On Harrowed Ground

The ennui of a world without Halloween is tough to adjust to. Grace helped with un-decorating the apartment, but Sam preferred to sit and watch the last 30 minutes of Toy Story 3 rather than deal with it not being Halloween.

Grace was fine with it- as I said- until her candy bucket (factory-felted black and orange with an owl on it) and her Snoopy pumpkin car got put into the giant orange bin.

Now both kids were rebelling- how could we expect them to live in a world without Halloween?

Annika talked gently and calmly to them about how Halloween is just the first of many holidays that stud the Autumn-Winter cycle.

Christmas is easy- the kids are constantly reminded of it throughout the year- hell, anytime they see a picture of a snowscape or watch a movie or tv show that has a snowy setting, they will point out that it “is Christmas time!” there.

For years, I have heard my son explain how in The Empire Strikes Back Luke is at Christmas when he fights a monster and gets hurt and then the bad guys come.

Thanksgiving is a bit less represented. Sure, there is the Charlie Brown special- with the popcorn and Peppermint Patty being a horrible entitled ass- but thankfulness for a kid as a special “day”, that is a weird idea to communicate.

We’re lucky, I guess, the kids seem to be pretty thankful about the little joys in life without having to be told they should be. Well, Sam is anyway, Grace still has a hearty dose of toddler solipsism- she really can’t understand why HER schedule isn’t EVERYONE’s schedule much of the time.

Halloween is down- all but the 86 image slideshow/screensaver on my log-in. Thanks is coming soon (no trailers for that), and then Christmas and New Years (“Uncle Shelby and Bri come over and eat” night) and birthdays…

Ah, Christmas.

“Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner!”

Is it any wonder that my favorite Christmas story is the one with ghosts?

Halloween Countdown – November 1st

For some, the morning after Halloween is much like the morning after New Years Eve can be- hungover, disappointed that the “ultimate night” didn’t quite take place.

I have always loved Halloween, as I’ve mentioned a few times here before. The pageantry and costume, the preparation, the imagination on display- for the best aspects of Halloween take a degree of imagination far beyond “Target monster mask and hoodie”.

I’ve been to very few Halloween parties- never hosted one. But somehow- especially now that we have 2 amazing kids- Halloween rivals Christmas at being “The” holiday of the year. My wife says that from October 1 to January 1 we pretty much are in The Holiday Season- she ain’t wrong.

For every year the Halloween decorations in our apartment get a little more elaborate and go up a little earlier- and if we lived somewhere with a yard, I can guarantee you that there would be graves dug, chemical fog floating down from the trees, and eerie noises in the bushes.

It is a slight sense of missed opportunity that hits me every November 1st. A sort of post-haunting ennui. An uneasy sense that I didn’t quite get enough spooky out of October. The decorations, the monster movies, the building excitement for Trick ‘r Treating from the kids, the Halloween music mix (and if i-tunes updates and destroys this years’s 104 song playlist like it did the 200 song list a few years ago, I might go PC), the horror trailer-exploration on this site…

It is wonderful and I love it, and sometimes it doesn’t quite feel like enough.

Halloween night was great- the kids dressed as Link and Link-as-wolf (or, as Grace occasionally decided, as a baby wolfman) and they adored trick ‘r treating- “Mommy! We having So Much Fun!” Sam kept enthusing, despite every other adult over 45 saying: “Oh! Look, are you Peter Pan?”. Grace’s constant refrain was: “Now we go to the next house!”

After a late light dinner, the kids partially sated with a small dose of candy and a relatively early dinner, Annika and I sat down and watched The American Scream

Terrific, terrific documentary- affectionate and warm. Terribly funny, sweet, and inspiring.

I’m not saying I’m gonna go into amateur haunting myself- it just isn’t logistically possible. But the main focus of the documentary, Victor, struck me as a kindred spirit- he has a huge creative drive to make his Haunt something special- he can’t quite articulate why he does it, which endears him massively- but he can’t deny the urge and focus either. I can relate to that.

And Victor sums it up perfectly towards the end, telling us: “Thanksgiving and Christmas are family holidays- but Halloween is a community holiday, where friends and strangers come together to celebrate something awesome.” (paraphrased from memory).

The problem there being, of course, that our community in LA is so spread out, it is hard to share the Halloween love. Sad.

Ah well.
Time to start haunting (hoohahoo) the Halloween web for sales! 364 days to prepare for next year!