us with chainsaws.
A week before Halloween, I volunteered to work in a haunted house in my hometown. This was a bad decision. I ended up stuck in a fake well for hours pretending to be Samara from The Ring. Being in there for so long with flashing lights, loud, creepy noises, and screaming children made me have a panic attack. My heart began to palpitate out of control, and I thought perhaps I would die in the well.
By the time Halloween arrived, all I wanted to do was sleep, but my parents had other plans. We were to go to the Charles Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland, an old movie theatre with a curious choice of films. At noon, we were to see Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, a movie my dad used to play for me when I was much younger.
As the movie started, I lightened up and began to laugh along with the rest of the audience. I was stunned by how many lines and scenes I could recall after nearly 15 years. As we left the theatre, I thought of my younger days when Halloween seemed magical without having to try so hard.
That evening, I decided to stay home and give out candy to the trick-or-treaters, knowing that it was their turn to enjoy the magic.