Wednesday, October 26

See You In Your Nightmares!

(This pretty much explains it all, doesn't it?)

Considering that Halloween is my favorite holiday, you’d think I would have written about it extensively by now. I’ve been thinking about that a lot this last week, and concluded that while I grew up with many fun and memorable Halloweens, none of them are really interesting or unique enough to elaborate upon in depth. I grew up in a microscopic town, my cash-strapped family made the majority of my costumes (see the unfathomably tragic photograph above), and as I lived 30 minutes away from school, I didn’t spend the evening with my friends until much later on. It was usually just my parents and I, hitting up friendly faces for no more than a couple hours a year.

On one hand, it was beautiful and picturesque. Halloween in Winchester (Population: 700 at most) was as you would see it portrayed on an ABC Family movie, or The Adventures of Pete & Pete. The weather was perfectly cool, each yard was decorated meticulously and the children were free to run and roam as they pleased until late at night. On the other hand, it was brief and isolated. Once you were done with a certain street, you either had to be driven to another spot in the town, or you were just done for the night. Outside of visiting a few stray relatives, Small Town Halloween was relegated to a quarter-mile stretch of land. Exciting land, but extremely limited nonetheless.

I went to school in Winneconne (Population: 2000), and their gridlike streets and dense population of children in the late 80’s made it fertile ground for creating Halloween memories. That being said, I never spent a year trick-or-treating there, due to some longstanding feud between my mother and the Village itself. More than likely, her anxiety caused her to avoid any circumstance where she may have had to knock on the door of a former classmate. The first time I was able to celebrate Halloween in Winneconne with my classmates, I think I had a Learner’s Permit.

Very early on, I was able to travel to the town of Dale, where the family grocery store was located (see above). Dale is an almost comically small town, but their main drag of taverns and banks allowed for rapid candy accrual and consumption. Often times in my older years, I would stay home and rig up our front yard in an attempt to scare visitors. One year, I made a dummy out leaves, pillows, old clothing and a hand-painted basketball, and proceeded to heave it off the roof at trick-or-treaters. I was allowed to do this approximately once.

Perhaps my positive memories (like most aspects of my life) have more to do with the overall mood and media portrayal of the holiday than anything personally tangible. My happy nostalgia doesn’t necessarily lie in the house-to-house trips, copious amounts of candy or even what I was allowed to wear. It lies more in the advertising, movies and electric aura of Halloween.

Next to Christmas, Halloween is a holiday that you can feel in the air more than any other, and it’s a feeling you can take with you forever, even if the parties I attended were never as cool as the ones I saw in Kit-Kat commercials. As is usually the case with advertising, the products never made my gatherings as interesting than the ones on television. I sometimes think about going overboard on decorations and inviting everyone that I’m even passively fond of to my house in an attempt to recreate that magic, but the dorks would probably just end up standing around the kitchen or smoking on my deck. Nothing I do is ever appreciated as much as I’d like it to be.

With that in mind, here’s what you can expect to see on the CDP in the next few days.

For the remainder of the week and into Monday, we’re going to dig into equal parts personal and commercial concerning my favorite holiday. Tomorrow, I’ll compile my 24 Hour Halloween Movie Marathon. On Friday, we'll (re)revel in one of the most humiliating moments of my life, which just so happened to take place on Halloween. Finally on Monday, I’ll let you read my long-lost Halloween novel from 1990, and that's going to be awesome for you, incredibly embarrassing for me.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Man, that picture freaks me out, and I'm the one IN it.

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