My mom spent the week before Halloween making the decorations. This wasn’t a time when you could run out to a department store and just buy some extremely detailed decoration. Our porch was covered by a giant spiderweb, for example, but the web wasn’t bought. The entire web was made with yarn, hand-tied by my mom and me. Things like that.
That year, I was a skeleton. Basically, I wore a black outfit with hand-painted bones.
We decorated the house, the yard, everything. I was a kid, but I didn’t bother to go trick-or-treating. Staying home was more fun.
We put together a dummy (an outfit stuffed with sheets) and placed him on the porch, directly in front of a window.
My dad installed a speaker inside the dummy’s torso and attached a microphone, allowing him to be the dummy’s voice from inside the house.
When trick-or-treating started, the party was on.
For neighborhood kids, our house was like going through a haunted playground. When I think of those kids cackling with joy after being scared by the “talking dummy”, I still laugh. Keep in mind, in the 80′s this was the height of scare-technology. Really, the fun of that night was immeasurable.
My cousin (who was dressed as a pirate) and I hid behind a tree in the yard, so after the trick-or-treaters had their fun with the dummy and got their candy, we would jump out and scare them from behind the tree.
And that was Halloween when I was growing up.
It wasn’t just a holiday. It was an event.
There was nothing evil about our celebrations. Nothing dark. We weren’t out there worshiping some dark lord or practicing black magic.
We were having fun.
It was a fun day. A thrilling day, full of laughter and screams of delight. It was a kid’s paradise.
Halloween in those days was all joy.
And now, when mid-September rolls around and the stores start putting out their Halloween decorations, I feel that joy. I feel that excitement. I feel the thrill of laughing after a good scare.
That’s Halloween to me, and I’ll forever be thankful to my parents for working so hard to create those great memories.
And I’m sure it’s no coincidence that I’m now making a living by writing (hopefully) fun books about vampires and werewolves.
So thanks, Mom and Dad. You guys rock.
To all my readers out there, Happy Halloween. I hope you all had a great one.