Friday, November 01, 2013

Halloween 2013 After-Action Report

With links to further Halloween weekend reading below.

That’s our candy bowl in the middle. We gave away
a good bit, but not enough to empty the bowl.
It was a real punch to the heart that first year I found myself sitting at home handing out candy instead of escorting my children through the neighborhood. I am pleased to report that I have finally gotten over not having young children to take around trick-or-treating. Sentimental fool that I am, I have a terrible time letting go of things, but this year I can say I have finally accepted my situation. Moreover, I’ve enjoyed it.

For the second year in a row I eschewed the whole Grim Reaper/Sinister Pagan look for that of a Charming Old Man in a purple blazer and a black cowboy hat, with an orange jack o’ lantern pin on the lapel of said blazer. We’ve had a lot of small children over the last couple of years—I’m talking too young even for pre-school—so even the pumpkin face out front was a friendly one. They’ve got all the rest of their lives for gore and gross-out. While they’re still sweet, I am, too.

We didn’t get a lot of trick-or-treaters, but it wasn’t as abysmal as a couple of years ago, so I’ll take it. I have to keep reminding myself that 2007 was six years ago, and that six years is an enormous, life-changing stretch of time in the life of a child. My son was in the fifth grade that year when a group Rampart High School football players in their team jerseys were going around the neighborhood and serenading houses with song (yes, this happened). My son is now in the eleventh grade playing for that same varsity team while most of those singing football players from 2007 are already out of college and sweating their student loan debt. The swarms of children of all ages in the streets that year have moved on.

That was the last truly great year we had. I’ve been meaning to summon all my ghosts of Halloween Past and have them pass in review so I can write about them. Not now, though. I’m satisfied Halloween 2013 wasn’t a sad, lonesome bust. I enjoyed my usual observance with wine, ale, and King Crimson and other musical companions. I stayed up later than I should re-reading my favorite stories from Ray Bradbury’s The October Country, but at least I didn’t sleep the day away.

For those like me who are winding down Halloween over the weekend by way of easing themselves into the Thanksgiving/Christmas mindset, I discovered a site called Atlas Obscura which specializes in pieces on “Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations,” and the trippy and unusual histories behind them. They just wrapped up a 31 Days of Halloween series, which covered everything from the history of candy corn to what’s behind the modern iconography of witches on their broomsticks. It gets even more macabre with the strange deaths of the nine hikers in Dyatlov Pass. I’ve only read a few of these but they’re fairly well done, with loads of great images. There are worse ways to pass the time.

Speaking of which, are you looking for an edgy literary getaway, with zombies? I wrote a zombie apocalypse novel, the first in a series. Just putting that out there. Meanwhile, I need to get back to work finishing the second book. Yeah, it was hard getting going this morning. I might yet save the day if I work past midnight. I was going to be up anyway....

My 16-year-old son and his friend drove to an affluent neighborhood near the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. According to him there weren’t a lot of trick-or-treaters there, and in some cases the houses they solicited let him and his friend clean out the entire bowl. James came home with about 15 pounds of candy, including half a dozen full-size Snickers bars. Between this and our own leftover candy we should be good clear through Christmas. Going though all that candy on the floor while watching Rob Zombie (!) perform on Jimmy Kimmel Live was a highlight of the evening.

Friendly Jack says, “Have a Happy Thanksgiving, a Merry Christmas, and a prosperous New Year! The pagans traditionally start their New Year on Halloween. Why not get a head start on those resolutions?”