You want to know what’s scary? Being an adult.
Most holidays evoke Kodak moments and Hallmark sentiment. Even if it is a charade to cover underlying hostility toward loved ones, you play along or risk leaving empty-handed and empty-stomached.
Halloween stands apart in the holiday line-up like the house that hands out pennies to trick-or-treaters. Its purpose is not to foster namby-pamby emotions of peace, love or rejuvenation. No, the only feel-goodery Halloween elicits is feeling good after scaring the shit out of your little sister or stringing toilet paper through the neighbor’s yard.
Terror, dread and all things morbid are inherent to the celebration of Halloween; hence the haunted houses, horror flicks and bloodied costumes that lurk days before and after Oct. 31.
As a kid, I hated being scared. Instead of the giddy thrill my peers enjoyed when chased by a chainsaw-wielding freak through a factory, I felt the urgent need to vomit. When gathered around the basement television watching Linda Blair’s head spin, my friends screamed with delight. I spent the next two weeks wide-eyed, terrified and unable to sleep.
Reflecting on the fear-drenched memories of my childhood should foster a maternal urge to protect, coddle and comfort. Instead, my Adult Self wants to grab my Younger Self by the shoulders, give her a violent shake and cry out, You have it so good right now, don’t you see that?! Want to know what’s scary?? I’ll tell you what’s scary:
You’re using a candy-filled pillowcase to shield your eyes from a shockingly real Freddy Kruger costume? Let me tell you something that’s shockingly real, and that no pillowcase can save you from: motherhood. The orthopedic shoes, elastic-wasted jeans, maternity bra and deep under-eye circles — these are the trappings of eternal worry, life-long responsibility and most likely, failure. This is the costume that cannot be shed! This is the costume that should strike terror into your heart!
You’re carefully unwrapping your candy fearing hidden razor blades in your Snickers or a Twix laced with PCP? You know what’s scary? Lying prostrate and unprotected as a man dressed in a white coat jabs needles into your gum and then drills your upper molar. The real terror comes after the physical pain subsides in the form of a single sheet of 8.5” x 11″ paper stating you owe $475 out-of-pocket because your health insurance only covers two visits a year.
Are you trembling yet, kid??
You’re afraid your friends will ridicule you because you’re a sixth grader still trick-or-treating with your dad? You fear losing your reputation? How about losing your parents?! How about navigating the world by yourself, exposed to evil souls who will smash your pumpkins and steal your King-Size candy bars, because your parents are old and dying, have died or will die.
Too scary for you, little girl? Too terrifying? Too real? Welcome to Halloween.
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