Taking Back Halloween
by Kathryn Smith
Can I tell you a secret? I never used to like Halloween. It's true. I was taken out Trick
or Treating at a very young age and was scared by a jerk in a clown mask. I apparently ran away screaming and didn't want to go out the next year. I think I recovered from this in elementary school because I remember liking to dress up for class. My favorite costume -- and the one that stands out in my memory -- was Darth Vader. My mother had cut the legs off an old black jumpsuit and I had a shiny black plastic mask with an elastic in the back -- not like the swanky costumes of today.
Coincidentally, my husband informed me later that he had been Vader that same year. Talk about kismet!
Anyway, I arrived home from school (bouncing off the bus and up the drive) to see my father home
from work. He took one look at me and said, "Your grandmother's dead." And then he got in the truck and drove away. Yup, his mother had died just a few hours earlier. I was too young to grieve or to even be sympathetic.
It was decided that I should be allowed to go out Trick or Treating regardless of the sorrow
blanketing our house. One of my older sisters and her boyfriend were given the task of taking me out. No one ever should have asked this of this particular sister because she was sobbing like all get out. Regardless, I spent my evening telling people my grandmother was dead, or having them remind me of that fact as they dumped heaps of sympathy candy into my pillow case.
To say I lost my love for Halloween after that would be an understatement. Sure, I dressed up for school and went out Trick or Treating, in the years following, but it wasn't fun. Especially not when every year up until the year my parents split was a reminder of my grandmother's death -- an occasion my father marked in his own particular brand of grieving.
But a funny thing has happened. Sometime over the last... oh, ten to fifteen years I've slowly regained my love for Halloween. I love to dress up. I love the makeup, the hair, the fake teeth!
In a little bit I'm going to go outside and drive the skull lights I bought into the ground and decorate the outside of my house for the party we're having Saturday night. I have a costume to work on and cookies to bake. I bought themed plates, cups and serving dishes. I even considered a smoke machine.
How/when did this happen? When did I regain my love for quite frankly, the bestest, funnest day on the whole freaking calendar outside the wondrous anniversary of my own birth?
I have no idea how this happened, but I'm glad it did. I guess it was so gradual I barely noticed. I think much of it has to be attributed to my younger 'goth' days. I 'dressed up' most days so Halloween became an excuse to get even more outrageous. And then I made friends with people who loved this time of year and celebrated it. It no longer became something dreaded, and even though it celebrates the dead, Halloween became about fun to me and not a reminder of the grandmother I barely remembered, though I still think of her every October 31st. Now I haunt the Halloween shops, grab up discounted items at Michaels and carve pumpkins with my hubby. I even have a book signing booked for earlier that day and I'm dressing up for it!
What I want to know is have any of you lost and then regained
your love for a holiday or time of year -- or anything for that matter? Care to share?
Meanwhile, I've got a date with plastic skulls and creepy eye-lights that blink!
puppy vader courtesy of http://bboylimping.wordpress.com
Halloween lights from www.marchars.com/halloween
blinking eyes from walmart.com
Greyden Kane, the hero of When Seducing A Duke has a tragedy in his past that he needs to 'get over' too! WSAD is on shelves now and headed back for a second printing!
Kathryn Smith is the author of more than 20 books in a variety of genres. Before When Seducing a Duke, she indulged her love for all things spooky by writing about Victorian Vampires and soon the 2nd installment of her Nightmare Chronicles series will hit shelves. Look for Dark Side of Dawn on November 24th. Currently she lives in Connecticut with her husband Steve and their 4 cats -- 2.5 of which are black. ;-)