We really like Halloween here.
Lucy and I think its way better than Christmas, even though there are no presents. We start gathering supplies in September. We have a party, make a haunted house – it gets scarier every year. We go to Halloween City a hundred times, and every year we amass a stash of Halloween gore that needs to be stored in giant tubs.
I will dish out candy to the hordes of neighborhood zombies and since Friday is “Nevada Day” and we have the day off from school, we will spend ALL DAY dressing up, adjusting our costumes, and draping our foyer with cob webs, and spiders, and skulls eating rats, and changing the lightbulbs into something dark and eerie, and putting out the severed heads, and the plate of delicious body parts. We will get the fog machine out, and cue up the freaky music, so both fog and shrieking noises pour out from the house. We’ll get a friend to wear a face-rotting monster mask and scare the hell out of the children as they pass by.
Bwah ha ha…Oh, I chuckle just thinking of it.
I have a friend who says, semi-jokingly, if he doesn’t make a baby cry every Halloween, he hasn’t done his job. I’ve always liked that – not making kids cry exactly – but creating a safe-scary opportunity for my kids and the kids around us.
Kids face all kinds of real life horrors, from the minor to the downright terrifying – food scarcity, bullying, peer pressure, natural disasters, divorce, crazy parents, dead parents, instability, poverty, homophobia, racial bigotry, just feeling misunderstood, powerless, and a world around them filled with grown-ups murmuring about ebola, beheadings, kids getting shot in their schools, drone strikes, war, planes that disappear into thin air.
Maybe that’s why we watch the Walking Dead, and World War Z, and maybe that’s why Lucy and Edie are sitting on the couch right now in their newly-created Halloween costumes, wishing they could just tear out into the night and MAKE. HALLOWEEN. HAPPEN. NOW.
Because its good to be scared, knowing it’ll all turn out okay.
Halloween is a vacation from the stuff that is truly scary and unfixable.
At least if I make a baby cry on our doorstep this Friday, I can whip off my mask, let her touch the folds of deformed skin, see the fake blood, and work the button on the glowing zombie skull chewing a rat that will sit right next to the bowl of candy. She’ll see it’s plastic, harmless, and that I am smiling, and not so mean at all, and that the world is good and there is candy to be eaten, and right at that moment, hopefully, she’ll laugh and grab the mask out of my hands and try to scare her little brother.
There will be fear and relief.
Fear and then, relief.
The relief will feel so good.
We can all go to the dark place, and come back.