Friday, October 31, 2014

Why I like Halloween!

Why I like Halloween!
(photo by tobisagt on Deviantart)

1) 31 days of blogging about the horror genre has added up to a lot of pressure on this final post. I can't just write about whatever other dumb movie/book/game I love (I would have done We Are What We Are, for the record.) No, this has to be something GRAND, some big declarative statement on the genre or the holiday. I will endeavor to cover fresh ground, but be prepared to be disappointed. 

2) A friend of mine recently messaged me on Facebook and asked if I ever do any writing or discussions on topics other than horror. I told her that I was flattered, but horror is just my thing. She said she'd pray that I'd change. Thing is, I don't think I want to. I really like this stuff. It's fun, it's scary in a harmless way, it brings me back to my childhood, and -- if you're willing to look at it in a weird light -- it's oddly beautiful. 

3) My childhood Halloweens were spent in Diamond Highs, an upper-middle class neighborhood in San Francisco. The streets would all dip downward along the hill, making each street into a U-shape. I lived at the bottom of one of these streets, and we'd climb up and down the neighborhoods in our quest for candy. I still remember the Japanese neighbors with the tidy stone garden in the front yard. 

4) Despite my interest in the macabre, I was still a completely cowardly child. I remember the day my music class sang "There Was An Old Woman All Skin and Bones." When they screamed "Boo!" I ran out of the room, locked myself in a bathroom and cried.  I still have a strong attraction/repulsion relationship to fear. It seems like I'm always a little creeped out on some level, but I've come to cultivate that feeling.

5) Halloween meant different things at different points in my life. When I was a child, it was all supervillain costumes and candy. Trick or Treating was fun, but I didn't particularly miss it when it was gone. My tween years were all about low-level disdain, mixed with lots of slasher movie marathons, mixed with the secret joy of giving out candy to kids. High school Halloweens mostly sucked, because I was too old for trick-r-treating and too young for clubs and parties. Adult Halloweens vary. Going to bars and checking out costumes is fun, but trying to find parking and fighting the crowds at either the Castro Street parade in SF or the 6th Avenue parade in NYC is really tiresome. 

6) I think I came to the decision this year that I'm not so much into the costume aspect of Halloween. I like checking out other people's work, but I'm not much for dressing up myself. Part of the reason is that it's expensive, part of the reason is that I don't have much of a visual imagination and can't come up with anything particularly clever until at least two days after the event. 

7) That said, one of my best Halloweens involved a time when I didn't go as anything scary. It was my first Halloween in NYC and I had some dumb plan to go as Baron Samedi. A friend and I went to the costume store on Broadway and 12th and, as I was looking for stuff in the basement area, I found a Prince Charming costume. I became entranced with it, bought it, and wore it that evening. That night, I got hit on more than I've ever been hit on in my life. Everyone seems to have a thing for Prince Charming. It was nice. 

8) I dunno what my Halloween plans are this year. Money is MEGA-tight, so I'll probably just hang out in hipster bars and soak up the ambiance. I'd rather be doing big warehouse events, but that's because I've not quite let go of my twenties while my crowd is settling down. But I'm sure they'll be fun, fantastic people watching. 

Conclusion: Try as I might, I can't really come up with one grand theory of What Halloween Means To Me. I do love the fact that the entire nation seems to cater to my taste for the week before Halloween and I've really loved checking in on all the stuff I love over the last 31 days of blogging, but every year finds me in a different state for celebration. Halloween feels like a check-in for me, the same way birthdays do. I know that Halloween is basically a horror-tinged Mardi Gras. Dan Savage calls it a straight pride parade, a chance for people to celebrate their sexuality. It's definitely bacchanalian, and I like sharing all the fun of the horror genre with people. 

One of the things I have learned over the years is that my interest in horror doesn't make me nearly as unique as I once thought it did. While I do think interest in the macabre is still viewed as a little fringe-y (witness comment #2) I think most people like this stuff just a little bit. Halloween is the one sanctioned night we let the goblins out. And, if that's not your thing, trick-or-treaters are really adorable.

Thanks everyone who's stuck with me on this 31-day blogging marathon. I hollowed out my brain like a Jack O' Lantern to bring you my favorite odds-and-ends from the horror genre.

Pleasant screams!

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